A love story beyond the infinite

A love story beyond the infinite
The writer Michel Faber, September 20, 2015, in Pordenone, Italy. - MIRCO TONIOLO / AGF / SIPA

Love and faith are at the heart of this book strange and new things (the Olive Tree Publishing, 23.50 euros). Normal, since this is how the extraterrestrials, with a predilection for the New Testament, nicknamed the Bible. But no need to be a Christian to enjoy this touching novel Michel Faber. It is for those who have never doubted the value of empathy.

A hero among three worlds

A couple about to be separated. Awkwardly and with passion, they make love in a car. So begins The Book of strange things and new. Peter Leigh was selected by a powerful organization to evangelize an alien society on Oasis, a distant planet.

This implies that he must leave behind his wife Beatrice, that meeting, he had abandoned his addiction to become a pastor. On this planet, he discovered both the fleece operation, almost suffocating, human settlement and the strange customs of the natives, the oasis. Meanwhile, on Earth, companies are collapsing with blows of natural disasters, wars and economic collapse.

A love separated by light years

The Book of strange things and new moves by describing the removal of this couple separated by light years. They can not see, they can not call. Their only means of communication is writing. At the heart of the book, the correspondence between Peter and his wife is the only tenuous thread that still keeps them together. But words, a past and a common faith they are sufficient to keep their relationship intact?

Faith to the test

Peter was overwhelmed by the pure desire shown by the oasis to know the Bible and embrace the message of the sacred text. But the ardor of his faith gradually tested by the messages of increasingly desperate Beatrice sends him. Michel Faber, he lost his writing his novel. "I wanted this book to be the saddest thing I've ever written," he confided in 2014 to the New York Times.

As he put the finishing touches on the book, his second wife, Eva, with whom he shared his life for 26 years died of cancer. Michel Faber assured that this book would be the last. In dedication, he wrote: "For Eva, always."

An atypical author

Scarlett Johansson and Michel Faber have nothing in common, except that the actress starred in a film adaptation of a book by the Dutch writer. With his first novel published in 2000, Under the Skin, readers discovered a writer unusual path.

Born in The Hague in the Netherlands, he moved to 7 years with his family in Australia. At the University of Melbourne, he studied philosophy and English literature. It connects with various odd jobs and becoming a caregiver, before returning to settle in Scotland.

Between tale and science fiction

Michel Faber's novels defy classification attempt, in the image of his bestseller. The Purple Rose and lily. The Book of strange and new things  no exception. Is it a story? Is it a fiction novel? Is a big jump in space justifies a work to be cataloged like science fiction?

Michel Faber is his novel in our time or in the near future. But it does not bother detail to ensure credibility to his story. Or not it adheres. For this, we adhere!

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