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Under the Skin | [Michel Faber]

Under the Skin

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2000 Michel Faber (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“A fascinating book…The fantastic is so nicely played against the day-to-day that one feels the strangeness of both…Remarkable.” (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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (217 )
5 star
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3.8 (201 )
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4.2 (201 )
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Performance
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  •  
    John Braine Dublin, Ireland 10-23-14
    John Braine Dublin, Ireland 10-23-14 Member Since 2015

    J.

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    "almost as good as the movie"
    If you could sum up Under the Skin in three words, what would they be?

    Under the skin!


    Any additional comments?

    I never read a book if I’ve already seen the movie but I didn’t even know the book existed beforehand, and I was so intrigued by the movie that I wanted to know more, even though I loved the ambiguity of the movie.

    It turns out that the book is very different in detail and plot and stands on its own completely. They are almost different episodes of the same basic premise. And the book really struck me as an allegory for the carnivore/vegetarian debate. Considering it is in effect about meat, the title, perfectly works on many levels.

    And while the movie has some of the most visually striking images I’ve seen in years, the audiobook contains some of the most haunting sounds I’ve heard in an audiobook.

    Highly recommended

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenda J. Duge austin texas 07-13-14
    Brenda J. Duge austin texas 07-13-14 Member Since 2014

    firebrand42

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Something Different!"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    After loving The Crimson Petal and the White, I was excited to read anything else by Faber. The man has a truly unique voice and an odd point of view. In this book, as in The Crimson Petal.., his prose is lovely. The story is something I've never read before, which is always great; however, for all the ugliness in The Crimson Petal, there were moments of hope and humor. In Under the Skin, there is no spot of lightness or humor; all is grey and melancholy. So, I must recommend it with reservations. It's fascinating, the plot and the main character, but it left me with a vague, lasting saddness. If your not prone to such things, read it by all means. The narrator was excellent although occasionally difficult to understand. Her Scottish accents are sometimes too true and hard for an American ear to comprehend.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy 09-03-13
    Tracy 09-03-13 Member Since 2008

    Love a great book that stays with you long after you've finished it.

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    "weird & creepy, but interesting!"

    What a different book. Often I was wondering what was really going on in this book, made me think and try to figure out what had happened . Hard to put this book down, really enjoyed it. If you like creepy/mystery/thriller type books this one is worth a listen. Great easy to listen to narration. I would definitely read another book by Michel Faber, great imagination and well written.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arthur Gousby, III AZ, CA, FL 04-30-15
    Arthur Gousby, III AZ, CA, FL 04-30-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Good story that keeps me thinking deeper"

    The reader was great and captivating. The story shook me with its twist of what a "human" was. The farm methods further drove the dehumanizing topic home. I almost want to go vegan after this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Villareal 03-31-15
    Villareal 03-31-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Unusual and thought-provoking"
    What did you love best about Under the Skin?

    Sort of Sci-Fi, sort of a mystery. Unusual premise with a few well-developed and interesting characters. Scottish accents and slang.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 02-10-15 Member Since 2012
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    "It got.. Under MY Skin.. In the best way"

    Very thought provoking subject matter, and well performed. So much different story than the movie, but they work well off each other.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-14-15 Member Since 2009
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    "Excellent all around! "

    This author is by far one of the brightest literary stars. many layers in this story. It defies any one genre. very thought provoking. the narrator was also excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phil Virgo Gaithersburg, MD 01-04-15
    Phil Virgo Gaithersburg, MD 01-04-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Interesting but not what I was hoping for"
    Any additional comments?

    I am not excited about this novel. It is an interesting story, but the writing is not especially interesting - although I did like this: ““The indiscriminate eternal devotion of nature to its numberless particles” quite a lot. But I did finish it and did get involved with the story and the only character that was focused on through out. It is a story with a moral message: don’t destroy your planet and don’t be cruel or assume your species is the only one needing respect and compassion. I am moved by the message and examining my choices.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bohemian Bon Vivant San Francisco, CA 09-27-14
    Bohemian Bon Vivant San Francisco, CA 09-27-14 Member Since 2015

    Bohemian Bon Vivant

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    "Ugghh -- Seriously Awful"

    I saw this after seeing the film version (which I found enigmatic and thought provoking, despite being slow in places and having a weak ending).

    The film version was significantly different than the book, but the book was just tedious and unimaginative. It lacked moodiness and artistry, and was just a chore to have to listen to, but I persevered.

    Tedious dialogue, unimaginative aliens, tedious repetition of events ad nauseum. I couldn't recommend this to anyone.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darryl Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 07-13-14
    Darryl Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 07-13-14 Member Since 2008
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    "stays with you, then get the film"

    novel: I very much like this one. It has some odd SF/horror elements that made me think of Well's Time Machine, not the time element, but the Morlocks and the Eloi. And then there is a little bit of the Man Who Fell to Earth identity confusion/struggle on the alien's behalf.

    I don't want to give too much away, but there is a "huntress" looking for men. I thought there'd be a little more of the Piers Anthony Firefly idea but it's not really that at all. I do think a couple of the hunt episodes maybe run long, but not horribly. There is a rather horrific scene involving the men but in general I think the ideas are more horrible than any particular scenes. And in an odd way you come to identify with the girl. Much can be said about the ideas of body image and sexual attraction/predation.

    film: If you are interested and want to see a very cool interpretation of this check out the film that just got released on disc/itunes. Artsy, impressionistic, very Kubrick-ian use of image, music, cinematography, and no easy answers and explanations. It is not a strict filming of the novel though but I thought it was fascinating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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