Today I am reviewing The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber. The premise of the book is that a Christian missionary, Peter, goes into the mission field without his wife. Obviously there is more to it than that, but that is the basic premise of the story. I thought it would be right up my alley, being that the book is about a missionary and My husband and I are leaving for our own mission field in just a few weeks.
Chapter one left me confused and uncomfortable. About a third of the first chapter contains a far too detailed account of their last time making love. I understand the concept and would feel the same needs if my husband was going into a dangerous mission field only to leave me behind. However, to start the book with such an account and in such detail, before even having an understanding of the story or the characters especially, really put me off the book. I was ready to close it right there, but for the sake of giving a fair review I skimmed to the end of the unseemly portion and onto the airport/leaving scene.
The problem is that it just didn't get better. Peter is going to be a missionary in space, not the craziest thing I've read about, but kind of weird. His entire journey is riddled with foul language and sexual innuendo from the other passengers. Then he arrived and began to think about the needs that could not be met with his wife worlds away...Then I put the book down. I am simply not willing to wade through hours of reading to get to the heart of the story, if there is one.
The book is harsh. In some books the words flow together like fluid speech. This one felt forced. Our missionary in the story is from England so it is entirely possible that the author is as well, but the American characters simply do not sounds like any Americans I have ever met or even seen on TV. I was really intrigued by the concept of this book. I couldn't even make it through 3 chapters because it just felt wrong reading it.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.