Thursday, 20 August 2015

Review: Under the Skin by Michel Faber

Under the Skin, Michel Faber's debut novel is a great many things. It's creepy, it's unnerving, it pulled me well out of my comfort zone and it offers surprising but credible arguments in favour of both veganism and the legalisation of marijuana, as well as there being some solid commentary on the way that women are often regarded as little more than sexual objects. 

The novel opens with Isserley, a woman who spends most of her time driving through the Scottish Highlands searching for hitchhikers. The hitchhikers are collected, drugged and returned to her employers and left to a surprising fate. Over the course of the novel, the author cleverly drip feeds information, which left me guessing as to who and what Isserley was precisely. Her lot in life is a sad one, while her breast implants make a sad but relevant commentary about sexism. (I would go into details, but these are things best discovered as the individual reader turns the pages of the book for themselves.) 

While I cannot say that this novel was comfortable reading, it was certainly intelligent and the kind of book that left me thinking well after I had put it down again.

Recommended, but proceed with an open mind and prepare to be challenged--for the better.