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Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
It was okay, but not mind-blowing.
What was most disappointing about Michel Faber’s story?
It had a lot of potential that remained unexplored. The way I understand it, the author took on a very limited point of view of emphasise that it was Peter's outlook and priorities that counted, but then a first-person narrative would have suited this novel much better. As it is, the reader is left with the feeling that many important issues have remained unexplored.
What does Josh Cohen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
He brings an boyish enthusiasm to Peter that fits his personality, and the way he reads the Oasans is also good (and not easy to pull off).
If this book were a movie would you go see it?
No, unless they fixed the plot holes in the novel.
If you are familiar with Michel Faber's works you won't be too surprised by the ambling nature of the novel. An evangelistic pastor is recruited by a mysterious corporation to bring the gospel to an alien race on a planet they wish to colonise. It's less about a plot than an exploration of a set of possibilities and human nature in extreme circumstances. I think I enjoyed it even though the pronunciation of the "alien" speech was absolutely tortuous and made me glad the narrator wasn't with me in person to cover me in spit.
Thought provoking and given the recent extreme weather in Vanuatu possibly prescient.
If you could sum up The Book of Strange New Things in three words, what would they be?
original, interesting, creative
What did you like best about this story?
the moral dilemmas that Peter faces is very real and relatable despite the fantasy setting of the story.
What does Josh Cohen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
I really liked his interpretation of the Oasians voices and pronunciation
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
the fear that the Oasians felt when Peter hurt himself, really brought home for me how important it was to them to have a religious leader, and the bond they felt with this man.
Any additional comments?
I am a huge fan of The Crimson Petal and the White. To be honest, if it weren't for my love of that book I would have passed this title over on the basis of it's subject matter. However, Faber's skill meant that I thoroughly enjoyed a book which was about two things I am essentially not very interested in!
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
I bought this audiobook having previously enjoyed The Crimson Petal and the White by the same author. This book could not be more different but was also a compelling listen.
The book is set in the near future but, although staged in sci fi territory, the story is concerned with human themes: relationships, the nature of faith, belonging.
The imagined world is detailed, fascinating and convincing and will satisfy sci fi fans . The underlying human themes develop slowly and the book is a thought provoking commentary on the nature of modern human relationships and connectedness.
Credit must go to the narrator who manages the challenge of an entirely new language with great skill.
I really enjoyed this book and the issues raised remained with me long afterwards. A thought provoking and intelligent listen.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
I found this book engaging to listen to on Audible, the narration was good and hearing the alien voices added a dimension I probably wouldn't have had in reading the paper book. I'm not a standard sci fi fan and prefer spec fic. The premise was interesting. A minister is sent to an alien planet to preach the gospel to the locals but leaves his beloved wife at home in a deteriorating world. However the story took so long to get anywhere and Peter was a quite annoying dolt while his wife was the perceptive one. I didn't really care about Peter but was concerned about their relationship which is mightily tested. Nothing dramatic really happens though it is mildly interesting to learn about this alien place. The talent in the writer was making me finish the book but I ended it by saying, So what? The aliens didn't need him; his wife desperately needed him and he wasn't there.
Read this book as part of our book club. It was slow to start, I kept reading in the hope something may happen. There were parts of the book that were "ok", but overall I didn't like it at all. The ending was weak as well - so many unanswered questions.