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Under the Skin    by Michel Faber order for
Under the Skin
by Michel Faber
Order:  USA  Can
Harvest, 2001 (2000)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

This is a departure for me. I normally don't read science fiction. Didn't realize when I bought Under the Skin that it wasn't in my genre. I bought because of the author - Michel Faber. His new novel, The Crimson Petal and the White, has been touted highly and I thought I'd see what his writing was like. When I got into this author's first book, I realized with disappointment what it was, but by then I couldn't put it down. I read each page anticipating what the next page would bring.

Isserley is a female, of that I was sure. Beyond that I couldn't tell you. It really didn't matter. Faber caught me, especially with his made up words - or were they really made up? Vodsels, or human beings as you and I know them, are being used as fodder and Isserley's job is to harvest them. For what purpose? Find out for yourself. Ride with Isserley along the highways of Scotland as she searches for appropriate hitchhikers. And enter the second and third level of the earth to view the torment there. Place yourself in her reconstructed body. Try to sleep in her bed of pain. Endure the loneliness of her solitary occupation.

There are no moments of soaring joy in Under the Skin. It's about what living might be like under the conditions Faber weaves in his tale of what (hopefully) is another world than the one we know. The author is a man with a strong imagination that he shares with the reader; skillfully so.

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