2021 Lambda Literary Award finalist
2021 Nommo Award finalist
In an African city, a nameless young woman living in the wards slowly begins to lose her identity: her skin color is peeling off, people are becoming invisible, and the city plans to destroy the train where they bury their dead.
In the wards the dreamskin people walk the land to predict a citizen’s death. After the narrator is given a warning by her grandmother’s dreamskin, things begin to fall apart. Struggling to hold onto a fluctuating reality, she prescribes herself insomnia in a desperate attempt to save her family.
PRAISE FOR THE SILENCE OF THE WILTING SKIN
"A surrealist masterpiece."
Lavie Tidhar, author of Osama.
"Motswana author Tsamaase debuts with a lyrical and incisive allegory about personal identity and cultural loss set in an unnamed, phantasmagoric African city. Through magnetic prose, dream logic, and lush imagery, Tsamaase delivers a fierce political message. Suffused with both love and righteous anger, this atmospheric anticolonialist battle cry is a tour de force."
Publishers Weekly (starred review).
"Tsamaase's words feel like the touch of the dreamskin -- painfully real and true. What does it mean to fight for what's important even as all you know and hold dear slips away? To fight for love in the face of erasure? This had me turning the pages in tense horror, but it also rings of hope. A rich and rewarding read."
Julio Rios, Hugo Award winning editor + a writer, narrator, and podcaster.
"The Silence of the Wilting Skin by Tlotlo Tsamaase is an anticolonialist fantasy/dreamscape novel about the importance of family, love and one woman’s fight to preserve her identity and her culture."
The Lesbian Review.
"This novella is...a read that will get under your—ah—skin. It’s an itchy read—one that, for all its narrative imprecision, can leave imprints upon the flesh as good as if an otherworldly spectre had touched you there. In doing so, it curses you to experience a deeper awareness of the traumatic disintegration of narrative agency that exists in ever so many parts of our hurting world."
M.L. Clark on Strange Horizons.
"In this bewildering truth and artful metaphor that Tsamaase has constructed, I found each page to be gorgeously written and often profound. This is a novella that wraps in velvet a raft of loss and outrage that must be recognized."