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Under the Skin

Michel Faber

17,386 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0857861778 / ISBN 13: 9780857861771
Published by Canongate Books, 2011
Condition: Good Soft cover
From Books Express (Portsmouth, NH, U.S.A.)

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Under the Skin

Publisher: Canongate Books

Publication Date: 2011

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:Good

Edition: Main - Canons Imprint.

About this title

Synopsis:

Isserley spends most of her time driving along empty, winding Highland roads in her red Toyota. She is interested in hitchhikers - so long as they are male, well-muscled and alone. But once she has coaxed them into her car, what she does to them is truly astonishing. Meeting Isserley is only the beginning of their journey, and a gateway to a new world. Cutting across different genres, Under the Skin is a wildly inventive, bold and beautifully written book that launched Michel Faber's international career and was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Book Award. And in Isserley, Faber created one of the most memorable and singular heroines of modern times.

Review:

In the opening pages of Under the Skin, a lone female is scouting the Scottish Highlands in search of well-proportioned men: "Isserley always drove straight past a hitch-hiker when she first saw him, to give herself time to size him up. She was looking for big muscles: a hunk on legs. Puny, scrawny specimens were no use to her." At this point, the reader might be forgiven for anticipating some run-of-the-mill psychosexual drama. But commonplace expectation is no help when it comes to Michel Faber's strange and unsettling first novel; small details, then major clues, suggest that something deeply bizarre is afoot. What are the reasons for Isserley's extensive surgical scarring, her thick glasses, her excruciating backache? Who are the solitary few who work on the farm where her cottage is located? And why are they all nervous about the arrival of someone called Amlis Vess?

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

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