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Review: Under the Skin, Michel Faber

Under the SkinIsserley spends almost all of her days driving.  She drives up and down the A9 in Scotland, looking for hitchhikers.  Not just any hitchhikers, though.  She’s looking for muscled men, alone in the world and without any ties.  Sometimes she’ll drive past them three times just to make sure that they’re right.  But why?

This is a book that was not at all what I’d expected.  Your idea of the book from reading just that synopsis is probably the same as mine was, especially when we become aware in the opening pages that Isserley is wearing a low-cut top and checks herself in the mirror before pulling over. It’s not what you think it is.  I’m actually surprised by the depth of Michel Faber’s talent, that he can turn out novels so different in style and genre; all they have in common are his beautiful prose style and talent for fantastic storytelling.  It’s interesting because you might like all of them, or perhaps you might just like one.  So far I have enjoyed all of them.

I don’t want to give away much about this one because so much of it is built on suspense and unpredictability.  I had no idea what was coming and I think the book was better for it; it wouldn’t have had the same effect if I knew what was happening.  I was left guessing up until the very end.  I will say, however, that it could easily be classed as science fiction but it’s another one that could be easily appreciated by anyone who is looking to think a little more deeply about the issues presented.  I was astonished as each layer of the story peeled away and I was confronted with some uncomfortable truths even as I was stuck to the page wondering what was going to happen next.

The whole book is ultimately an allegory for something we think very little about.  It’s disturbing and makes you rethink certain things.  It’s also, however, a very good story.  I find it hard to believe that this was Faber’s first novel because it feels like he’s already a master of the craft.  His writing is already well polished and really drew me into the story.

Under the Skin was an intensely compelling, thoughtful mystery.  I have a feeling I’ll be thinking about it for some time to come.

I am an Amazon Associate. I received this book from the publisher for review.

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