April 15

Under the Skin – The Future of Mankind is at Stake

Under the Skin is a 2000 sci-fi novel by Michel Faber[1][2] set in northern Scotland. The novel, which was Faber’s debut, was shortlisted for the 2000 Whitbread Award. It was later adapted into a feature film by Jonathan Glazer.[3]

 Isserley is an alien disguised as an atractive woman who  cruises the remote highways of northern Scotland luring well-built men into her car and drugging them.

 She’s a hunter, tracking prey for fattening in a battery-like factory to satisfy a demand on her barren home planet for human flesh. While she regards people as cattle and seems to have no concept of emotions, before long the humans start to get under her skin and she begins to question her mission.

 In contrast with her alien indifference to human feelings, Isserley likes sheep – they are reminiscent of children in her homeland – and in her admiration for these gentle animals there is tenderness and empathy. In this and other expressions of emotion, we see a side of Isserley that is not entirely alien, displaying a capacity for sympathy and hope. 

There’s food for thought in this novel too – but apart from that and any deeper issues – this is an interesting story introducing the original and memorable character Isserley.

 (Nothing new under the sun – in 1729 Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels) published a satirical piece in which he proposed that the Irish eat their own children! He called it A Modest Proposal.)

The Library Service has copies of this book available.:


Or the dvd: