Book Review: Under the Skin by Michael Faber

4/5 Stars.

Isserley cruises the Scottish Highlands picking up hitchhikers. She knows exactly what she’s looking for: fit, healthy men living on the fringes of society—possibly estranged from their families, possibly homeless; the type of men who won’t be missed should they suddenly disappear.

She’s badly scarred and wears thick glasses, yet she’s strangely erotic and alluring. She’s awkward in conversation and has an unidentifiable accent. As she makes small talk with the hitchhikers, it quickly becomes clear that there’s something off about her. Who is she, and why is she doing this?

Under the Skin is a grotesque, disturbing, surreal, and unusual novel that bends genres. Equal parts satire and allegory, speculative fiction and horror, it raises thought-provoking moral questions about speciesism, classism and sexism, challenging us to reevaluate what it means to be human.

This is a truly original, fascinating novel. It suffers a bit at first from the repetitive nature of the plot (i.e. Isserley on the road picking up one hitchhiker after another), but ultimately evolves into a compelling story.

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