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
I will begin with the strong recommendation not to read any blurb before starting Under The Skin. The plot it is better to be explored without prior knowledge of the main mystery. Unfortunately, most blurbs an ...more
Literary science fiction that is compulsively creepy and disturbing in all the right ways. Orwellian by way of Ursula Le Guin or Octavia Butler. More Animal Farm than 1984. I think fans of Jeff VanderMeer's style of New Weird fiction would have a lot to enjoy here.
It's a moral story, without particularly taking any one side, mostly just intended to provoke some discussion I imagine. It could easily be interpreted as an animal rights activism novel, but I'm not so sure it actuall ...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
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
Get Into My Car
The woman has a job to do: finding young, fit male bodies and bringing them on back to the farm. It takes dedication and sacrifice on her part; but there are worse jobs. She gets to live in the Scottish countryside, work in the outdoors, and generally be her own boss. And she’s proud of her trade-craft. After so many years, her hunting and seducing skills are sharply honed.
But there’s always more to learn. She’s got the local accents down pretty well. But her ow ...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
This is also about alienation, which was an even strong ...more
It's also a tricky one to review, o ...more
In Michael Faber's novel a lone woman named Isserley cruises the backroads of Scotland, picking up healthy, muscular male hitchers. She chats awkwardly with her new passengers, determining their health, their le ...more
It is a story of a pickup lady named Isserly. She drives back and forth in a Scottish highway looki ...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
Isserley drives along Highland roads picking up hitchhikers – but only the hunky males – to take back to her farm near the Moray Firth. It’s likely that you already know the setup of this even if you haven’t read it, perhaps from the buzz around the 2013 film version starring Scarlett Johansson. It must have been so difficult for the first ...more
Disturbing, strangely compelling and original: Under the Skin is unlike anything I have ever read before.
The story follows, Isserley, a female driver who picks up hitchhikers for secret purposes. She needs a certain type of guy: big muscled, tall and fit. What her reason is ...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 more and more disoriented, for this book is nothing like you had ever read before. At the same time engaging and repulsive. Unsettling. Disturbing.
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 ...more
This book is a very unsettling, even sickening one. The story is rather casual at first, eventually horrifying: a young woman, who drives around in the Scottish Highlands, takes hunky hitch-hikers in her car and, after a short interview, decides whether to take ...more
One of the weirdest stories I have read. Ever.
Video Review: https://youtu.be/Vu4nIERHIeI
From the synopsis, I went into this book with preconceived ideas that ended up being completely wrong. Initially, I expected a fun little thriller, but I quickly realized that this was something else. Thankfully, I loved that “something else”.
Blending together elements of horror, suspense and speculative fiction, this is the kind of book that blurs the lines between genres. First and foremost, this ...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
Fabulously, however, "Under the Skin" has aliens doing to us what we do to animals.
And it's ab ...more
Well, to be honest - this was not what I expected. Surprised in a good way and in awe how well it was written I swallowed this book as fast as it was possible. Not going to retell the plot, that would be an absolute and deadly (lol!) spoiler, the blurb is already more than enough. I'm not even going to put some of my tags, because that would be a total spoiler too. Prepare to have your feelings mixed and cheering for the wrong guy (and that might be so ambiguous at ti ...more
"Most distracting of all, though, was not the threat of danger but the allure of beauty"
In this speculative tale reminiscent of Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale we follow Isserley, a woman who is obsessed with picking up well-muscled hitchhikers on the backdrop of a Scotland Highway. Why she is picking them up and asking them personal questions, is a mystery that will reveal a dark side to this...more
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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