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Under The Sun

Michel Faber

Average Review Rating Average Rating 6/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Canongate Books Ltd

Published : 2000

Copyright : Michel Faber 2000

ISBN-10 : PB 0-86241-927-1
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-86241-927-1

Publisher's Write-Up

A first novel that defies categorisation, Under the Sun meets all the expectations raised by Michel Faber's first collection, Some Rain Must Fall. It centres around a female character, Isserley, who seems to be obsessed with picking up male hitchhikers - just as long as they are well muscled and alone...

Macabre, beautifully written, totally entertaining and ultimately deeply affecting, Under the Sun is a quite brilliant debut novel.

Book Club Write-Up


There's something odd about Isserley, something in the way her skin seems not quite right and her eyes are altogether too large. She spends her days cruising the highways of Scotland, looking out for lone, male hitchhikers When she finds a worthy specimen, she offers him a lift, and if he meets the grade she presses a switch to inject a strong tranquilliser into him. What happens to her luckless hitchers is gruesome but she's fiercely dedicated to her job - after all, that's why she is on earth.

This is a macabre, beautifully written and ultimately deeply affecting tale of Isserley, an alien - surgically altered to look human - who tries to cope as an employee of an off-world corporation that runs a quiet Scottish farm exporting only Earth's finest cuts of meat.

'Profound and disturbing . . . Faber writes superbly.'

Sunday Times

'The real triumph is Faber's restrained, almost opaque prose. This is a man who could give Conrad a run at writing the perfect sentence.'


'A wonderful book - painful, lyrical, frightening, brilliant . . . I couldn't put it down.'

Kate Atkinson

'Under the Skin is a shocking and fantastical take on modern humanity.'

The Week

'It is audacious, fascinating, repellent and quite unlike anything I have ever read.'

Mail on Sunday
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Reader Reviews

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Review by Nigel (250400) Rating (6/10)

Review by Nigel
Rating 6/10
Debut novel by Michel Faber although he has written a number of short stories before.

I hadn't heard anything about this author or his book, other than what I read on the dust jacket and in the book club review (see adjacent). It sounded very interesting and always being on the lookout for new talent :) I gave it a go.

The story revolves around a central female character, Isserley, and the day to day grind of her unusual profession. It is very well written and a good read although you tend to get drawn to some of the other characters in the book who then don't last more than a page or two.

In the end I was slightly disappointed in that although Isserley's circumstances are 'odd' she is no different to anyone else and life is really just a beach. (I suspect this is the whole point of the novel but I already know this and I read to be happy, not sad:)

All-in-all a good first novel and I will certainly be buying the next (I bought The Wasp Factory when it was first published and STILL bought more Banks!)
Nigel (25th April 2000)

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