Michel Faber is Dutch by birth but grew up in the Melbourne suburbs of Boronia and Bayswater, arriving here in 1967. He majored in Old, Medieval and Modern English Literature at Melbourne University. Leaving Australia in 1992, Faber moved to the Scottish Highlands - a re-location due in part to an aversion to the Australian heat and light which caused him severe migraines. After studying English Literature and learning to read Anglo-Saxon, Faber worked variously as a nurse, a pickle-packer, a cleaner, and a volunteer subject for medical research.
Faber's novel, Under the Skin was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award 2000 and was nominated for the Dublin Impac award 2002.
'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 Petaland the White such an international success, The Book of Strange New Things is extraordinary, mesmerizing, and replete with emotional complexity and genuine pathos.' (Publication summary)