The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
This month finds the Book Talk panel reading and discussing The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber. Faber's first book in fourteen years is a tale of adventure, faith and the ties that might hold two people together when they are worlds apart.
Peter Leigh is a husband, a Christian, and now a missionary. As The Book of Strange New Things opens, he is set to embark on a journey that will be the biggest test of his faith yet. From the moment he says goodbye to his wife, Bea, and boards his flight, he begins a quest that will challenge his religious beliefs, his love and his understanding of the limits of the human body.
Sasha de Buyl is joined by Writer Development Coordinator for Scottish Book Trust, Claire Marchant-Collier, and Marketing Manager of Glasgow Film (and former host of Book Talk), Paul Gallagher.
Despite creating a strong character whose faith plays a major part in the story, and regularly referencing the Bible (the hardback edition of the book even looks like a copy), Faber is himself an atheist. Do the author's personal beliefs cause him to stereotype his characters or their faith?
Peter and his wife describe their feelings for each other and their predicaments through a series of letters - is it a realistic portrayal of a long-distance relationship?
Colonialism and the motives of a new alien race are also central to the novel, with Faber developing a new language that Peter, and the book's readers, are introduced to. How successful was Faber in bringing this new culture to life?
If you're reading, or have read, the book, what did you think? How does this novel compare to Faber's previous work? Was it successful as science fiction? You can join the discussion in the comments below, or on Twitter @scottishbktrust or on Facebook.
Competition: Win a special advance review copy of The Book of Strange New Things
Thanks to Canongate, we have a very special prize to offer you: a beautiful advance review copy of The Book of Strange New Things.
The book is completely white with gild finish to the pages, and a golden ribbon marker - much like a Bible, in fact.
All you have to do to enter is answer this simple question in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org marked 'Michel Faber Competition':
- Which Michel Faber novel was recently adapted into a film starring Scarlett Johansson?
Closing date: 17:00, Monday 17 November 2014. Open to UK entrants only. Full terms and conditions.
Listen to the Book Talk panel's take on Faber's previous novel, Under the Skin.
Follow Paul Gallagher on Twitter.
Book Talk is produced by Colin Fraser of Culture Laser Productions.