Michael Faber – The Book of Strange New Things

Peter Leigh has been selected, chosen to go on a trip to another galaxy and to explore the beings there. For the missionary this is not only a very interesting expedition, but also a way to earn money of which he and his wife are in desperate need. Bea remains at home and takes care of their cat Joshua while Peter is on his trip with USIC, a rather odd and ominous company. Yet, after he has settled in his new environment and got used to strange things like greenish water, Peter soon finds out that there is some exploration to be done and when he encounters for the first time the friendly native people, he is fully encompassed in this new world – while in the old world, things slowly fall apart.

“The Book of Strange New Things” is a very peculiar story which cleverly crosses genre types and again and again can surprise you. The protagonist Peter – a well chosen name for a Christian missionary with a mission – is a lovable character, albeit a bit naive. Yet, maybe this is the reason why he can easily get in touch with the indigenous population and enquire them without prejudice. Through his child-like eyes we can get to know this weird culture which Faber has fully developed (although I could have done without the part of the dying mother). Apart from this, the second interesting story line is Peter and Bea’s relationship which suffers from the separation and what Bea has to endure at home. Faber surely put a big effort in designing the strange new world, yet, what he makes of the old planet earth is also very remarkable, especially since this is not far-fetched and unrealistic but all to believable. There was just one single aspect which makes me award four and not five stars: the book, especially towards the end became a bit foreseeable and repetitive, I had some difficulties sticking with the story, a bit less would have been perfect here. 
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