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Under the Skin by Michel Faber
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Under the Skin (original 2000; edition 2001)

by Michel Faber (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,1421015,564 (3.74)210
The novel centres around a female character, Isserly, who seems to be obsessed with picking up male hitch-hikers, as long as they are muscular and fit. As the story unfolds, the reader comes to realise that Isserly's motives are rather unusual.
Member:Justjosie
Title:Under the Skin
Authors:Michel Faber (Author)
Info:Harvest (2001), 320 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work details

Under the Skin by Michel Faber (2000)

  1. 40
    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (Medellia)
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    The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells (HighlandLad)
  3. 20
    The Courage Consort: Three Novellas by Michel Faber (Booksloth, Booksloth)
  4. 21
    Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Another novel in which average humans are not the "normals". Both novels view people from very interesting, albeit different, perspectives.
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» See also 210 mentions

English (90)  Dutch (6)  Italian (2)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (100)
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
Oh my god, this is so much better than the movie!!

In defense of the movie, it inspired me to read the book. They are so loosely related as to be almost NOT.

This is dark. And creepy. And I flipped back and forth between who I wanted to survive so many times I started to get a little motions sick.

It doesn't have a happy ending, but it probably has the best ending, all things considered.

Yes, I will read it again. ( )
  KittyCunningham | Apr 26, 2021 |
3.75 stars.
It was an odd book, and I was not sure what to expect going in - although I guess that is the case with the majority of books on the 1001 list. I will pick/read them just because they are on the list and they are available. But I doubt I would have chosen this book if it was not on the list as Sci-fi is not a genre I tend to gravitate to.
That said it there is something about it that makes me think I will remember this book for long time. The strange part is that I don't know exactly why. It isn't a particular scene or idea that is stuck in my head. I guess it just somehow got under my skin. (sorry couldn't resist) ( )
  curious_squid | Apr 5, 2021 |
This book is, in many ways, even more disturbing than the movie. I watched the film a couple of weeks ago and immediately located a copy of the book, hoping to gain more insight into what I had just seen. In that respect, I was disappointed as the movie is a loose adaptation of the novel. On the other hand, I found that I liked the book even more. But... that's not to take anything away from the accomplishment that is the movie. Jonathan Glazer has, in my opinion, crafted an incredible piece of cinema and Scarlett Johansson's performance is startlingly fearless. And the score by Mica Levi - oh, man does her score ever add to the experience! But many people will not like the movie. Probably because it is slow, and moody, and atmospheric, and ambiguous, and... yes, all those things that are not like Michael Bay films. So, if you enjoy your popcorn while watching big 'ol 'splosions, stories driven by standard plotting, and films populated with characters that quip instead of converse, then Under the Skin is probably not a good cinematic choice for you.

Does that mean you should not read the book? Not necessarily... if you like intelligent science fiction grounded in the real world that surrounds us, then you might like this book. On the other hand, where it delves into apologue regarding food supplies and stewardship of the environment, the story veers firmly into horror territory rather than science fiction. Actually, much like the original Alien movie, (and the graphic novel that was based on the film, if you remember that), this is really more of a horror story/creature feature than it is a skiffy one. It's difficult to say more without introducing spoilers. In my opinion, it is better to read this book with as little foreknowledge as possible. Learning about Isserley, who and what she is, as the story unfolds, is something best experienced first hand. Suffice it to say, Faber has crafted a disturbing allegory with this novel. And even though the movie departs significantly from the plot of the book, it retains enough of the same elements that it remains recognizable as springing from the same source. Two vastly different endings that were, somehow, exactly the same. That is pretty darned incredible now that I'm looking back on it. ( )
  ScoLgo | Jan 26, 2021 |
I can't recommend this book highly enough -- engrossing, mad, thoroughly realistic and utterly strange. He tackles big issues without ever letting them slow down or twist the story, which (like Isserly, his narrator) only picks up speed. It's hard to review this without giving away the story -- suffice to say, I've read nothing like it. While the landscape of Scotland is partly incidental (the story could take place anywhere), his mastery of description, tightly linked to the book's themes, is particularly wonderful:

Burring slowly forwards in the outer lane, she flinched every time a faster vehicle roared past her; the wind pressure would drop away suddenly, then swing back with a vengeance. To her left, the air was swirling with seagulls, a chaos of white birds endlessly falling towards the water, then hovering just above the firth, sinking gradually, as if caught in sediment.

Highly, highly recommended... ( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
Bittered by the job
dealing with strange men all day
eyes glued to her chest. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
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Thanks to Jeff and Fuggo
and especially to my wife, Eva,
for bringing me back to earth
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Isserley always drove straight past a hitch-hiker when she first saw him, to give herself time to size him up.
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The novel centres around a female character, Isserly, who seems to be obsessed with picking up male hitch-hikers, as long as they are muscular and fit. As the story unfolds, the reader comes to realise that Isserly's motives are rather unusual.

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