Friday, November 14, 2014

ARC Review: The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

The Book of Strange New Things
Title: The Book of Strange New Things: A Novel
Author:  Michel Faber
Publisher/Publication Date: Hogarth, October 28, 2014
Genre: Literary Fiction
Format/Source: ARC, Publisher

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Book Summary from Goodreads

It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter’s teachings—his Bible is their “book of strange new things.” But Peter is rattled when Bea’s letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea’s faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter.

Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance, and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse, is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable. While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival. Their trials lay bare a profound meditation on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us.

Marked by the same bravura storytelling and precise language that madeThe Crimson Petal and the White such an international success, The Book of Strange New Things is extraordinary, mesmerizing, and replete with emotional complexity and genuine pathos.

My Thoughts

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber presents an interesting world in which a pastor has gone through rigorous testing and leaves his wife behind to minister to aliens in a faraway galaxy. However, it took me awhile to finish this book. At times, the pacing was slow. The Oasans were hard to connect with, and they were presented in a manner that made it difficult for the reader to understand some of their language. In addition, Faber made failed attempts to include diverse characters into the story as one character was described as chimpanzee-like and another had skin too dark to write notes on—who does that anyway. Peter was a minister depicted with imperfections. His behavior towards his wife made him unlikeable as his wife struggled with her beliefs, the changes taking place in the world, and the distance between them. And even though the ARC was 496 pages, the ending left too many issues unresolved.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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