Review: Michel Faber’s “Under the Skin”

by writereaderly

I can only tell you that it starts with a woman picking up hitchhikers in rural Scotland (hitchers, as she calls them), buff blokes only; any more than that and I’ll give too much away. It begins suspiciously like a well-written schlock-horror, but thankfully and unexpectedly moves into a gifted exploration of what it means to be human: I mean that in all sincerity. I wasn’t entirely convinced by the female lead, Isserley, or her flights of mood, and I found the moral guts of it (those who’ve read it should pardon the pun) somewhat disingenuous. But in the greater scheme of things, this is a damned impressive (first) novel – subtle, deft, tightly crafted, shocking – and I do recommend it.

Where it came from: Gift from JH
Time & manner of reading: The first two chapters made me sleep badly, so I made a policy decision to read only by daylight – absorbed, illicit reads squeezed in thereafter until I finished it yesterday
Where it went to: MM, when her reading pile is reduced
Reminds me of: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Who I’d recommend it to: Psychological and pretty damned dark – engrossing, but you’d have to be in the mood
Also reading: The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene; The Reivers by William Faulkner (some progress made on the latter)

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