This new novel is in sharp contrast to The Crimson Petal & the White.
Peter & his wife Bea are both of the USIC faith. Soon after the novel opens, Peter reluctantly leaves Bea behind on a mission to another galaxy & planet to convert the inhabitants found there.
Upon his arrival, Peter discovers that the natives have already been convertend & have renamed the Bible The Book of Strange New Things.
His misson already completed by others, Peter becomes more and more immersed in the new culure instead of returning home; even as missives from Bea start to become more and more alarming.
At first glance, I didn't think that Faber would catch me with this plot. I'm glad I gave this a chance because this haunting novel isn't just about another world, it is a thoughtful observation of faith, love, distance and endurance.
“Peter Leigh is an evangelical Christian pastor whose mission to serve the Lord leads him into space, where he ministers to an alien race. But is he truly converting them, or is his faith leading them astray? Questions abound: Why wasn't his wife allowed to accompany him? Why is everyone in the human base camp uninterested in the catastrophes that are befalling Earth while they are light years away? Why was Peter's appointment as pastor to the aliens so urgent? Faber does a great job addressing the question of faith and its consequences. A great book group selection!”
— Susan Taylor, Market Block Books, Troy, NY
A monumental, genre-defying novel that David Mitchell calls "Michel Faber's second masterpiece," The Book of Strange New Things is a masterwork from a writer in full command of his many talents. It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter's teachings his Bible is their book of strange new things. But Peter is rattled when Bea's letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea's faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter. Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance, and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse, is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable. While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival. Their trials lay bare a profound meditation on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us. Marked by the same bravura storytelling and precise language that made The Crimson Petal and the White such an international success, The Book of Strange New Things is extraordinary, mesmerizing, and replete with emotional complexity and genuine pathos.
About the Author
MICHEL FABER is the internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed author of The Crimson Petal and the White, Under the Skin shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and several other books. Faber has won many short story awards and his writing has appeared in Granta, The O. Henry Prize Stories, among others. He lives in Scotland."
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