Sunday, October 31, 2010

Under The Skin

Tonight, appropriately enough, I finished my 2010 Halloween Selection.
<-- Under The Skin.
By Michel Faber. [Published in 2000 by Harcourt].
I always try and read an eerie or creepy book to coincide with the night of chills and spookiness, and this one was NOT disappointing at all. It was a terrific book, and probably one of the strangest novels I have read in a long while.
I got my copy from the Library. Can you see the little sticker at the bottom of the spine? It is a face in aghast pose, hair standing on end, and the genre designation is "Horror".
Typically, this is not my type of book, but I had read Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White and so I knew that the man can write. Hearing that this one was "creepy as the first third of Psycho" [Booklist] I thought I'd give it a shot.
It was a real page-turner.
Michel Faber lets the reader into the story on a very gradual basis… we are continually learning more and more about what is really going on, right up until the very end. I was telling my co-workers about the book as I went along on the first day, just a couple of chapters in. I described the scenario, but I myself was unsure as to what exactly was going on.
The protagonist, a "woman" named Isserley [read the book to find out why I have the word woman within quotation marks] picks up hunky male hitch-hikers ["hitchers"] along a stretch of Scottish highway, anesthetizes them while still driving along, and then -- umm -- takes them [unconscious] to the secluded Ablach Farm, where she lives.
See, I was describing this to my co-workers [first day] and they had many questions that I myself could not answer. Questions like, "What happens to these guys?"
On the second day [I am a painfully slow reader] I knew more information but it was still quite sketchy, and the thing is, my co-workers wanted answers. I knew a bit more, but still, it was like shining a flashlight on a cave wall -- you can only see so much at any given moment, the big picture is darkness.
Now, on the weekend, I have devoured the rest of the book and I want to recommend the thing to all who will read my blog… if you like a suspenseful, thought-provoking -- and yes, creepily disturbing read -- Under The Skin is a book I think you should get your hands on.
It blends elements of science fiction / horror / thriller -- and presents a riveting story in a package that is true literature, in the sense of relevant, important, timeless.
I can't wait until tomorrow when I can finally answer all of the questions I was asked about the mysterious elements of the story.


Stefanie said...

Is it good creepy or is it nightmare scary?

Cipriano said...

Stefanie -- this is a real good question. I would have to say that it is not so much "nightmare" creepy, no -- the events of the tale are so outlandish that one need not fear them ever happening, for instance -- but the method of the madness is very real time / real world.
I guess I'm going to say that the book is kind of "gory" creepy more than anything..... in a good way! And by good I mean, well-written.

Anonymous said...

Ok, hang on here. I HATE gory.
You just convinced me not to read the thing.
I like creepy and am always looking for something that's good enough to creep me out without being gory and disgusting. This doesn't sound like my cup of iced-cap.

Cipriano said...

Yes -- I'm afraid there is [how else to say it]...... some serious goriness in it. It's not at all creepy in a "spooky" sense, no -- it is creepy in a gory sense.
Like........ like the "Saw" series of movies.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm out.
Thanks for the warning.