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Reader reviews and comments on The Book of Strange New Things, plus links to write your own review.

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The Book of Strange New Things

A Novel

by Michel Faber

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber X
The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2014, 480 pages
    Jun 2015, 480 pages


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There are currently 39 reader reviews for The Book of Strange New Things
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Elizabeth P. (Lake Elmo, MN)

Very Interesting Read
One of the most interesting books I've ever encountered, but I alternated between loving and hating this book. It is difficult to even succinctly describe my thoughts on it! Ultimately I think this is a well written and thought provoking take on relationships, the meaning and purpose of life, and what is or isn't worth fighting for - that makes it worthy of 4 stars. On a personal level, I was dis-satisfied with several important elements (lack of resolution of certain plot points, distractions that never led anywhere) & my emotional connection with the characters was elusive. Incredibly well written, just not my style. I think this is a book for serious literature readers/serious book clubs. Not light and fluffy, and not for the lovers of best sellers. Enjoyed reading to review though - thank you!
Power Reviewer
Priscilla M. (Houston, TX)

Strange new things is an accurate description
This hefty book is less about science fiction than it is about relationships.Yes, most of the action does take place on another planet, but that is not the real focus of the book. Peter is sent to minister to the Oasans, the inhabitants of a planet being colonized ostensibly for mining and exploration. He isn't sure why he is chosen or what he is expected to do. The story is told in a slow, contemplative style, giving the reader plenty of time to discover who Peter is and what makes him tick, as well as the rest of the crew and the Oasans. We see Peter start to lose himself as he immerses in the culture of Oasis, teaching them the Bible, known to the Oasans as the Book of Strange New Things. While we can see and hear Peter's thoughts and musings, we only get to read about his wife in her almost daily letters to him. Her world is falling apart as Peter's is seeming to come together, and this is the tension on the story. I wish I could have known more about Bea, which is why I did not give the book five stars. I did enjoy it. The writing is excellent, and the reader is made to feel for the characters and the problems associated with distance, relationships, and faith. There are mysteries on the planet of Oasis, not all of which are understood or solved.
Carole A. (Denver, CO)

It was a Strange New Thing for me!
It was a strange new thing for me to actually read and enjoy science fiction/fantasy novel. My husband is an AVID science fiction devotee and so over the years I have tried on several occasions to read at least one beyond the first chapter. This was a first. Initially - first chapter - I thought "oh no", BUT Faber kept me interested and pulled me thru eagerly. I feel as though I will actually read it again and discover more. The concept of space travel and discovery of another civilization which while different from ours had their own civility coupled with the disintegration life on planet earth along with his marriage provided interesting counter plot. While I am more invested in the Old Testament I found the frequent references to the new Testament interesting. Old to New which civilizations or Bibles - there is that common thread of humanity and sameness. Bravo to Faber for a new approach. BTW - my husband is elated I read and enjoyed Science Fiction.
Sally H. (Geneva, OH)

Strangely Compelling
I don't normally read science fiction, and this book was a slow starter for me, but it improved quickly enough to keep me interested. The main character, Pastor Peter Leigh, was unlikeable (his preachy letters to his wife were particularly annoying) and unrealistic (I know a lot of pastors, most of whom have been pastors longer than Peter, and none of them know the entire Bible by memory), and wasn't much fonder of the other fact, the Oasans were my favorites. The story sucked me in, though, and I wanted to see how it turned out, so I was a little disappointed in the ending, which leaves one hanging. But it also left me thinking, both while I was reading it and after I finished it, and for me that means the author did something right.
Amy M. (Southlake, TX)

The Book of Strange New Things
I am not a Science Fiction reader, but this book was written so reader friendly that I had trouble putting it down. I loved the references to religious ideas and thought a lot about the scriptures chosen for this book. I was intrigued with the setting and became quiet fond of the Jesus Lovers, caring about what happened to them and how Peter related to them. I agree with the reviewer who so no need for the sexual scenes. I felt a little disappointed in the ending, feeling like the author ended the book too fast and left me feeling like a lot was not explored. This book was well-written and interesting to read.
Alice S. (East Haven, Ct)

Interesting Story Line
I do not usually read science fiction which is what I would categorize this book but I found this one enjoyable. It was a character study about a man who is a minister living in space meeting and teaching the Oasans the inhabitants of the planet he is sent to about the bible. The way it was written it was very matter of fact that someone could go to outer space and be accepted and comfortable in a whole different world.
Made me wonder if there are inhabitants on other planets that we don't even have any idea about.
Kim L. (Cary, IL)

Wild Ride
The cover of the book was beautiful and the story within was amazing. The story started quickly and keep me reading because I couldn't wait to see where it was going to take me. Beautifully written, with interesting characters. It was mysterious and thought provoking for me.
Katherine Y. (Albuquerque, NM)

Intriguing Combination of Religion and Science Fiction
Despite its length (nearly 500 pages), this is a quick read. The premise of the story - that a preacher would travel to a distant planet to minister to the planet's inhabitants lends itself to many interesting story lines (why would anyone go to a new planet, how does his relationship with his wife continue, what are the new planet's inhabitants like and why do they want a preacher). The only downfall of the book is that there are so many interesting aspects to the story that they don't all get explored fully and the ending feels a bit abrupt. Recommended for anyone who wants to read something that isn't like anything else they've read before. For those interested in the lives and language of the planet's inhabitants, I'd recommend "Don't Sleep There Are Snakes" by Daniel Everett, a true account of his work with the Piraha in the Amazon - a tribe that bears a remarkable resemblance to the planet's inhabitants.

Beyond the Book:
  Michel Faber

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