Dan's Reviews > Under the Skin

Under the Skin by Michel Faber
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's review
Aug 05, 2012

really liked it
Read from August 02 to 05, 2012

Very enjoyable soft sci-fi with a gruesome premise. Story is told from the perspective of furred aliens kidnapping and processing male hitchhikers into luxury meat for their home world. Since the perspective is the aliens, and this perspective is never broken, the aliens think of themselves as "human beings" and the humans, whom they call vodsels, as "animals on two legs". The main character, Isserley, is a woman who endured horrific surgeries to make her look like vodsel, who with an implanted set of breasts, entices the hitchhikers. Her status quo changes when the idealistic son of her employer's president pays an unsettling visit.

The story impels itself forward because the reader just wants to know more. Always a good quality in a novel. The premise is ripe with ideas about big business, animal rights, and so forth, but unfortunately, I don't think Faber mines them adequately or enough. The ending, like one reviewer said, feels like a letdown: I was expecting something mindblowing, a profusion of ideas. Still, the novel was enjoyable, provocative if not enlightening, and I admired the imagination of the premise and its unflinching execution, not to mention the seamless sense of perspective.
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