The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

I am so glad I did not read advance reviews of this book - I might not have picked it up! It has a science fiction element to it, and I have always contended that I don’t like science fiction, so I would have been scared away. Don’t be! I loved it! I was so far into the book, devouring it, by the time any unusual elements were introduced that it all made sense.

Main character Peter is a minister, and he and his wife Bea are preparing for him to go on a mission to bring the word of God to a new population. (yes, right away, fond echoes of The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.) He has been selected by a major corporation in an extensive interview, and as much as he wants to, is not allowed to bring Bea with him. It’s a good thing, as they soon realize that she is pregnant, and the place that he is sent to is…much different than either of them could imagine.

So much to talk about in this book, it screams book club to me. Faith, fidelity, communication, role of missionaries, future world, marriage, separation, identity, politics, oh yeah, the three things I was taught not to talk about in public; sex politics and religion. Beautifully packaged to look like a holy book, The Book of Strange New Things is making big waves with readers and reviewers alike. Highly recommended!

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