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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.

Critic Reviews

“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 Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

26 of 27 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Very different from the film

I liked the film, and I liked the book. It is the third of Faber's novels that I have completed and it wins second place to "Crimson Petal". I like the concept and some of the descriptions are stunning yet simple and elegant. I think Faber has a great respect for women which I appreciate very much.
The voice acting was a little much. Her general reading voice was very clear and pleasant but her accents and acting of dramatic scenes, proved distracting somewhat. Just somewhat though. Good read, solid 3 stars. I wish I would have watched the movie AFTER reading the book because the concept folds out very well and the experience was slightly spoiled because I already knew some things.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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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.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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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.

41 of 50 people found this review helpful

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Bothsil, Bothsel, Vothsel ?

A MALE IN PRIME CONDITION
BROAD SHOULDERED, SCOTTISH
UNCOMMONLY TALL
THE BULGE IN HIS PANTS
THE BRAWNY ONES
HE WAS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MAN SHE HAD EVER SEEN.
LATER WHEN HE WAS NAKED
Wait a minute, this is not a romance, calm down. This brings up the question of who and what are humans. This girl with really big tits drives round picking up men. Once in her car, she positions her body to best show off her tits. She has big tits by the way. When the men get in the car we get their view of what is going on in their heads. Usually it is ,she has really big tits. Some think she is ugly, some pretty, but all believe she has big tits. In the first half of the book, I lost count of how many men she picked up, but she does have big tits. My new mp3 player takes format 4, which means my books are broke up in parts to make the download faster. When the first half ended, I decided to not continue. I wanted to find out who was human and how all these men get abducted and no police force ever wonders why about 300 men go missing a year in this one area of Scotland, but I had more interesting books in my library. I never thought I would get bored by a big set of tits, but I did.

21 of 26 people found this review helpful

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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.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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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.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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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

17 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Patricia
  • Washington, DC, United States
  • 10-14-14

Don't read this!

I'm as twisted as the next person but this book is deeply disturbing, pointless and offers no closure.

31 of 45 people found this review helpful