Under the Skin, by Michael Faber

Oh good grief. This is the most scary and brilliant of books.

UnderTheSkinCoverOh good grief. This is the most scary and brilliant of books. It had me hooked from the start.

There is something strange going on and, at the beginning, it’s impossible to put your finger on it. A woman is driving endlessly around the same area in a remote part of Scotland, looking for hitchhikers to pick up. But not just any old hitchhiker. They have to be male, well-built, sturdy, and with a bit of muscle.

It helps if they don’t have a wife or family, or if no-one is expecting them home. But she’s not that fussed about all of that.

The strangely-named Isserley has some problems to be sure, aching back after some sort of surgery, her hands hurt her, and she regrets having a very large bust. Her eyes...they’re a bit too big, too. Again, those details seem to be something that we can manage to understand. The car that she drives is fitted out with some very advanced bits of engineering.

But why? Then bang! It hits you.

I’m not going to give anything away here, as the surprise hit me quite hard, although the nagging feeling I had right from the start that all was not quite right, seemed in retrospect obvious.

We are led down various dark places in this book, and when the light finally dawns about who Isserely is, it is quite, quite shocking. The book has been made into a film, starring Scarlett Johansson, and I can’t wait to see it.