Friday, August 27, 2010

Under The Skin - Michel Faber

When I began reading, I was told that this novel was classified as science fiction. Sort of.

It is very difficult to review this novel without actually giving everything away. It is the sort of book that you need to just read without any background information. And believe me. I tried to badger Eric for information the entire time. But luckily he did not submit to my constant questioning, and I was able to enjoy the novel page by page. I will try not to give too much away.

When I started reading, it seemed fairly standard. Isserley, a strange looking woman and the main character of the novel, has a habit of picking up hitchhikers and doing...something with them. Whether what she does is sexual or otherwise, it slowly becomes clear that this something that she needs to do, but not necessarily something that she wants to do. The writing is fairly uneventful in the beginning, although written quite beautifully. It isn't until you look closer that the writing presents itself as bizarre. Every couple of paragraphs, there will be a line hidden within the text that begs to be questioned. I found myself rereading sentences and questioning how it fits in with the rest, and often I was at a loss. It isn't until much later that everything starts to come together.

You are hit with a dark realization quite suddenly, and the characters in the novel don't draw much attention to anything out of the ordinary happening, which is why this makes such an fascinating science fiction novel. Once again, it is impossible to say too much because a great deal of the enjoyment (and disgust) comes from the mystery the reader is yearning to solve. Even though it is 296 pages, I was able to finish the whole novel in just under two days. It is impossible to not need to know what is lurking within Faber's pages.

All in all, I give this novel a 4/5. Well written, mystery, suspense and disgust. Everything that I usually require in a novel.

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