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Under the Skin Paperback – July 16, 2001
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The ensuing narrative is of such cumulative, compelling strangeness that it almost defies description. The one thing that can be said with certainty is that Under the Skin is unlike anything else you have ever read. Faber's control of his medium is nearly flawless. Applying the rules of psychological realism to a fictional world that is both terrifying and unearthly, he nonetheless compels the reader's absolute identification with Isserley. Not even the author's fine short-story collection, Some Rain Must Fall, prepared us for such mastery. Under the Skin is ultimately a reviewer's nightmare and a reader's dream: a book so distinctive, so elegantly written, and so original that one can only urge everybody in earshot to experience it, and soon. --Burhan Tufail --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
From the reader's perspective, the first part of the book puts us in the position of detective. Who is Isserly, and why is she driving the roads of Scotland looking for men? Without revealing anything of the plot (this is one book that you should enter completely uninformed), Faber lays down a series of clues and information that easily lead us into creating an image of this woman and her motivations -- only to have this image completely exploded when the revelation comes. In some ways, it reminded me of the movie "The Sixth Sense": an interesting, compelling story that gets turned upside-down, forcing us to confess that we were given all the information we needed, but we came to the wrong conclusions anyway.
After the key revelations, the remainder of the story skirts the edges of simplistic, moralistic allegory. However, the author appears to be aware of this risk, and turns the remainder of the book into a serious study of the main character's key conflict. His writing is fluid, descriptive and highly imaginative throughout, so our interest in the story and the characters is maintained despite some of the heavy emotion and inner turmoil.
I realize that this review may sound a bit obtuse, simply because I am so concerned about not revealing details that may ruin a new reader's enjoyment and astonishment. Go out and read this book yourself -- it's worth it.
First and foremost, Faber's writing is wonderful. He tempers his language like a swordsmith, starting from raw story elements and gradually refining them, working in key concepts patiently, until the full shape of the story becomes clear. He doesn't rush, and he seems to love the act of wordsmithing itself. The book is a joy to read, even just from the standpoint of beautiful words.
In contrast to this is the story itself. It's a challenging story, one which is both disturbing and enlightening. The main character, Isserley, at first seems somewhat strange, but it's only as the tale progresses that you learn just how very strange she is, and how her circumstances are perhaps even stranger. And yet, by the end, she becomes very real. This personality, who at the beginning seemed so distant, and then so impossibly different, becomes someone I can understand easily. Her motivations, her feelings, her pain... it all comes into clear focus.
The themes of the book challenge the meaning of what it is to be human. Is "human being" just a phrase, or does it mean something? Does it mean different things to different people? From an outside perspective, what are we, really? Which are all important questions... and perhaps what I liked best about the book is that these questions were implicit. They were never stated outright in the book, but were asked subtly, through the telling of a compelling story.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very much enjoyed. Faber brings an anthropological tint to scifi that I thoroughly enjoy. If you enjoyed Under the Skin, check out The Book of Strange New Things. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Laura
The movie was bizarre, but thought provoking enough that I was drawn to the novel. Book is much superior and brings you deeper into the world of the alien protagonist/antagonist. Read morePublished 1 month ago by K. genereux
Wanted to like the story and it was a good tale, but in my opinion the ending sucks. I call this an "Opra" book... filled with suffering misery with no reward at the end.Published 1 month ago by Munchkin
This was probably the most disturbing book I've ever read. It was so dark and disturbing I felt weird, even a bit guilty, for not being able to put it down. Read morePublished 1 month ago by SmartShopperMJ
I give this book three stars for its unusual premise, but other than that it was kind of meh. I did not find myself caring about the main character at all. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bartholomew Breva
As this book was published a couple of decades ago, and the film based loosely on it is 2 or 3 years old now, this review - while containing no real spoilers for the uninitiated -... Read morePublished 1 month ago by MACdamoose
I picked this up having just finished Faber's 'Book of Strange New Things' and also having watched (most of) the film version of 'Under the Skin. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Matt
DON'T WATCH OR BUY AUDIBLE BOOK. I was disappointed in the book and thought movie might help it come together and make sense. No luck. Don't waste your time. No endingPublished 1 month ago by larry farmer
Beautiful and disturbing. I was completely seduced by this novel. It has become one of my faborites. I can't wait to read it again.Published 2 months ago by Amber