Slow and Meditative: The Book of Strange New Things

The Book of Strange New ThingsThe Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

Peter Leigh is a missionary about to leave his wife Bea here on earth and travel to Oasis, a distant planet to minister the native population. The Oasans are a devout group of recently converted Christians who want to learn about the Bible, The Book of Strange New Things. The journey will challenge Peter’s beliefs and character but is there a higher purpose for him being sent to Oasis?

First Impressions: Slow. Very slow.

Highlights: I liked reading about the Oasans and wanted Peter to integrate further into the society and develop his relationship further with Jesus Lover 5, just as I wanted to learn more about his predecessor. I found the company who sent Peter to Oasis intriguing with their purpose and selection of staff. I really wanted to read more of this too.

If I was an editor: I would lament how I just kept waiting for something to happen, some kind of revelation to turn the story on its head… but what you see is what you get for all 592 pages. The bulk of the story comprises long missives between Peter and his wife Bea discussing their love which is entwined in religious beliefs and this just wasn’t for me. I can certainly see the tenderness and great love story that mirrors Faber’s heartbreaking farewell to his wife but as fiction I just don’t enjoy this sort of thing. Also, I didn’t think the catastrophes on Earth that Bea writes about are necessarily as convincing as they could be, particularly when compared to other recently published dystopian stories such as The Ark.

Overall: Kept coming close to the verge of genuine intrigue…

The Book of Strange New Things: 3 stars

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7 thoughts on “Slow and Meditative: The Book of Strange New Things

  1. Don’t think this one’s for me – tend to avoid anything remotely sci-fiction. I know there’d doubtless books I’d love but my TBR’s bad enough without bringing new genres into the mix!

    • I’d like to read some SF just for something different but like you just don’t have the time for something I don’t know how much I’d enjoy. I have seen Vintage SF January advertised so you never know, I just may read an Asimov novel!

  2. Hmmm. I had been very interested by this book but your review is quite offputting. I hate lengthy theological ponderings.

    • I have only read fantastic reviews for this novel so perhaps my expectations were too high but I was disappointed that the plot on the distant planet was only secondary to the story. If you do get your hands on a copy I think you’d enjoy having a look but it is slow.

  3. Pingback: Leave Assumptions Behind: Heat and Light | Orange Pekoe Reviews

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