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The Book of Strange New Things (2014)

de Michel Faber

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,8021207,008 (3.72)151
"It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter's teachings--his Bible is their "book of strange new things." But Peter is rattled when Bea's letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea's faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter. Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance, and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse, is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable. While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival. Their trials lay bare a profound meditation on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us" --… (més)
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Anglès (114)  Neerlandès (2)  Francès (1)  Pirata (1)  Italià (1)  Totes les llengües (119)
Es mostren 1-5 de 119 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This is very slow going and simply stopped in the middle. I regret the time I spent reading it.

It's like watching a video of a dropped glass that is halted just before the glass hits the floor. You will never know if the glass shatters or bounces. ( )
  KittyCunningham | Apr 26, 2021 |
Questo romanzo è la prova di quello che è un grande scrittore: 450 pag per raccontare una storia semplice, quasi banale, di scarso interesse "strutturale" ma che riesce a sfiorare temi importanti e stimolare riflessioni, riesce ad affascinare pur essendo "noiosa", si legge tutta d'un fiato pur essendo certo ne originale ne particolarmente interessante.
Indubbiamente questo autore riesce a toccare con il suo scrivere la sfera più intima e emozionale di ognuno di noi, sia che siano storie forti e drammatiche come *under the skin* sia con storie più "morbide" ma cmq ricche di emozioni + intime come questa.
Il mio voto si limita ad un *discreto* perché alla fine dei conti, pur nella qualità generale del romanzo e nell'abilità dell'autore, non si merita di + considerando tutti gli aspetti . ( )
  senio | Mar 28, 2021 |
I liked parts of this book, though I was surprised that some of the rather obvious consequences of the story were not at all addressed.
I liked the loss of connection between the two main characters, Peter (whom we are following on his trip to outer space as a missionary) and Bea (who stays behind to hold down the fort). Both of them encounter a different kind of falling apart, which we only see in Bea's case through her letters, while we see Peter's as we follow him as he is completely unable to articulate or even realize his falling apart.
I am very puzzled that there is no problem at the colony because Earth is falling to pieces - no stop of the supply chain, no news of the disasters that should raise questions of the colony's survival.
The book can appear as religious, though I think that you can also see it as profoundly not so - esp when Peter finally realizes why the original people of the planet he is on are so interested in Christianity and that it will not be able to provide this to them.
But it does drag on for a while, for sure. ( )
  WiebkeK | Jan 21, 2021 |
3.5 ( )
  naoph | Jan 1, 2021 |
There are some interesting ideas here but I can't see how they fit together particularly. The book feels like one of those crazy conglomerate sandstones.

Our hero is a Christian minister sent to a distant planet to serve the local population. These folks seem enamored with Christianity but one puzzle is why, what do they see in it. Maybe their understanding of Christianity is off target. I will confess, I am not a Christian, so perhaps this book's target is some subtle point of Christian theology that I don't know about. I will say, I left the Christian faith as a young man largely because it seems clear to me that intelligent life must be reasonable widespread across the countless galaxies in the universe, but Christianity didn't seem to have the resources to make sense of that. This book certainly situates itself in a place to address that puzzle, but ... missionaries from Earth bringing the gospel to new planets, one by one... that seems rather feeble to me!

Then there is the relationship of our hero to his wife who is back on earth. Part of the book seems to be how that relationship is quite disconnected from the missionary work on the distant planet. OK, but still, that disconnection is a big part of why the book feels disconnected. It's self-consciously disconnected. Well, OK I guess.

Anyway it was a pleasant enough read and brings up some interesting ideas. ( )
1 vota kukulaj | Dec 21, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 119 (següent | mostra-les totes)
As someone who harbors a fondness for science fiction and thirsts for more complex treatment of religion in contemporary novels, I relished every chance to cloister myself away with “The Book of Strange New Things.” If it feels more contemplative than propulsive, if Faber repeatedly thwarts his own dramatic premises, he also offers exactly what I crave: a state of mingled familiarity and alienness that leaves us with questions we can’t answer — or forget.
afegit per zhejw | editaWashington Post, Ron Charles (Nov 25, 2014)
 
Since the critical and commercial triumph of Hilary Mantel, the historical novel is newly respectable. One hopes that Michel Faber can do something similar for speculative writing. Defiantly unclassifiable, “The Book of Strange New Things” is, among other things, a rebuke to the credo of literary seriousness for which there is no higher art than a Norwegian man taking pains to describe his breakfast cereal. As well as the literature of authenticity, Faber reminds us, there is a literature of enchantment, which invites the reader to participate in the not-real in order to wake from a dream of reality to the ineffability, strangeness and brevity of life on Earth.
afegit per zhejw | editaNew York Times, Marcel Theroux (Oct 30, 2014)
 
...like the best sci-fi or fantasy, the novel is really an examination of humanity. It is also a powerful and, one suspects, personal meditation on the limitations of the flesh, and the capacity of either love or faith to endure extreme pressure. Startlingly tender and bold in conception, it offers a bleak vision of our future that also holds fast to the hope that, in Larkin’s phrase, “what will survive of us is love”.
afegit per _Zoe_ | editaThe Guardian, Stephanie Merritt (Oct 26, 2014)
 
The book isn’t without a few niggling problems.... But the genuinely inquisitive and searching story in The Book of Strange New Things ultimately trumps such minor logistical concerns. This is a novel of big ideas by a writer of unusual intelligence and lucidity, and it lingers in the mind after the final page is turned.
afegit per _Zoe_ | editaThe Independent, Doug Johnstone (Oct 25, 2014)
 

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"It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter's teachings--his Bible is their "book of strange new things." But Peter is rattled when Bea's letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea's faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter. Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance, and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse, is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable. While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival. Their trials lay bare a profound meditation on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us" --

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