The Book of Strange New Things: A Novel - Michel Faber

With a beautiful title and a beautiful cover, the novel had created great expectations to live up to.


In The book of strange new things Peter has decided to go to Oasis - a newly colonized planet - as a missionary while his wife Bea stays behind in England. While he has the time of his life as his new congregation has been eagerly awaiting him, his wife's world slowly disintegrates in what seems like an apocalypse. It's basically the story of them falling apart over the length of a long novel.


When I started reading, the first 30 pages or so, I thought 'O, help, this is going to be one of those preachy books I always dislike'. Luckily for me, after he lands on Oasis, this becomes less. I mean, I don't mind the fact that Peter's faith is important for him or that he uses it as he thinks, as long as I don't feel I'm pushed into the same thoughts. However, in the end it became more and more preachy - to the point when I got annoyed with it. Not just in his letters home, but also in his thoughts, which had always been at least a little pretentious.


For some reason I really liked reading about the Oasans, I'd liked to see more of them (and preferable less of the relationship drama). They seemed to be interesting creatures, though I was wondering where they all learned to speak/understand English. Sure, the previous minister had taught them from a King James Bible, but when you don't understand any English to begin with, how do you learn?

I also wondered what their role actually was. I mean, I understand they were necessary to provide this story and I think they were the best part of it, but I don't see what problem they posed to the company that 'owned' the planet. They hardly posed a threat to the company...


Overall, interesting premise, interesting aliens, but the story felt at times preachy and too long. The ending wasn't really what I expected/hoped it to be either.


Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!