Under the Skin
By Michel Faber
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151006267, 320pp.)
Publication Date: July 2000
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Isserley picks up hitchhikers with big muscles. She, herself, is tiny-like a kid peering up over the steering wheel. She has a remarkable face and wears the thickest corrective lenses anyone has ever seen. Her posture is suggestive of some spinal problem. Her breasts are perfect; perhaps implants. She is strangely erotic yet somehow grotesque, vulnerable yet threatening. Her hitchhikers are a mixed bunch of men-trailer trash and travelling postgrads, thugs and philosophers. But Isserley is only interested in whether they have families and whether they have muscles. Then, it's only a question of how long she can endure her pain-physical and spiritual-and their conversation. Michel Faber's work has been described as a combination of Roald Dahl and Franz Kafka, as Somerset Maugham shacking up with Ian McEwan. At once humane and horrifying, Under the Skin takes us on a heart-thumping ride through dangerous territory-our own moral instincts and the boundaries of compassion. A grotesque and comical allegory announcing the arrival of an exciting talent, rich and assured.
Michel Faber's work has been published in twenty countries and received several literary awards. He lives in Scotland.