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Under the Skin: A Novel

Faber, Michel

19,444 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0156011603 / ISBN 13: 9780156011600
Published by Harcourt Brace, U.S.A., 2000
Condition: As New Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Under the Skin: A Novel

Publisher: Harcourt Brace, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition: As New

Edition: ADVANCE READING COPY

About this title

Synopsis:

Now a Major Motion Picture Starring Scarlett Johansson

 

"A wonderful book - painful, lyrical, frightening, brilliant . . . I couldn't put it down." -- Kate Atkinson

 

"The fantastic is so nicely played against the day-to-day that one feels the strangeness of both . . . A remarkable novel." – The New York Times

 

"Alternately gorgeous and terrifying, lyrical and brutal, Under the Skin compels and teases . . . Satisfying and successful." —Newsday

 

In this haunting, entrancing novel, Michel Faber introduces us to Isserley, a female driver who cruises the Scottish Highlands picking up hitchhikers. Scarred and awkward, yet strangely erotic and threatening, she listens to her hitchhikers as they open up to her, revealing clues about who might miss them if they should disappear. Under the Skin takes us on a heart-thumping ride through dangerous territory—our own moral instincts and the boundaries of compassion.

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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