The Loosening Skin by Aliya Whiteley

Shortlisted for the 2019 ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD

Finalist for the 2019 John W. Campbell Award


Shortlisted for the 2019 Brave New Words Award

The Loosening Skin is a sensuous, thought provoking meditation on love that deserves not only a second read, but a third as well. This book will cement Aliya Whiteley's reputation as one of the finest of a new generation of weird fiction writers. More, please.
– Helen Marshall, author of Gifts for the One WHo COmes After

Strange, confounding and satisfyingly original, Whiteley’s new novel is an exploration of relationships and the corrosive effect of time. A speculative enquiry into the meaning of freedom itself, The Loosening Skin will surprise and delight Whiteley’s existing readership and new fans equally. Above all, this is a book that will excite intense discussion.
– Nina Allan, author of The RIft and The Race.

Aliya Whiteley’s fiction simultaneously scintillates with ideas, skips back and forth across genre boundaries with an ease and audacity that is glorious to behold, and retains such a sense of immediacy and emotional integrity that her readers are drawn into her worlds body and soul. She has the enviable ability to explore Big Ideas in the most intimate of settings, and to create wholly original realities that leap instantly from the page. For me, she is very much at the forefront of the new wave of UK genre writers
– Mark Morris, author of Toady, Stitch and many more

When people shed their skin every seven years, it’s just a fact of life that we will cast off all the attachments of our old life. And when our loves are part of us, those memories of love can be bought, if you know the right people.

Introducing the new drug, Suscutin, that will prevent the moult. Now you can keep your skin forever. Now you never need to change who you are.

But it’s not so simple for celebrity bodyguard Rose Allington, who suffers from a rare disease. Her moults come quickly, changing everything about her life, who she is, who she loves.

Meanwhile, her former client, superstar actor Max Black, is hooked on Suscutin, because he knows moulting could lose him everything. When one of his skins is stolen, and the theft is an inside job, he needs the best who ever worked for him on the job - even if she’s not the same person.

The Loosening Skin peels away the layers of these stories, exploring our definitions of love, sex and friendship, and what it means to love.

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The Loosening Skin works as a quirky new weird thriller, but its triumph lies in the way Whiteley uses the metaphor of shedding skin to examine the tortured process of love and attachment.
The Guardian

In The Loosening Skin, Whiteley’s most fascinating book so far, we find an alternate history and an exploration of love in its many, strange forms... it is a book that will haunt the reader long after they finish the final page.

Wow. Just wow. The Loosening Skin is one of the best speculative fiction books I’ve read recently and the best I’ve read this year … There’s something so easy about Whiteley’s prose despite constantly delivering a dense philosophical gut punch. Her characters are rich but mysterious, flawed and fascinating. The plot twists and turns, blindsiding the reader at every turn while feeling as though it could never really have gone any other way. The Loosening Skin, for me, is what speculative fiction should be.
British Fantasy Society

Bold, daring, unique and like nothing you’ve ever read before – if you read one book this year, let it be this! An enthralling story which redefines the science fiction genre and gives birth to a storyteller that will, I’m sure, define a generation!

Very occasionally, I’ll read a piece of writing that takes my breath away. It’s rare, but it does happen from time to time. The Loosening Skin by Aliya Whiteley has found a place on this very select list. Whiteley’s work picks apart the nature of love in all its forms.
The Eloquent Page

One of the most fascinating stories I’ve read this year… Aliya Whiteley has already given two amazing stories in recent years with the excellent On Beauty and The Arrival of Missives but I think this may be her best yet.
Runalong the Shelves

I would now cross a sea to buy [Whiteley’s] latest books and this latest novella of hers is another brilliant story. Once again, Whiteley writes a story I've loved and read in one sitting. She's a remarkable writer and this latest offering is a unique take on some of humanity's constant truths. It is beautiful, it is engrossing and it will remain with you for a long time. Read it!
The Middle Shelf

This book… is truly an amazing commentary on relationships and what it takes to be sustainable through the different facets every person goes through. I wholeheartedly encourage every reader to pick up The Loosening Skin.
Roadside Reader

I wish I knew what to say to be honest. The book totally blew my mind … TBH it is one of the best things I've read in a long time.
Book Geek

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-907389-61-0
ePub ISBN: 978-1-907-389-62-7
Publication date: October 2018
Format: Paperback, ePub and mobi