Under the Skin
"Isserley always drove straight past a hitchhiker when she first saw him, to give herself time to size him up."
In Michel Faber's suspenseful first novel, Isserley, an unusual-looking woman with strangely scarred skin, drives through the Scottish Highlands both day and night, looking for just the right male hitchhikers. She pick
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There is quite a lot of dialogue in the book, particularly dealing with ethical questions and ideas of class and exploitation. In the film, however, the film maker relies primarily on images to tell the story - it is a very quiet film, and the ideas hit you via emotional reactions to the scenes. The scene on the beach for me was devastating and powerful, and it was not drawn from the book. I appreciate film makers like this who latch onto some ideas from a text then make the story their own, telling it in a different medium.(less)
This is a very unusul situation for me, but this is a very unusual book. I'm actually looking extremely forward to seeing the movie. The director Jonathan Glazer doesn't do many movies but he did do Sexy Beast which is a must-see, and he did do this amazing advert :
So bring it on!
And now, the original book review.
Things I love about Under the Skin
- the heroine is really creepy
- the whole situation is really mental (that's a literary term coin ...more
My grandfather was on his way to pick up my uncle for the Christmas holiday when he stopped for two male hitchhikers. They forced him to an abandoned house, beat him with a two-by-four, and drove off. Police found his cold, naked body two weeks later. My mom was eleven years old.
Clearly, picking up hitchhikers is a big no-no in my family. Now this book warns me against the other side of hitchhiking: standing by the road with your thumb ...more
Isserley, too, often ventured out at hours of such prehistoric stillness that her vehicle might have been the first ever. It was as if she had been set down on a world so newly finished that mountains might still have some shifting to do and the wooded valleys might yet be recast as seas.
Okay. This book is not what you are expecting at all. I am going to put the general (non-ending, non-detailed) description of the plot under a spoiler tag, because ...more
It is a story of a pickup lady named Isserly. She drives back and forth in a Scottish highway looki ...more
All I can tell you, spoiler free, is this - an attractive, lone woman, Isserley, drives on the A9 motorway through the Scottish Highlands, searching for hitch-hikers. She drives along ...more
At the risk of sounding alarmist, I want to alarm you all.
I am currently rereading Under The Skin for about the sixth time, and I noticed today from tube adverts that the film adaptation is out March 14 or 15. Now, I utterly hate it when things are oversold to me, but if you ever want to experience this novel - which is among the most extraordinary I've ever read - in the manner in which it was inte ...more
This is also about alienation, which was an even strong ...more
On the film's trailer/synopsis/general promotion, just a couple of things: 1) There's a spoiler innit concerning the who-what of the main character that the book opted to slow-reveal, which creates this weird situation where the tra ...more
It's also a tricky one to review, o ...more
It's an uncanny novel. Although it starts out as a classic thriller , Faber from first pages is playing with readers and misleading them. Repeating for The Times here nothing is what it seems and you become disoriented because this book is nothing like you had ever read before. At the same time engaging and repulsive. Unsettling.
I'm not sure what I expected but was absolutely suprised.Faber consistently builds tension and leads us out of the atmosphere of horror in total fantasy, mixes so man ...more
Beware of dark roads. Beware of the kindness of strangers. Evocative and well written, this is a difficult book to review without spewing forth spoiler after spoiler in a big frothing pool of spoiler vomit. Therefore I will not write too ...more
However, that makes writing a review for this book a hell of a task because I can't tell you about the salient points of this book that are both scary and funny at the same time.
And there were so many aspects modern life that Faber picked up and turned on their head in this - his first - book.
So, the only thing I will say is that it follows the story of Isserly, who picks up hitchhikers in northern Scotland and that I would be wary ...more
It wasn't until I saw the eerie and powerful movie version that it moved into the forefront of my mind again. And with most stories that I see the film first, it was painted over my imagination as I read the story. Imagine my surprise when I realized they are basi ...more
Under the Skin was definitely not what I was expecting it to be. As someone who saw the film adaptation first, I should warn you that this is almost nothing like the film, on pretty much every level you could think of.
What Faber has crafted with his debut novel is a melancholic commentary on existence, rights, and what it means to be human. The novel follows Isserley whose job is to drive around the Scottish highlands and pick up well-built male hitchhikers. The purpose of which is not ...more
It’s really difficult to say anything about Under the Skin without giving anything away but to summarise as much as I can without ruining it for anyone else bra ...more
Here's my advice for anyone interested in reading this book -- do not read ANYTHING about it before reading. Don't read reviews, don't read the back cover, don't even read the blurbs on the front. Just go into it completely cold.
So, having said that, what in the world can I say about this book without ruining it?
I can tell you that it opens with a woman named Isserley dr ...more
It certainly wasn't the kind of read I was expecting from Michael Faber and I felt that the plot didn't really expand any further by the end of the book than it had in the first few pages. It hasn't put me off Michael Faber because I enjoy his style of writing.. would I recommend you pick this up...? ...more
The winning element of this story is mystery, being surprised and the strangeness that comes with it.
This original story is one that can possibly stir some repulsion in the reader and some thought on our human race and trusts that we may allude to.
A captivating story with a female main protagonist that you DO NOT want to hitch a ride with.
This one does not get pigeonholed into a certain genre it has a wide scope of attraction.
Review als ...more
Fabulously, however, "Under the Skin" has aliens doing to us what we do to animals.
And it's ab ...more
Faber was born in The Hague, The Netherlands. He and his parents emigrated to Australia in 1967. He attended primary and secondary school in the Melbourne suburbs of Boronia and Bayswater, then attended the University Of Melbourne, studying Dutch, Philosophy, Rhetoric, English Language (a course involving translation a ...more