Under the Skin

By Michel Faber
Read by Fiona Hardingham

9.27 Hours 08/16/2012 unabridged
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Hailed as “original and unsettling, an Animal Farm for the new century” (Wall Street Journal), this debut novel lingers long after the last page has been turned. A “fascinating psychological thriller” (Baltimore Sun), this entrancing novel introduces Isserley, a female driver who scouts the Scottish highlands for male hitchhikers with big muscles. She herself is tiny—like a kid peering up over the steering wheel. Scarred and awkward, yet strangely erotic and threatening, Isserley listens to her passengers as they open up to her, revealing clues about who might miss them should they disappear—and then she strikes. What happens to her victims next is only part of a terrifying reality. At once humane and horrifying, Under the Skin takes us on a heart-thumping ride through dangerous territory: our own moral instincts and the boundaries of compassion. A grotesque and comical allegory and a surreal representation of contemporary society run amok, Under the Skin was internationally received as the arrival of an exciting talent, rich and assured.

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Summary

Summary

Whitbread Award Finalist

Hailed as “original and unsettling, an Animal Farm for the new century” (Wall Street Journal), this debut novel lingers long after the last page has been turned.

A “fascinating psychological thriller” (Baltimore Sun), this entrancing novel introduces Isserley, a female driver who scouts the Scottish highlands for male hitchhikers with big muscles. She herself is tiny—like a kid peering up over the steering wheel. Scarred and awkward, yet strangely erotic and threatening, Isserley listens to her passengers as they open up to her, revealing clues about who might miss them should they disappear—and then she strikes. What happens to her victims next is only part of a terrifying reality.

At once humane and horrifying, Under the Skin takes us on a heart-thumping ride through dangerous territory: our own moral instincts and the boundaries of compassion. A grotesque and comical allegory and a surreal representation of contemporary society run amok, Under the Skin was internationally received as the arrival of an exciting talent, rich and assured.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“A wonderful book—painful, lyrical, frightening, brilliant…I couldn’t put it down.” Kate Atkinson, New York Times bestselling author
“The fantastic is so nicely played against the day-to-day that one feels the strangeness of both.” New York Times Book Review
“Faber constructs a compelling, unusual tale about species difference and the limits of compassion. Under the Skin blends elements of science fiction, grotesque comedy, horror, and thriller into a genre-jumping meditation.” Washington Post Book World
“Original and unsettling, an Animal Farm for the new century…Michel Faber is a strong, moral voice, and this first novel promises great things for the future.” Wall Street Journal
“A ride deep into a misanthropic hinterland.” Los Angeles Times Book Review
“A satiric novel eerie and touching in equal parts…Under the Skin sits squarely within the tradition of the British satire, and one is bound to recall the features of Swift’s boorish Yahoos…and peaceful Eloi of H. G. Wells’ dark, technological century’s-end fantasy, The Time Machine.” San Francisco Chronicle
“A fascinating psychological thriller…[that] hovers between the real and the fantastic.” Baltimore Sun
“An extraordinary book that touches on the most profound issues of the human condition.” Times (London)
“A coolly imaginative and shocking novel.” Times Literary Supplement (London)
“[Under the Skin] uses devices borrowed from the suspense-thriller and science fiction genres to create a vivid portrait of a world that is both wildly improbable and frighteningly real.” Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“A fantastic first novel, a great first novel, so intelligently and beautifully made a book as to deserve a wide readership.” Boston Book Review
“Notwithstanding the clever characterization, the real triumph is Faber’s prose. This is a man who could give Conrad a run at writing the perfect sentence.” Guardian (London)
“[A] riveting horror novel…Perfectly chilling.” Mademoiselle
“Under the Skin is a compulsive read and remains a lyrical and disturbing allegorical meditation on human appetites, morality, and essence.” Independent (London)
“Profound and disturbing.” Sunday Times (London)
“Alternately gorgeous and terrifying, lyrical and brutal, Under the Skin compels and teases…A growing need to turn the pages sneaks up on you…So satisfying and successful.” Newsday
“Faber’s pacing here is masterful, with clues precisely dropped and details ominously described…The Dutch-born and Australian-raised Faber is a strange and promising new talent.” Publishers Weekly
“As suspenseful and creepy as the first third of Psycho. An artful moral parable…in the mode of Brave New World and Animal Farm.” Booklist (starred review)
“A wildly imaginative, scorching, bizarre, and insidious first novel.” BookPage
“An eerie debut novel, turns the Scottish Highlands into a landscape from The Twilight Zone…Highly compelling, enhanced by the superbly evoked imagery of the Highlands.” Kirkus Reviews

Reviews

Reviews

by CorayThan 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

Frustrating, boring, a little creepy

So minor thematic spoiler warning here ...

When you get most of the way through this book, you'll realize it's a vegetarian manifesto with a thin sci-fi veneer. I don't necessarily mind reading a vegetarian manifesto, provided it's interesting and entertaining, but this doesn't really hit either of those notes.

The characters are usually shallow stereotypes (so you're saying most guys like to look at and think about breasts and having sex?) and every time I thought "here we go, this character is going to be interesting and move the plot forward", they'd just end up staring at the main character's boobs some more. Not joking.

This book isn't really that bad. Maybe the last 1/4 would redeem it. Unfortunately, I just don't think I can continue it.

Author

Author Bio: Michel Faber

Michel Faber’s work has been published in twenty countries and has received several literary awards. The author of The Crimson Petal and the White, he is a graduate of Melbourne University and has worked as a nurse, a pickle packer, a cleaner, and a guinea pig for medical research. Born in the Netherlands, he emigrated to Australia when he was seven and now lives in Scotland.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction
Runtime: 9.27
Audience: Adult
Language: English