Nominated by:

Stockholm Public Library, Sweden

Denver Public Library, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Canongate, UK

Hogarth, USA

The Book of Strange New Things

Michel Faber    

2016 Longlist

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.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Michel Faber has written seven other books, including the highly acclaimed The Crimson Petal and the White, The Fahrenheit Twins and the Whitbread-shortlisted novel Under the Skin. He has also written two novellas, The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps and The Courage Consort, and has won several short-story awards, including the Neil Gunn, Ian St James and Macallan. Born in Holland, brought up in Australia, he lives in the Scottish Highlands.

Librarians’ Comments

While the premise of intergalactic Christian evangelism gets the story going, it’s the masterful treatment of relationships and internal struggles that Faber uses to keep readers engaged and on edge.

Once again Faber writes a novel that defies all borders of genre. This is a novel about faith, but mainly about the importance of our loved ones.

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