woensdag 9 maart 2016

Michel Faber: The Book of Strange New Things

Hi everyone

This review is about Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things.
I got my copy at Fnac and it has 585 pages.

 “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.”

The premise sounded very interesting and I had heard so many good things about the book, I honestly couldn’t wait to get to it.

I loved this book. I loved this book so much.
It is absolutely amazing.

The writing is wonderful. It’s not overly flowery but it resonates beautifully.
The story is slow, but slow in a good way. It’s not action packed even though a lot happens, it’s more like a slow burning fire; never boring or dull and always beautiful, interesting and changing. It’s a tense story.

As a very firm atheist I was most skeptical about Peter’s preaching in the book. I was pleasantly surprised. It is a bit much sometimes and Peter feels like an overly religious, non-thinking wimp hiding behind his faith at times but that’s part of his character so it didn’t really bother me.
Peter likes to be the savior, the one who’s in charge or the most important one; he likes to feel needed and he’s definitely self-centered. He’s not in charge on earth so he doesn’t really care for what’s going on over there. Neither the catastrophes on earth nor his wife can keep him interested because he’s not involved. But he is true in his intentions because he thinks he truly, deeply cares for his wife as well as for the Oasans.
He is a very complex character.
Peter isn’t interested in the technical stuff, it just doesn’t sink in and so we don’t get the information either. At the start of the novel I did miss that knowledge but as the novel progressed I really appreciated the position this put Peter and us in. He goes on this amazing adventure with next to no information in general. And we’re never sure whether that’s because he didn’t get the information or whether he just wasn’t interested enough to remember or even listen to it. I loved that element.
He would most definitely not be my friend in real life because I would hate someone like him; hiding behind his religion, stuck-up, bragging about his rough past while being racist and judgmental, self-centered, ignorant and preachy.

The whole book is deeply saddening, affecting and gentle. There’s a sense of dislocation and of not belonging.
The feeling of anxiety throughout the novel never leaves; it only gets worse and worse.
It’s intriguing to read how Peter gets more and more immersed into the Oasans society and how he changes because of it.
The story could go a multitude of ways and I loved the path Faber chose.

I loved it.
I absolutely loved it.
Can I say it one more time?
I loved it.

5 STARS

Happy reading!
Helena

Perfect reviewing conditions.