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Book reviews for "Faber,_Michel" sorted by average review score:

Some Rain Must Fall
Published in Paperback by Canongate Pub Ltd (1900)
Author: Michel Faber
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One Of A Kind
I found Michel Faber's Novel, "Under The Skin", to be both disturbing, wildly inventive, and unique. I could think of no one to compare his work to then, and now after reading his first collection of short stories, "Some Rain Must Fall", I still can gather no comparisons. There are stories that taken alone might lend them to be classified as similar to this person's work, or another's collection of short stories. However taken as a whole the works in this volume encompass so vast a range, from pure imagination, to a short story that reads as a documentary of a profession, no one else comes to mind.

There is a story of a teacher, a specialist who commands three times the normal rate for running a classroom. The start of the story is seemingly harmless, and then it progresses steadily to a horrific experience. Another begins and quickly becomes surreal, however the change is so subtle you might read it more than once to be sure it all is not a metaphor as opposed to a severe form of retribution.

Other stories focus on a narrower field of a person or two, and how presumptions that are made almost unconsciously can have life altering effects. This latter theme may not sound new, however the setting for his story and those that inhabit it are definitely not what would be called a traditional venue.

Mr. Faber is about as far from the traditional as a writer can get, and still be understood. "Under The Skin", pushed the envelope for me to grasp what he had in mind, but it nevertheless was powerful and unsettling. His workings on the fringes of his imagination seem to naturally produce a story of a most interesting Universe. However with at least one tale he seems to condemn another extreme branch of expression without compromise. I agree with what he had one character write, whether the Author agrees, who knows?

Like nothing you have probably read.

one word can describe Faber's works...refreshing.
Reading a Michel Faber story is like taking a dip in a pool on a hot summer day. His style of writing is so original, it makes everything he writes a truly enjoyable read. I was referred to Faber through Amazon for his novel "Under the Skin". I thoroughly enjoyed that book, but once I tried to explain to friends why, I couldn't. I came to realize that the story itself was interesting, but not the reason why I enjoyed the novel. The reason was Faber's ability to connect a reader to a character in his novel and his unique style in developing a story.

Faber's collection of short stories further displays his writing skills. I am fascinated by how he can develop a story and its characters in so few words. I totally recommend this collection of short stories. They are original, thought provoking and entertaining. If you are sick of the same old stuff, Faber is the author for you. I can not wait to see what he has to offer us next!

Broader and better than my first impression
UNDER THE SKIN was the first work of Michel Faber I have read. Recently, searching for the shining lights of contemporary science fiction, a review in Netsurfer Digest found that book for me. A delightful find. The only new talent on a par with William Gibson has been my refrain.

I pre-ordered this current edition of Faber's short stories and it arrived a day ago. Now that I'm half-way through, I have to correct myself in mid-flight of enjoyment and say that he's a talent partaking of all possible directions of the writer's craft -- unchallenged by any theme or context.

The reviewer cited in Publisher's Weekly has led too narrow a life -- or has too confined a brainpan! When Faber can leap from a sentient and egregious bit of anatomy [Nina's Hand] to a self-defeating family on a mission of dead-end science, self-destruction and deception [The Crust of Hell] -- from a painful single day's tale seen through the eyes of an unknowing kid brother [Somewhere Warm and Comfortable] to the crisis-solving anodyne cum mother and teacher in the feature story [Some Rain Must Fall] -- Faber is the sort of young talent I will worry about and watch for in the coming years. I hope he can steer clear of type-casting editors and agents, writer's block and, of course, TV and screenplays. The latter of which are bound to land in his lap when some improbable director spies out his work and wants to cram it into whichever medium. It can be done; but, the world of that sort of production is more dangerous than any desert in the Horn of Africa.

Well, this is a Friday. My day to listen to music and read. Faber has made it the very best Friday since my semi-retirement a year ago.

Under the Skin
Published in Hardcover by Harcourt (23 July, 2000)
Author: Michel Faber
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Unlike anything you've read before!
What starts out as a strange and somewhat unnerving tale about a disfigured woman who picks up strong male hitchhikers and then injects them with something that knocks them out so she can dress them up in other men's clothes slowly takes shape as a very clever and creative social satire. Of what, I'm not going to tell you, as half the enjoyment of reading this book comes about a third of the way through when you start to figure out what's going on. Faber's point, while first striking me as mundane, actually started to affect me by the end of the novel. Yeah, I've heard the argument before, but this is actually a pretty effective (and certainly NEW) way to put it. I highly recommend this book, although not for the weak of stomach (as some of the scenes are pretty graphically violent). It's one of the most unique books I've encountered in my lifetime. And for once, a satire described as "Swiftian" on the back cover has actually lived up to the adjective.

Under the Skin gets Under YOUR skin!
If you like psychological thrillers that make your brain actually "think" while you read, then you'll definitely enjoy this book. It takes you on a very detailed and descriptive journey through the thoughts of a struggling woman named Isserley, as well as through the minds of the hitchhikers she picks up on the A-9. This book deserves a 5 out of 5 because of the imagery and imagination, the story line, and the emotion. Michel Faber is a very compelling author who definitely knows how to mix imagery and imagination together. When he describes his characters he not only states the obvious things like hair color or height, but he gives the reader and overview of their personality. When you read through the book it feels like you're almost there because you can "feel" the moist air on the beach, or you can "hear" the rain puttering on Isserley's car windows. Faber's creativity is awesome because he uses it to creep on the reader when they least expect it, and when it hits them, they're absolutely shocked! This particular story line is very interesting and unique. If Faber were to write side notes for every page in the book it would seriously take so much away from the reader's own imagination to where the story is going. It's amazing how this book makes you think that it's all about a very strange yet appealing woman who picks up hitchhikers, and yet it turns completely around to where she's actually on a mission to find the right "specimen." Under The Skin is a science fiction/adventure story tied into one, but you can't even tell. As you dig deeper and deeper into the story, you can't really stop yourself from reading because the sentences pull you out from your world and into the story's own world. Faber's words leaves you pondering about what they mean in relation to the story and it leaves you saying, "Is that what I think it is?" Faber does an excellent job in portraying Isserley's character. By the end of the book, you already understand who she is and why she is feeling like she's feeling. On the outside, she holds her emotions because she does not want to seem weak, but when no one is around she cries herself to sleep in her cottage because of her job. Isserley was yanked out of the slums in the neighborhood to work for Vess Incorporated. She knows who she is inside, but she never wants to let anyone get to know her. She is an emotional, strong, and beautiful person who struggles with her confusion and with her own emotions.

Light enough for a summer read, deep enough for winter.
In his excellent debut novel, Faber offers readers a compelling story that is both a quick, easy beach-towel read and a serious exploration of alienation, desire and what it means to be human. An artful balance -- and as a writer, one worth emulating.

From the reader's perspective, the first part of the book puts us in the position of detective. Who is Isserly, and why is she driving the roads of Scotland looking for men? Without revealing anything of the plot (this is one book that you should enter completely uninformed), Faber lays down a series of clues and information that easily lead us into creating an image of this woman and her motivations -- only to have this image completely exploded when the revelation comes. In some ways, it reminded me of the movie "The Sixth Sense": an interesting, compelling story that gets turned upside-down, forcing us to confess that we were given all the information we needed, but we came to the wrong conclusions anyway.

After the key revelations, the remainder of the story skirts the edges of simplistic, moralistic allegory. However, the author appears to be aware of this risk, and turns the remainder of the book into a serious study of the main character's key conflict. His writing is fluid, descriptive and highly imaginative throughout, so our interest in the story and the characters is maintained despite some of the heavy emotion and inner turmoil.

I realize that this review may sound a bit obtuse, simply because I am so concerned about not revealing details that may ruin a new reader's enjoyment and astonishment. Go out and read this book yourself -- it's worth it.

The New Decorating Book (Better Homes and Gardens(R))
Published in Paperback by Meredith Books (15 May, 2001)
Author: Better Homes and Gardens
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I can't believe no one has reviewed this title!
This book precedes Faber debut novel (Under the Skin) and shares with it a certian love of the bizzare. Numerous surprise endings, grotesque plots, and strange "goings on" abound. If you liked Under the Skin, you'll appreciate these stories too.

The Crimson Petal and the White
Published in Paperback by Harvest Books (01 September, 2003)
Author: Michel Faber
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A literary peat bog
Nineteen year-old Sugar is a whore in 1870s London. William Rackham is the proud, immature inheritor of the Rackham perfumery. William's wife, Agnes, is mentally off. William's brother, Henry, is confounded by his religion. William's young daughter, Sophie, is hidden away in the Rackham mansion and cared for by servants. Is it any wonder William seeks out a prostitute? Of course, we all know he's going to find Sugar. The only question is, what sort of tortured relationship between them can fill up 834 pages?

Victorian, THE CRIMSON PETAL AND THE WHITE most assuredly is not. Whatever I was expecting from this novel, it was not the graphic and often repulsive sex scenes that I got. And when the plot isn't reading like soft porn, it's drowning in details. I managed to read the first 300 pages word for word, but after that it was either start skimming or give up, so I started skimming. And although the last third of the book was a pleasant surprise -- the characters become more fully developed, the plot takes some interesting turns, and the sickly sweet tone of the first half is focused into something much sharper -- I was still considerably relieved to reach the end.

Some other disappointments I would note: Several of the characters die without apparent reason, perhaps simply because Michel Faber tired of them. But neither did I miss them, since I never enjoyed any of the people in the first place, although I did grow closer to Sugar near the end. William positively disgusted me and I rue the 500 pages I spent in his company. And Faber's interesting technique of addressing the reader personally as "you" and tossing in little side comments (welcome comic relief, if you ask me) is lost about halfway through and unfortunately seldom reappears.

Least you think I am totally down on this novel, there were a couple of interesting points. The time period and its people are well researched and depicted with a sort of graphic honesty that's a lot like a car accident -- you'd like to look away, but you can't. Bodily functions are common in these pages. Dirt and grime and pain and insanity abound. Nothing escapes the author's probing finger. Nothing is too sordid to discuss.

I cannot recommend this novel. I found it irritating at best and regret the time I wasted on it. Still, THE CRIMSON PETAL AND THE WHITE is notable for its honesty, crude is that may be.

Wonderfully Detailed Story( though at times a bit TOO )
In this tome about a young,fiercely intelligent prostitute named Sugar,her relationship with Henry Rackham,heir to a perfume company and his almost surreal-in-it's-dysfunction family,the author has truly re-created 1870's London,from it's squalid slums on up to the social elite. It's a great historical chronicile that at times,outdoes the story itself,which at 800 pages,is a bit long,but overall very engrossing.Also,considering it's length,it's surprisingly easy to follow as the author wisely chose not to over-populate the book with too many charactors,and,in addition to it's heroine,I really cared about them and their various fates. Now,the downside: I know the author is trying to make this a "unVictorian" Victorian story but he does get rather repetitive with his descriptions of bodily functions,and the ending? Well,it's a bold move(sequel anyone?) In conclusion,a very good(and at times) great read.

Engrossing to the end
I wish I had read this book with a group. I'd ask if any other readers felt sympathy toward William at the end of the story. There he is, sitting in his chair -- incongrously, a lacy doily crocheted by his delicate wife Agnes falls on his lap, which also holds Sugar's pornographic writings.

I adored this book. I know we're not supposed to quibble with other reviewers, but I didn't find it the least bit repetitive and I was involved from the very first page, and I stayed involved to the end.

It reminded me of Greg Matthews' historicals -- Heart of the Country and Power in the Blood -- with vivid but realistic characters who don't do what you expect but who act in character. Strong, fearless and dangerous people.

This book will spoil me for other historicals, I'm sure. It's going to be hard to match the flavor and vitality of William, Agnes, Sugar, Sophie, the whores and the servants. And Emmeline! My gosh didn't she surprise you a few times! What great characters. I don't expect Faber will revisit them. Anyone doing historical fanfic? :-)

The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colors and Their Applications to the Arts
Published in Hardcover by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. (1987)
Authors: Faber Birren and Michel Eugene Chevreul
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A book on color printed in black & white???
I'm not sure about all editions of this book but the one that I own (paperback...) has NO color inside at all! Who ever heard of a book on the subject of color that didn't include any? What were they thinking? I'm sure it's a fascinating read but if someone is interested enough in color to read this hefty tome, you've got to think they might also enjoy looking at it too. This is an oversized thick book which is at least 95% text. There are very few black & white diagrams either.

Bajo La Piel
Published in Paperback by Anagrama (2003)
Author: Michel Faber
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Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker
Published in Hardcover by Knopf (14 May, 2002)
Author: James Gavin
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The Hundred and Ninety-nine Steps
Published in Paperback by Canongate Books Ltd (04 July, 2002)
Author: Michel Faber
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Shorts IV
Published in Paperback by Polygon (15 September, 2002)
Author: Michel Faber
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Snap Shots: Ten Years of the Ian St James Awards
Published in Paperback by Angela Royal Publishing (31 March, 1999)
Authors: Kate Atkinson, Louise Doughty, Julia Darling, Michel Faber, Phil Whitaker, Mike McCormack, Hwee Hwee Tan, Anna McGrail, and et al
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