Book Review: Under the Skin

Under the Skin by Michel Faber
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Under the Skin bears remarkable affinities with The Island of Dr. Moreau in the sense that, in both, metamorphoses are effected by surgery as opposed to magic. Both texts are also interested in how altered bodies move backwards and forwards across the boundary between human and the nonhuman animal and how physical alterations can effect psychological states.
It’s also about floundering in the world during our brief lifetime, trying to understand it, and then being mercilessly crushed by it. Meanwhile, we only manage to hurt others along the way without fully understanding our actions, and in the midst of finally beginning to understand those actions and our place in the world, we're snuffed out like a candle in a high wind.
The meaning that I ferreted out of Under the Skin, possibly against its will, and possibly even my own, is that trying to understand things from someone else’s perspective, and trying to be compassionate, can ultimately destroy your own sense of self.


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