- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 19 hours and 27 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: October 28, 2014
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00M284RDE
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Book of Strange New Things Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
There are some themes here that I don't normally find very compelling, namely issues of faith and marital difficulties. But I found myself completely absorbed in Faber's creation, tearing through this hefty volume in a matter of days. The characters all felt very real to me, with vivid personalities and abundant flaws. There were times when I would have liked more detail about certain events, particularly Peter's early days among the natives, but ultimately the book as a whole comes together very well. Various mysteries are satisfactorily resolved. The only aspect of the story that I found somewhat unsatisfying was its open-endedness; there are hints about how everything may turn out, but we don't actually see it all through to the end. I can understand why Faber stopped where he did; important decisions have been made and events have been put in motion, so that it might actually have been anticlimactic to pursue each thread down to its final resolution. I just wasn't quite ready to leave this story yet, which might speak as much to its power as to anything else.
A word of warning: despite the central role of faith, this is definitely not what I would classify as "Christian fiction". It opens with a sex scene and contains plenty of profanity, along with descriptions of bodily functions, masturbation, etc. This is the sort of content that could have come across as gratuitous, but instead it adds an element of gritty realism. The religious message is also not entirely unwavering, which I appreciated as a non-Christian reader.
I'd like to say more about the plot and the various issues that arise in the course of Peter's mission, but I think it's best to approach the story without too much prior information and just allow yourself to get caught up in the flow. There are plenty of surprising elements here whose impact might be diminished by reading about them beforehand. Peter sets off on a journey into the unknown, and I'm very glad that I had an opportunity to travel along with him. I just wish I could do a better job of explaining why I liked this book so much; it's a powerful novel whose impact I can't seem to express in words. Reading it was a fully immersive experience.
The protagonist is deeply connected to a woman who he claims saved him when he met her at a low point in his life. He has to leave that woman behind to take a journey. This is unfair, but from the moment she reconnected with him via email on the new planet (maybe from the moment I first met her on their ride to the airport), I couldn't help but wonder whether she had ever been as wonderful as he described her to be? It seems like he must have just overlooked her flaws because he believed she was his savior and he truly loved her. I can't help but wonder if she had ever been happy? Maybe she had been silently resenting him for years and his leaving was her opportunity to unleash her frustration. The disasters she described seemed too numerous and possibly absurd to even believe. Was she just trying to get his attention?
There were so many questions that I wanted answered. I thought the author was dropping little nuggets that would be expanded or answered later (e.g., Could a large piece of infrastructure, built to harvest water for the new colony, somehow influence the planet's weather? How would this impact the natives' way of life? Why are all of the colonists on the planet so benign? ), but I'm not sure that I ever got the answer (though I may have just missed it).
It was an interesting world and a sympathetic protagonist, though.