Book review: The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel FaberThe Book of Strange New Things: What it is about

From the publishers: “Peter Leigh is a missionary called to go on the journey of a lifetime. Leaving behind his beloved wife, Bea, he boards a flight for a remote and unfamiliar land, a place where the locals are hungry for the teachings of the Bible – his ‘book of strange new things’. It is a quest that will challenge Peter’s beliefs, his understanding of the limits of the human body and, most of all, his love for Bea.

The Book of Strange New Things is a wildly original tale of adventure, faith and the ties that might hold two people together when they are worlds apart. This momentous novel, Faber’s first since The Crimson Petal and the White, sees him at his expectation-defying best.”

The Book of Strange New Things: What I thought

This is a large book but reads so fast! It’s hard to put it down, as we need to know what happens to Peter, the missionary. His wife wasn’t allowed to come with him to Oasis, the planet far, far away. So, he goes alone. While his work with the aliens is very rewarding and positive, he gets messages from his wife suggesting that back on earth, things are falling apart.

He loves his wife very much, but is so engrossed by his life among the natives, that he finds it hard to be considerate to her. Life on Oasis is so different, he even forgets what certain things on earth are like (e.g., at some point, he can’t picture what a turkey looks like).

He is the only human who is interested in the aliens on Oasis. The others consider them freaks and not worth thinking about. But Peter is hired to evangelize them, and so he will. Although it turns out they’ve heard of Jesus already! And they’re keen to learn more. How about that? That was great fun, as was exploring the Oasians’ lives and customs together with Peter.

I loved all of this book and especially finding out what Peter would do: Will he return to earth when the time comes (or even earlier, to look after his wife)? And how does his relationship with the Oasians develop?

If this story appeals to you, don’t be held back by the size of the book. It’s irrelevant!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (very good)

Number of pages: 592

First published: 2014

I got this: from the publishers, Cannongate, for review (Netgalley, e-book)

Genre: Science fiction, space travel


About Judith
I'm owner and editor at and We edit books and articles for independent writers.

7 Responses to Book review: The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

  1. Diane says:

    Judith, this sits in “read sooner than later stack”. You make it sound very tempting. Reading a hefty tome right now: A Little Life.

  2. BookerTalk says:

    Not one for me I’m afraid – I can’t get over the hurdle of being unable to relate to things happening in alien lands.

  3. Interesting to hear it is a fast read – large book and long audio have been something I have avoided as of recent, mainly because I have a wait list of books i want to read a bout a mile long!

  4. I’m so pleased that you enjoyed this as much as I did!

  5. Pingback: The book of strange new things – Michel Faber | Lalagè leest

I love comments! Let me know what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: