Thursday, April 5, 2007

Under the Skin!

I've read Michel Faber's Under the Skin about four times now. I'm not entirely sure why I find this novel so compelling--don't get me wrong--it's an excellent book, extremely well written, with terrific plotting. But those things alone are not always enough to keep me coming back for more. But for some reason this book has got me.

I rarely reread books, but when I do, I find that if they are worth reading twice, they are worth reading a hundred times. I think I've read Lonesome Dove about six times; Lord of the Rings about twelve times (and I don't even like the book that much so I don't know why I keep going back), and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn maybe twenty times--once a year for that long. When you really love a book, re-reading it is like meeting an old friend. Comfortable.

Anyway, back to Under the Skin.

I don't want to be a Spoilerette, so I won't say too much about the plot, except that it concerns a young lady named Isserley, who drives around northern Scotland picking up hitch-hikers.

Pick up the book if you want to know more.

Oh, and if you go to Amazon to buy, don't read any of the reviews. Some people are not as careful as moi when it comes to trying not to Spoil, and you will enjoy the book more if you let the author lead you along. (I think I should start a movement: Authors Against Spoilers!)

I also note that Under the Skin is NOTHING at all like Sieur Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White, which is best described as a post-modern Victorian melodrama. I liked that one, as well, but have found Under the Skin more compelling.


Unknown said...

Oh goody. I'll check it out. As you know, I'm susceptible to getting hooked on stories without being able to explain why in an intelligible fashion. Your stories, for instance (although I suppose if pressed I could point to how delectably well written and imagined they are). Since I AM an avid re-reader (it helps not to own a TV; I do book reruns instead), every time I do it I pick up something new. I'm ashamed to admit how much I missed on my first trip through Flora, for example, but happily this just made it all the more fun the second and third times. It's got a stay-fresh quality you could patent. Here's a query for you: If you were to die in the midst of reading a book, which one would you choose? I was thinking about this last night when I was editing one of mine: thinking how my greatest pleasure in life is to read and write; therefore if my goal is to "die happy" it follows that I'd want to shuffle off in the midst of an orgy of perfect prose. I'm not sure which I'd choose. I'm mighty fond of In Pursuit of Love. But then there's also The Dispossessed, Darkchild, Wuthering Heights, Far From the Madding Crowd and Catch 22. Guess I'll just have to die more than once!

Ysabeau Wilce said...

Hum. That's a hard question. I'm not sure I'd want to die in the middle of any of my favorite books--I think if I had to pick the perfect moment to make my quietus it would be a perfect meal--you know, in the middle of a bite of Cafe Lula's chocolate banana bread pudding (sigh!), or perhaps chewing on an exquisite piece of hamachi. No Heimlich for me! If I did have to die in the middle of a book, I'd rather it be something that I didn't care how it ended. Something by Micheal Crichton perhaps, or Henry James.