アンダー・ザ・スキン (BOOK PLUS) 単行本 – 2001/12
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With an introduction by David MitchellIsserley spends most of her time driving. But why is she so interested in picking up hitchhikers? And why are they always male, well-built and alone?An utterly unpredictable and macabre mystery, Under the Skin is a genre-defying masterpiece. --このテキストは、ペーパーバック版に関連付けられています。
In the book the word "Human" refers to aliens like Isserley; the "Humans" (aliens) call the earthlings "Vodsels." Isserley regards earthlings with the same detachment that some earthlings regard animals (goyim) -- as unfeeling hunks of meat to be exploited and killed without mercy.
The author tells Isserley's story at a steady pace that becomes hypnotic. Isserley picks up one after another hitchhiker and questions each carefully in order to elicit enough information from them to judge whether they can be killed with minimal risk to herself and her "Human" (alien) coworkers' covert "culling of the herd." She finds out whether or not the Vodsels are connected to a family or to fellow workers who will notice their sudden disappearances. The author uses Isserley's repetitive encounters to explore the amount of empathy that Isserley and the hitchhikers are able to feel for each other. The author explores what it means to be Human or Vodsel ... predator or prey.
The "Humans" (aliens), such has Isserley, are four-legged, furry creatures. The Power Elite on Isserley's home planet modified her body surgically to simulate a Vodsel female who is attractive enough to lure Vodsel males to their deaths. Isserley's basic attraction is her large breasts. Evidently the author regards most male vodsels as simple, sex-driven creatures.
The "Humans" (aliens) process the Vodsel meat in an underground factory; the meat is flown to the "Humans" alien planet by means of a spaceship. On their ecologically devastated home planet, the "Human" Power Elite sells the Vodsel meat for as much money as the Overlords can extort from their Lesser Brethren on their starving, ecologically stripped home planet.
Isserley's empathy for her own kind was destroyed by her having been callously exploited by the Rulers of her home planet. Her ability to feel empathy was eliminated by the surgery; she is filled with rage. She cannot reciprocate the kindly overtures extended to her from her Human-alien co-workers, let alone from the Vodsel-goyim who are her victims.
One emotion remains accessible to Isserley -- an ability to marvel at the beauty of Scotland's lochs and firths, snowfalls and mists. Her ability to appreciate beauty sustains her in the absence of all nurturing contacts.
Isserley's questioning of her Vodsel-victims elicits their own tales of disappointment and rage at injustice. Their stories indicate that they, too, have been traumatized by the cruelties of the Vodsel Power Structure on earth. On balance, though, even the most criminal of the Vodsels (e.g., the hitchhiker who was a serial murderer) are innately capable of feeling more compassion for their fellows than the "Humans" can muster for Vodsels. The "Humans'" (aliens') inbred, predatory lack of empathy has led to the total destruction of sustainable life on their planet, causing them to raid other planets for life forms to consume.
Isserley's interactions with Vodsels as she explores their vodsel psychology begin to stir sympathetic echoes in her own psychology. Isserley shows signs of being in transition -- no longer fully alien. Life cannot sustain life in the absence of nurturing. Isserley teeters on the edge of expanding beyond her own needs. She feels flashes of pity for her Vodsel-victims. She expresses this pity just before she dies....but before she could fully heal her damaged soul. In the end, Isserley's emotional isolation overwhelmed and destroyed her.
As a thought experiment: Think of Human-aliens as Predatory Banks; Isserley as Military operations; and the Scottish Vodsels as vanishing European tribes.
For whatever reason this book didn't not touch me as deeply as it seems to have effected others. I understood the message of the book and I get what Faber was going for but... It just never really horrified me. I was expecting the reveal when it came and was left feeling very meh about it. Then from that point on I was thinking how things could have been done much more efficiently, which is probably not where my mind is meant to be going.
All in all it's an interesting idea I suppose. I just found myself asking to many questions. I couldn't just accept the book for the message that it was trying to lay down. I wouldn't call this a bad book. It just wasn't a book that ever captured me
Isserley, the main character, is from another planet and, in a desperate effort to pull herself out of a life of dreary poverty on her own planet, takes a job on earth hunting healthy, young men. The unsuspecting men are drugged and once they wake up, find they are now livestock to soon be processed as food for the inhabitants of Isserley's home planet. At one point, her and her companions' ethics are challenged. She has to defend or reject what she's done for the past four years to survive. The book forces us to examine our own humanity, morals, and ability to show mercy. What we find horrific in the book could be viewed just as horrificly in our own lives. I was disturbed not just from the horror of what the men endured and Isserley's own misery and depression, but by my own choices, really. I thought about the book for weeks after reading it. That's what literature does -- it disturbs. And Michel Faber accomplished this on many levels.
I loved the author's prose, describing all the horror like pure poetry, literary ballet. I actually saw the movie first. It was entertaining, but I like the book better.