How far would you go on faith? Peter Leigh, the protagonist of Michel Faber’s new novel, will go anywhere God asks ... The Book of Strange New Things offers none of that snark or spark ... Here Faber doggedly explores religious faith, romantic faith, earth on the brink of apocalypse and a world in which, as Peter observes, 'We are the aliens' ... Her exchanges with Peter provide opportunities for back story ... With his marriage and native planet deteriorating, Peter’s love and faith are sorely tested ... The real issue is author’s choice to write with a flat, guileless prose echoing his protagonist. Faber’s created a jewelry box of potential but seems as incurious about exploring it as Peter himself.
...is cool because it's a remarkable work of imagination and genius. A 'poignant meditation on humanity,' a mesmerizing exploration of faith and love and a 'genre-defying' masterpiece ... Faber's great strength, trotted out right from the opening pages — this ability to write believable, lovely, flawed and inept characters. To animate his creations by exposing their great loves and human frailties, and to make us want, somehow, to follow along behind them as they traipse across the pages, the miles and, in short order, the light-years ...Faber brings little that's new or original to the trope, save a masterful skill for sketching the slow accretion of dread and mistrust in the hearts of his characters ...Faber tells a beautifully human story of love, loss, faith and the sometimes uncrossable distances between people. It feels, more than anything, like an achingly gentle 500-page first chapter to an apocalypse novel yet to come.
...Michel Faber's The Book of Strange New Things uses intergalactic travel and planet colonization as a backdrop, even a mechanism, to explore complicated emotional terrain ... physical setting of the novel is otherworldly. But the most salient environment in Faber's story is one readers will find familiar: a marriage at a crossroads ... Peter is a Christian minister who has come to spread the word of God to the Oasans. He is also deeply in love with his supportive wife Bea. We learn that they both applied for the mission, but only Peter was accepted to make the journey by the shadowy corporation that runs things on Oasis ... A bit more development of the back stories of Peter's human counterparts might have enhanced the reader's connection with these characters ...an emotionally wrenching drama of a couple separated by vast distance, struggling to understand one another.