Review – Under the Skin by Michel Faber

under the skin

“Isserley always drove straight past a hitch-hiker when she first saw him, to give herself time to size him up. She was looking for big muscles: a hunk on legs. Puny, scrawny specimens were no use to her.” (page 2)

Under the Skin is about Isserly, a woman who drives around Scotland looking for hitchhikers.  She will not pick up a woman, only men.  They must have plenty of muscle on their bodies and no family.  Isserly herself is a strange looking woman, but the men she picks up can’t help but notice how disturbingly erotic she is.  Under the Skin is strange and suspenseful, every page reveals something else about Isserly’s unusual existence and her mission.  Each turn is as unexpected as the last.

This novel is bizarre.  Everything about it is odd, but it’s also wonderful.  The ending was pitch-perfect and every page before that expertly crafted.  This novel, in the hands of a less skillful author, could have taken a turn for the worse.  Faber, however, has created a novel that is so unique, I’m can’t think of anything I have read that is quite like it.

Faber reveals just enough information about Isserly and the strange company she works for too keep you interested and guessing, and when the truth is revealed, slowly, page by page, you go from curiosity and suspicion to pure horror.  There is allegory, commentary, and suspense.  It’s violent and there are gruesome scenes throughout this book, so be warned, but don’t let that turn you away from the book, because that is one of its strengths.  The gruesome nature of the prose is well-done and necessary.

Under the Skin is on a lot of must-read lists and it’s easy to see why.  This book is one that is dying to be discussed and talked about.  Please pick this one up so we can talk about it!  There’s so much here that I haven’t included in the interest of avoiding spoilers, because this is one you have to discover on your own time.

So go read this!: now | tomorrow | next week | next month | next year | when you’ve exhausted your TBR pile

Other reviews:

Erik is (so not) Dead! (Contains spoilers, but I had so many of the same questions!)

Did you read and review Under the Skin?  Let me know in the comments and I’ll link to your review.

11 thoughts on “Review – Under the Skin by Michel Faber

  1. I”ve not heard of this book. Did you read it for Women Unbound? it suggests an a-typical villain, challenges any sexist stereotypes. OR do I have #unbound on the brain too much and am analyzing everything. 😛

    1. Care: I didn’t read it specifically for Women Unbound, but it might fit! I don’t know though, something about the book makes it seem like it doesn’t really fit!

  2. Hmmm…I have always wondered about this book, and felt eerie reading the blurb. I should keep this in mind when I look for book that is well crafted and yet bizarre. 🙂

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