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This title in other editions

The Book of Strange New Things

by

The Book of Strange New Things Cover

ISBN13: 9780553418842
ISBN10: 055341884x
All Product Details

 


New Favorite

Staff Pick

An emotionally atmospheric achievement, I felt as though the author was holding my hand through the entire book. Not only are all of the characters believable, but there is a hopefulness which, despite how fragile and volatile the situations are, threads its way through to the very end.
Recommended by Aubrey, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A monumental, genre-defying novel that David Mitchell calls "Michel Faber’s second masterpiece," The Book of Strange New Things is a masterwork from a writer in full command of his many talents.

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.

Marked by the same bravura storytelling and precise language that made The Crimson Petal and the White such an international success, The Book of Strange New Things is extraordinary, mesmerizing, and replete with emotional complexity and genuine pathos.

Review:

"Faber's (The Crimson Petal and the White) novel could at first be mistaken for another period piece, as a Christian missionary named Peter bids farewell to his devoted wife, Beatrice, and departs on a mission in foreign lands. Only gradually does the reader discover that the book is set in the far future, where half of what survives is owned by a shadowy company called USIC and that it is not the inhabitants of a mere continent whose souls Peter aims to save, but those of a whole new planet, known as Oasis. He finds willing converts in the alien Oasans — they are eager to learn each new lesson from the Bible, which they call The Book of Strange New Things — but his relations with his fellow human colonists are far rockier. What's worse, Beatrice writes to Peter with grim reports of life back on Earth, where a series of calamities seems to signal the coming apocalypse; more devastating is her confession that she is pregnant with their child in an environment suddenly less hospitable to life than Oasis. Peter will come to question both the finer points of Scripture and his faith as he chooses between the old world and the new. Faber's story isn't eventful enough to support its length, and Beatice and Peter's correspondence grows tiresome. But the book wears its strong premise and mixture of Biblical and SF tropes extremely well." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

“[A] masterpiece” Cosmopolitan

Review:

“Spellbinding, heartbreaking and mind-bending....This is very much a book that rewards re-reading; its subtle echoes and wisps of allusion reverberate across the text....The Book Of Strange New Things is Faber’s strongest, most plangent and most intellectually gleeful novel. It is affecting as much as it is challenging....Bold, brave, brilliant....It’s also, by the way, the most wonderful love story.” Scottish Review of Books

Review:

“Brilliant, and disquieting....Faber’s novel is entirely true to itself and wonderfully original. It makes a fine update to Walter M. Miller Jr.’s Canticle for Leibowitz, with some Marilynne Robinson-like homespun theology thrown in for good measure....A profoundly religious exploration of inner turmoil.” Kirkus (starred review)

Review:

“A marvelously creative and intricate novel, thought-provoking and arresting.” Booklist

Review:

The Book of Strange New Things is Michel Faber’s second masterpiece, every bit as luminescent and memorable as The Crimson Petal and the White. It is a portrait of a living, breathing relationship, frayed by distance; it’s an enquiry into the mountains faith can move and the mountains faith can’t move. It is maniacally gripping and vibrant with wit. I didn’t so much read The Book of Strange New Things as inhabit it.” David Mitchell

Review:

“Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things certainly lives up to its title. Faber, as he showed in Under the Skin, does strangeness brilliantly. I can’t remember being so continually and unfailingly surprised by any book for a long time, and part of the surprise is the tenderness and delicacy with which he shows an emotional relationship developing in one direction while withering in another. I found it completely compelling and believable, and admired it enormously.” Philip Pullman

Review:

"At the heart of The Book of Strange New Things is one question: Whom — or what — do you love, and what are you willing to do for that love (or not willing)? The result is a novel of marvel and wonderment with a narrative engine like a locomotive." Yann Martel

Review:

“Weird and disturbing, like any work of genius, this novel haunted me for the seven nights I spent reading it, and haunts me still. A story of faith that will mesmerize believers and non-believers alike, a story of love in the face of the Apocalypse, a story of humanity set in an alien world — The Book of Strange New Things is desperately beautiful, sad, and unforgettable.” David Benioff

About the Author

MICHEL FABER is the internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed author of The Crimson Petal and the White, Under the Skin — shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award — and several other books. Faber has won many short story awards and his writing has appeared in Granta, The O. Henry Prize Stories, among others. He lives in Scotland.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Ryan DeJonghe, October 28, 2014 (view all comments by Ryan DeJonghe)
Reading THE BOOK OF STRANGE NEW THINGS is like eating finely seasoned roast beef between two pieces of Wonder bread. As one would not mix gourmet with consumer brand, so authors should not allow delectable ideas with forgettable words. The author’s material is built upon an exceptional idea--perfect fodder for numerous literary awards. The key piece being: unique. However, this powerhouse of thought does not have the structure to support its efforts.

What I love: a missionary taking the Bible to an alien race, and leaving his wife on earth. I’ve read several Bible missionary books and they all take their wives along. To split the couple, not just by continent, but by orbits, is a daring risk that’s full of potential. To have an alien race embrace words of the Bible is refreshing and interesting. Add in a futuristic earth with all of its problems, both political and personal, and the whole thing is nearly perfect. But then…

What I loathe: the writing style and characters. Michel Faber is a talented writer; I’m not sure why he took such a casual approach here. The conversations and inner-character thought dialogues are the most troubling; the words try too hard to be everyday man, laid back. The writing is not tight, nor does it seek constant answers to the deep questions. The structure of the plot begs these questions to be asked. It is like playing a volleyball game with a perfect set and a spike that lobs softly over.

The characters are questionable from the get-go. The relationship between the husband and wife is not believable, nor is their love for their cat. Bizarre, really. As a former evangelical minister myself, the missionary’s relationship with God and the Bible reeks of fiction.

Is the novel redeemable? Absolutely. The ideas and context will stir in your mind for days. You’ll ask yourself questions about current culture, politics, religion, and treatment of others. Chances are, you’ll wonder at the newness of things taken for granted. It’s a lovely premise that’s worthy to read, despite the lightweight writing style to support it all.

I want to thank Crown and Random House for providing an electronic review copy of this book to review.


Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Karen Rush, September 23, 2014 (view all comments by Karen Rush)
Because it was 10 years in the making, this novel piqued my interest. I don’t normally commit to books with over 500 pages, and so was hoping it would deliver. It did! Not normally a Sci-Fi fan either, I was glued to my chair through most of the book and became interested in its characters early on, even those on the peripheral. The story begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, who is sent on a mission of a lifetime, one that takes him to a galaxy far away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes fully invested in his new world but Bea’s world back home is falling apart. The letters being written back and forth between the two were some of the best moments of the story. Their relationship strains, life moves on, they become different people. Can their love and faith endure? I couldn’t wait to discover what happens next in each of their worlds. The supporting characters are included just enough to spice up the story without muddling it. This is a thought-provoking novel and could easily spin off a subsequent novel; am hopeful that it will.
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View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780553418842
Author:
Faber, Michel
Publisher:
Hogarth
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:
20141028
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
512
Dimensions:
9.52 x 6.61 x 1.5 in 1.9 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » New Favorites » Fiction
Featured Titles » Staff Favorites
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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » New Arrivals
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Adventure
Metaphysics » Fiction

The Book of Strange New Things Sale Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$19.60 In Stock
Product details 512 pages Hogarth - English 9780553418842 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

An emotionally atmospheric achievement, I felt as though the author was holding my hand through the entire book. Not only are all of the characters believable, but there is a hopefulness which, despite how fragile and volatile the situations are, threads its way through to the very end.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Faber's (The Crimson Petal and the White) novel could at first be mistaken for another period piece, as a Christian missionary named Peter bids farewell to his devoted wife, Beatrice, and departs on a mission in foreign lands. Only gradually does the reader discover that the book is set in the far future, where half of what survives is owned by a shadowy company called USIC and that it is not the inhabitants of a mere continent whose souls Peter aims to save, but those of a whole new planet, known as Oasis. He finds willing converts in the alien Oasans — they are eager to learn each new lesson from the Bible, which they call The Book of Strange New Things — but his relations with his fellow human colonists are far rockier. What's worse, Beatrice writes to Peter with grim reports of life back on Earth, where a series of calamities seems to signal the coming apocalypse; more devastating is her confession that she is pregnant with their child in an environment suddenly less hospitable to life than Oasis. Peter will come to question both the finer points of Scripture and his faith as he chooses between the old world and the new. Faber's story isn't eventful enough to support its length, and Beatice and Peter's correspondence grows tiresome. But the book wears its strong premise and mixture of Biblical and SF tropes extremely well." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , “[A] masterpiece”
"Review" by , “Spellbinding, heartbreaking and mind-bending....This is very much a book that rewards re-reading; its subtle echoes and wisps of allusion reverberate across the text....The Book Of Strange New Things is Faber’s strongest, most plangent and most intellectually gleeful novel. It is affecting as much as it is challenging....Bold, brave, brilliant....It’s also, by the way, the most wonderful love story.”
"Review" by , “Brilliant, and disquieting....Faber’s novel is entirely true to itself and wonderfully original. It makes a fine update to Walter M. Miller Jr.’s Canticle for Leibowitz, with some Marilynne Robinson-like homespun theology thrown in for good measure....A profoundly religious exploration of inner turmoil.”
"Review" by , “A marvelously creative and intricate novel, thought-provoking and arresting.”
"Review" by , The Book of Strange New Things is Michel Faber’s second masterpiece, every bit as luminescent and memorable as The Crimson Petal and the White. It is a portrait of a living, breathing relationship, frayed by distance; it’s an enquiry into the mountains faith can move and the mountains faith can’t move. It is maniacally gripping and vibrant with wit. I didn’t so much read The Book of Strange New Things as inhabit it.”
"Review" by , “Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things certainly lives up to its title. Faber, as he showed in Under the Skin, does strangeness brilliantly. I can’t remember being so continually and unfailingly surprised by any book for a long time, and part of the surprise is the tenderness and delicacy with which he shows an emotional relationship developing in one direction while withering in another. I found it completely compelling and believable, and admired it enormously.”
"Review" by , "At the heart of The Book of Strange New Things is one question: Whom — or what — do you love, and what are you willing to do for that love (or not willing)? The result is a novel of marvel and wonderment with a narrative engine like a locomotive."
"Review" by , “Weird and disturbing, like any work of genius, this novel haunted me for the seven nights I spent reading it, and haunts me still. A story of faith that will mesmerize believers and non-believers alike, a story of love in the face of the Apocalypse, a story of humanity set in an alien world — The Book of Strange New Things is desperately beautiful, sad, and unforgettable.”
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