Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cathy Finds This Book Brilliant

Michel Faber's The Book of Strange New Things will surely find itself on many Best of 2014 lists. It is at once deeply profound and a page-turner. Set in the near future, the multinational corporation USIC requires a Christian missionary for its settlement on a planet billions of miles away. The man chosen for the mission, Peter Leigh, a devout Christian with a sordid past and loving and deeply supportive wife arrives on the planet Oasis to discover a group of eager native converts, hungry for the Word of God. Their Christian names are simple and to the point: Jesus Lover One, Jesus Lover Two, etc. As Peter settles in to the relative haven of Oasis, life on Earth is going to hell. Catastrophic weather events, wars and economic collapse find Peter's wife Bea in increasingly desperate straights. The impossibly wide physical, emotional and spiritual distance between them is the heartbreaking core Faber's novel. It is a love song to life and a masterpiece born from anguish. The Book of Strange New Things is as different a novel as one could imagine coming from the author of Crimson Petal and the White save for one crucial element: brilliance.


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