Under the Skin and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
CDN$ 14.40
  • List Price: CDN$ 19.95
  • You Save: CDN$ 5.55 (28%)
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Under The Skin Paperback – Sep 16 2004


See all 20 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
CDN$ 14.40
CDN$ 14.40 CDN$ 16.93

Best Canadian Books of 2014
Margaret Atwood's stunning new collection of stories, Stone Mattress, is our #1 Canadian pick for 2014. See all

Frequently Bought Together

Under The Skin + Crimson Petal And The White + The Book Of Strange New Things
Price For All Three: CDN$ 50.77


Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought



Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Canada (Sept. 16 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006393721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006393726
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 20.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 259 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #18,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

In the opening pages of Under the Skin, a lone female is scouting the Scottish Highlands in search of well-proportioned men: "Isserley always drove straight past a hitch-hiker when she first saw him, to give herself time to size him up. She was looking for big muscles: a hunk on legs. Puny, scrawny specimens were no use to her." At this point, the reader might be forgiven for anticipating some run-of-the-mill psychosexual drama. But commonplace expectation is no help when it comes to Michel Faber's strange and unsettling first novel; small details, then major clues, suggest that something deeply bizarre is afoot. What are the reasons for Isserley's extensive surgical scarring, her thick glasses, her excruciating backache? Who are the solitary few who work on the farm where her cottage is located? And why are they all nervous about the arrival of someone called Amlis Vess?

The ensuing narrative is of such cumulative, compelling strangeness that it almost defies description. The one thing that can be said with certainty is that Under the Skin is unlike anything else you have ever read. Faber's control of his medium is nearly flawless. Applying the rules of psychological realism to a fictional world that is both terrifying and unearthly, he nonetheless compels the reader's absolute identification with Isserley. Not even the author's fine short-story collection, Some Rain Must Fall, prepared us for such mastery. Under the Skin is ultimately a reviewer's nightmare and a reader's dream: a book so distinctive, so elegantly written, and so original that one can only urge everybody in earshot to experience it, and soon. --Burhan Tufail --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

A strange woman named Isserley roams the Scottish Highlands in search of juicy, well-muscled hitchhikers in Faber's menacing but unfulfilling debut novel (after Some Rain Must Fall, a collection of short stories). The opening chapters are suffused with an almost palpable sense of dread: Isserley picks up one hitchhiker after another and engages them in conversation, measuring them against a set of criteria of which the reader, as yet, is unaware. Some of the men are discarded and some are kept; in the process the reader learns that Isserley herself is oddly shaped, with breasts too large, legs too short, and scars everywhere. Faber's pacing here is masterful, with clues precisely dropped and details ominously described. But once Faber reveals the reason Isserley is collecting the hitchhikers (and it's truly bizarre), the book turns from horror to allegory and begins to run out of steam. The central conceit of the allegory is repugnant, but also unimpressive; it feels like something animal rights extremists might have cooked up after watching Soylent Green. Faber possesses an undeniable gift for grotesque imagery ("He grinned so broadly it was like an incision slicing his head in two"), but his unsettling prose doesn't adequately flesh out the underdeveloped premise of the story. Still, the Dutch-born and Australian-raised Faber is a strange and promising new talent, and his next novel might better use the macabre skills he so unnervingly displays here. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER on March 13 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderfully inventive novel that is strangely compelling. It cuts across many genres, as it certainly qualifies as literary fiction, horror, satire, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy. It is extraordinarily riveting in its telling, propelled by a narrative that is all at once creepy, faintly sinister and macabre, as well as, at times, poignant. Beautifully written in clear, spare prose, this stunning novel grips the reader until the last page is turned.

The main protagonist, Isserley, cruises the highways of the Scottish countryside in her specially equipped compact car looking for beefcake. On the prowl for muscular, well-built, healthy men who are hitchhiking, rolling stones with little or no ties to family, friends, and community, she picks them up and gets their life's story before she makes a momentous decision that will forever alter their lives.

These unsuspecting men take note of Isserley for a number of reasons. After all, she is a tiny snippet of a being, strangely erotic, with very large, beautiful and luminous eyes, hidden behind coke bottle thick glasses. She has a small heart-shaped, puffy-cheeked, virtually chinless face, dotted with a tiny nose and lush lips. Her arms are long and thin with knobby elbows and wrists from which large scarred hands flow. Of course, her large breasts are extraordinary and ripe in her always low cut top. It is those perfect protuberances that helps her to ensnare her prey.

Who Isserley is and what Isserley does with her prey is at the heart of this book, which is one that should not be missed by those who enjoy unusual, slightly twisted novels.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tokyo Joe on Feb. 5 2011
Format: Paperback
The intrigue at the start of Michel Faber's debut quickly draws the reader in: Isserley, an enigmatic young woman, combs the Scottish Highlands picking up muscular, male hitchhikers for reasons unknown. When Isserley's intentions are first revealed as possibly sinister, the reader is going nowhere; the need to know more is too strong.

The way in which Faber builds this intrigue is commendable, treating his reader with great respect by never spoon-feeding. The reader learns through observation, and takes a dark back seat to watch the action unfold.

When finally the horror of it all is exposed, the story changes direction, and becomes something very different. A moral question begins to dig itself out of the ground, and the reader is forgiven for thinking they can see the true story, but Faber again changes tack, and adds a spiritual and philosophical slant to the dénouement. These turns give the novel a literary quality, and no doubt contributed to the short-listing for the Whitbread Prize.

Isserley is understandably sterile, her lack of compassion essential for her `job', and it's refreshing to invest in a character that is not altogether sympathetic. But despite her professional apathy, her inner conflict does elicit empathy, and gives the novel a sharp edge that could otherwise have been dulled by a less brave writer.

But for all this, Under the Skin falls a wee bit short.

The quality of the prose is good in parts, but the excessive use of clichés and adverbs betrays Faber as unseasoned. His handling of dialogue particularly flaws the work, with every spoken word needing adverbial clarification of some description.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Format: Paperback
Isserley travels a country road through the Scottish highlands daily, looking for a certain type of hitchhiker - big, fit, healthy, and male. Isserly herself is a small woman of indeterminate origin, slightly strange-looking but also strangely attractive. Of each man she picks up, she wonders: will he be missed?
That is all you need to know - all you should know - of the story. It is full of surprises, from the first sharp shock about twenty pages in, until literally the very last page. Faber skillfully places hints - an unfamiliar word here, an incongruous physical description there - without the reader even being aware that it is happening until later, when more is revealed. The gradual build of information grips the reader like nothing else. Suffice it to say the story is about a woman with a job to do, and what happens when her faith in her profession is shaken. It is also about humanity's place in the scheme of things.
Leave your expectations at the door..or enjoy watching them crumble.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Format: Paperback
Isserley drives for a living. She motors along Scotland's A9 and looks for male hitchhikers - buff, hunky males, the bigger the better. If a man meets her standards, she takes them on the ride of their lives...destination unknown. Isserley is tiny, though well developed where it counts. She is shy, introverted and scarred - inside and out.
"Under The Skin" is a chilling, bizarre, and erotically charged novel that explores how we view humanity, other races and species. Michel Faber almost forces the reader to observe how we, as human beings and caretakers of the earth, protect our environment and each other. This psychological thriller is at times macabre and gruesome, occasionally humorous with its satirical take on mankind, and often very sad. It is difficult not to empathize with Isserley's moral dilemma, yet how can we not condemn her? It is impossible to judge and we are not asked to here.
Mr. Faber's demonstrates his seemingly boundless imagination with this, his debut novel. If you allow him, he will take you to places you've never been to before in the world of fiction. Faber's plot and characters are some of the most original I have encountered in a long time. He weaves his compelling tale with a tightly written, elegant narrative and superb dialogue. He also created a language for the book that reminds me of the "Nadsat" language in "A Clockwork Orange." I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Faber's "The Crimson Petal And The White" and, wanting to read more by the author, picked up "Under The Skin." The two novels are as unalike as two works of fiction can be, although both are clearly written by the same extremely talented author. If you are looking for a totally unique reading experience, this is it! I doubt very much that you will be disappointed.
JANA
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

Most recent customer reviews


Look for similar items by category


Feedback