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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Moderate wear on cover and edges. Minimal highlighting and/or other markings can be present. May be ex-library copy and may not include CD, Accessories and/or Dust Cover. Good readable copy.
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Deerskin Paperback – May 3 2005

4.1 out of 5 stars 135 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; Ace Trade Pbk ed. edition (May 3 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441012396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441012398
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 135 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #813,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Library Journal

Heir to her late mother's legendary beauty, Princess Lissar becomes the victim of her grief-maddened father's desire. Fleeing her home, she seeks solace and solitude in a great forest--and discovers a magic that leads her toward healing and justice. Loosely based on "Donkeyskin," an obscure fairy tale by Charles Perrault, this story of a young woman's survival and recovery is both a classic hero's journey-tale and a parable for modern times. Award-winning YA author McKinley turns her storytelling acumen and stylistic grace toward an adult audience, handling incest and rape with unflinching honesty while at the same time building a case for hope and renewal. A good choice for fantasy collections.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

A first foray into adult fantasy for the author of such well- received children's books as The Outlaws of Sherwood (1988), etc. In an unnamed, standard fantasy kingdom, an unnamed queen dies after bequeathing to her unnamed king a portrait capturing her surpassing beauty. Their daughter, the princess Lissla Lissar, is the very image of her mother, even to her black-red hair. On Lissar's 17th birthday, the king announces that he will marry his daughter! Horrified, Lissar locks herself away, but the king breaks in to beat and rape her. Barely alive, Lissar escapes with her dog Ash to find sanctuary in the mountains. The moon goddess, the ``Lady,'' heals Lissar--suppressing the dreadful memories, changing her hair to white, giving her a stainless white deerskin dress--and four years pass in what seems a day. Now Lissar enters a neighboring kingdom, where she meets the dog-fancying prince Ossin. As she slowly regains her memory, so she falls in love with Ossin, who proposes. Unable to tell him of her past, Lissar again flees into the mountains, returning the following year ready to denounce her father, regain her black-red hair, and marry Ossin. Turgid, lurid, soporific fluff. Might have made an adequate fairy tale at a twentieth of the bulk. McKinley will have to do much better than this to capture an adult audience. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I began this book because I have very much enjoyed McKinley's previous works. I finished it because I kept thinking things had to improve sometime. I was wrong.
This book is a novel-length retelling of a fairy tale, some McKinley has done very well, especially with Beauty and the Beast (see Beauty and Rose Daughter). However, this tale is a little more obscure than most, and the retelling is gruesome in the very best traditions of the Brothers Grimm. Only more so. The novel consists of two hundred relentless pages of death, incest, rape, pain, and misery. In an attempt to balance things out, the last page contains a wishy-washy, incomplete conclusion.
This is not a children's novel; most kids under the age of 13 would be deeply disturbed by it. It might appeal to some YAs and adults, provided they'd either a) had their senses pretty thoroughly numbed or b) positively enjoyed watching the pointless, hideous sufferings of others. For everyone else, it's an exercise in masochism.
Perhaps, then, it's fortunate that Deerskin contains some of McKinley's least compelling writing. The novel swells with fantasy style cliches, brims over with lifeless descriptions, and drowns in page after page of stolid, empty prose.
The only possible reason for reading this book is if you use novels to escape into a world even more miserable than your own. In that case, I canot recommend it highly enough. Otherwise, read something else. Anything else.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Okay, by now you've probably heard all about the controversial 'dark' scene that happens in part one. But it's this dark scene that makes the whole book a wonderful treat to read. I went on to read the reviews of the book before I read it and hearing about the horror and descriptiveness of the rape scene I was a little reluctant to pick up the book, but when I found it on the shelves of the library, I picked it up, just to check it out. It was that one scene that makes the whole book. Don't let it scare you away, the scene may be brutal, but it is nothing that cannot be handled. The rest of the book is a bit tedious and at times I found myself wanting to put it down. But boy am I glad I didn't. After Lissar has gone through true healing, she forgets about the past literally and comes upon a new town with her dog Ash. And the events there help her find herself and find love. Overall I found this to be an entertaining, mysterious, and wonderful book. If you're at all interested in it, read it! Don't delay, you won't regret it!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Unlike some other readers, I had been forewarned that _Deerskin_ dealt with darker issues than her other novels, which it does. Even from the beginning, when McKinley paints in glowing colors a court bewitched by the splendour of its king and queen, there are shadows standing at the edge, warning us that all is not perfect--or at least, that all will not remain perfect.

Yet, despite the brutality with which Princess Lissar's innocence is shattered, the tale is not unremittingly dark or horrifying. The Moonwoman offers Lissar hope and healing, as do the love of her dog and the kind people of the kingdom to which Lissar escapes. The ending may be predictable, but McKinley's warm portrayals of Lissar and her friends, as well as the fleethounds, are touching rather than trite.

Don't tell me that _Deerskin_ is too horrible to be a fairy tale. Too horrible for the sanitized, Disneyfied fairy tales that children are treated to nowadays, yes. The original versions of such tales as "Sleeping Beauty" and "Snow white" dealt with passion and blood and betrayal in magical trappings; the Victorians did not believe in coddling their children, it seems. In the original (or one of them), Sleeping Beauty is raped in her sleep; at the end of "Snow White," the wicked stepmother dances herself to death when red-hot shoes are put upon her feet. If anything, McKinley has revived that old power and redeemed it with hope and, yes, even a happy ending.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This intensely beautiful book is one of a very few which I find myself turning to again and again whenever I want the comfort of characters I already know and love, or simply the assurance of a genuinely good read. Far from being an excercise in masochism, as one reviewer states above, I find this book to be cathartic in the extreme. Here is a woman who has suffered great trauma, and yes, dammit, she DOES take a long time to heal. She is wounded deeply, and there is no miracle balm to wipe her pain away. There is only time, a *lot* of time, and what support she can allow herself to accept from those who care. And even then, there are times when she can't get around her pain, when her past rushes forward and takes over her present, when she acts against her own interests out of fear. Just like in life. For those who have never known the kind of pain and suffering that can handicap one- not for a day, or a month, or a year, but in ways that are with us ever after, that can only fade but never dissapear- they who have never known that kind of inner darkness should only realize how fortunate they are. But for those of us who struggle with the demons inflicted on us by life, circumstances, or our fellow man... for us there is a sister to be found in Lissar, a "kindred spirit", and a mirror into our own souls. Lissar is not shamed or made less for not recovering from her experiences in one fell swoop.She has all the time she needs- and so do we.
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