Review: The Book of Strange New Things – Michel Faber.

It’s been over four months since I started The Book of Strange New Things, but I soon realised it wasn’t a book to dip in and out of when you’re in a reading funk, so I shelved it, despite enjoying what I had read so far. But, I’m glad I did.

Fast-forward to the Saltire Society Literary Awards where Michel Faber won Fiction Book of the Year, and the overall Book of the Year awards, and two speeches that just gave this whole book a much greater meaning. The speeches alone were emotive, the importance which was placed in these pages is something that would have been (partially, if not totally) missed had this been breezed through.

See, the fact it’s sci-fi isn’t even that important. Sure, there’s a potential apocalypse and alien races, but there’s so many heavy topics at play that the setting can be almost secondary in its intergalactic coordinates, to the distance and strain it represents.

A concern was that it could be dense and easy to switch off from when it got particularly heavy in scripture, but while some bits feel a bit stretched, it’s just so gripping once you’ve been hooked that these small barriers fade away. I lived for Bea’s letters as much as Peter did throughout, and I think I might just curl up and cry until 2015 is over.

It’s subtle, it’s strange, and while it’s not action packed like the term sci-fi would perhaps suggest, it’s something rather wonderful.

Canongate  Books

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