What books have the strangest origins?

The Book of Strange New Things

“The Book of Strange New Things” can hardly be squeezed into one form, because Michel Faber deals with a variety of topics: love, Christianity, missionaryization, the environment, natural disasters, space exploration. On over 600 pages, Faber gets to the bottom of things, he does not touch anything fleetingly, every thought receives the number of lines it needs to be fully and comprehensively thought through to the end. So I can only recommend: Take your time for this book, because there is a lot to discover in it. Warning, my review is not free from spoilers as I want to elaborate on some specific aspects of the story. It doesn't reveal too much, however.

"The Book of Strange New Things" begins with a journey. Pastor Peter Leigh receives the unique… more

“The Book of Strange New Things” can hardly be squeezed into one form, because Michel Faber deals with a variety of topics: love, Christianity, missionaryization, the environment, natural disasters, space exploration. On over 600 pages, Faber gets to the bottom of things, he does not touch anything fleetingly, every thought receives the number of lines it needs to be fully and comprehensively thought through to the end. So I can only recommend: Take your time for this book, because there is a lot to discover in it. Warning, my review is not free from spoilers as I want to elaborate on some specific aspects of the story. It doesn't reveal too much, however.

"The Book of Strange New Things" begins with a journey. Pastor Peter Leigh receives the unique offer to take a trip to the distant planet Oasis to teach Christianity to the residents there. He can't refuse that, although it means not being able to see his wife Bea for a long time. But Peter and Bea love each other dearly and are sure that they will be able to cope with this time without the other. So Peter sets off. At Oasis, he not only meets the residents of the oasis, but of course also other researchers at the station. Both form an exciting contrast in their behavior: the Oasians, so strange and yet humanly compassionate, the people, so familiar and yet so strangely distant and cool. The characters and the subtle presentation characterize this book very much.

AT HIS COMMAND, A NETWORK OF REFINED TECHNOLOGY SEARCHED THE COSMOS FOR YOUR THOUGHTS AND FIND NOTHING. JUST THE ONE SCREAM OF DESPERATION STILL LIGHT ON THE SCREEN, THE FOUR TERRIBLE WORDS IN CONTEXTLESS GRAY EMPTY. (PAGE 535)

The novel thrives on further contrasts and plays with expectations. So one expects adventure, tension and danger from life on Oasis, instead Oasis turns out to be a peaceful place. Almost idyllic if it weren't for such a barren landscape. On the other hand, one natural disaster after another occurs on earth. While it is never clearly stated, it stands to reason that they are triggered, or at least exacerbated, by global warming. So Bea suffers dramas that are becoming ever more distant for Peter. How can the other understand and empathize what is happening to the partner? In the communication between Peter and Bea, the reader feels how they drift away from each other and cannot understand the reality of each other's life. A fascinating process of distancing and rapprochement that Michel Faber puts into words very aptly.

Of course, the Christian religion also plays an important role in the novel. But never intrusive, judgmental or instructive, but Christianity simply represents a possibility to perceive the world and life. However, both Peter and Bea have an absolute will to convert other people. Rather, Faber explores the question of what happens to faith when the world shows its most ruthless and brutal side. Do you still have the strength to believe in God?

Conclusion

In “The Book of Strange New Things” Michel Faber shows what motivates people and living beings of different origins to be religious or to want to become religious, but also what can lead them to turn away from faith. This basic theme, supplemented by a trip to a strange planet and a disturbingly gloomy vision of the future of the earth, make this novel immense