I picked up Under the Skin by Michel Faber because I saw a mention that there was a movie coming out with the same name. With Scarlett Johansson no less. Something to do with hitchhikers and hidden cameras and people not knowing who Scarlett Johansson is. Something like that. Details were fuzzy. Actually, if you watch the trailer at the end of the review, the details aren’t any clearer.
Reading this book is like being thrown into a lake in the middle of the night. It’s cold, and you have no idea what just happened and how you got here. You’re thrown in the middle of some complex going-ons where the main character, Isserley, is driving around Scotland picking up male hitchhikers. There are oblique references to “The Farm” and Isserley’s past that leaves the reader curious. What exactly is going on?
Pages go by and the reader just knows that is doing this as her job. And she volunteered for it, requiring massive reconstructive surgery, in order to get out from the hell she was living. The details are only hinted at, and I’m sure Faber could write a whole other book just going into Isserley’s past.
So why should you read this? If you like not knowing what’s around the next turn. If you liked the X-Files before they explained everything. If you want to read something that isn’t going to give you nightmares, but make your dreams quite disturbing. And, of course, you should read it before you see the movie.
Kelly O’Dowd is the Book Editor (as well as one of the Copy Editors). She can be read on the weekly Singles Party column, as well as various book reviews and articles. She currently spends way too much money on books, but she assumes that’s what her English degree from Hartwick College entitles her to do. Her current obsession is vanilla coconut milk from Trader Joe’s. She lives on the internet at spoerk.blogspot.com, anotherstepaway.tumblr.com, goodreads.com/spoerk, librarything.com/spoerk, and on twitter at @kellysquared.