Pin is told as a first-person flashback by Leon looking back on his odd adolescent years with his sister, Ursula. As adolescents, they share an imaginary (?) friend named Pin who was always there with them. Pin is an elaborate, adult-size, anatomical medical dummy come to life. It’s clear that Pin has a lot in common with their dead father with the big differences being Pin’s translucent flesh where every vein, organ and capillary can be seen.
Leon and Ursula are orphans. Their wealthy parents die in a car accident and leave a considerable fortune to the teens who continue living in the same creaky mansion in New York’s Catskills Mountains with Pin, the chatty, erudite medical mannequin who may or may not be real. The threesome are rather isolated up in the mountains living off the dead parents’ inheritance.
We are treated to flashbacks of their dysfunctional upbringing and the siblings' unconventional attitudes towards sex and desire. The sexual exploration gets rather explicit, so consider yourself warned. If you know about the incestuous work of V.C. Andrews, the novel often reads like the author was auditioning for the ghost-writing job he landed later in his career. A plot begins to develop when Ursula finds a boyfriend, and Leon is not pleased. Neither is Pin.
This paperback is so weird but also so readable. Neiderman keeps the pages turning because the reader is dying to know if we are reading a supernatural horror book or a Vietnam-era gothic about siblings experiencing a shared delusion. There’s plenty of graphic sex along the way, and the compelling weirdness doesn’t lighten up until the novels striking conclusion.
Overall, Pin is an easy recommendation if you’re looking for something completely different. It’s not particularly scary, but you won’t be able to look away.