Do you collect stamps? Or coins? Or vintage 1970’s pornography? If you do, then you’ll understand my collection hobby. Even more so if you read. I collect books that I’ve read. I write them down in a little book with the date I finished it, the title and the author. Sad, I know. But it is one of my little fixes of gratification, my little achievements, when I get to write down a new book in my little gold and red log book… Of books. For example, I can look back through and recall when I was reading the book and that tickling sense of nostalgia starts working its way through my patchworked grey blob that the narcissistic little shit christened itself, ‘the brain’. I have been naughty lately and haven’t finished a book for some time. I started a new job and we moved house and after a long day I want to eat, talk to Grace and pass out in a broken slumber. However, today I broke my literary dry-spell and finished the Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber. What a way to break a dry-spell I tell you, it left me tired, breathless and in need of a cigarette.
The Book of Strange New Things or tBoSNT for short, tells the tale of Peter and his wife Bea. Peter has been picked to go on a mission to the planet Oasis as a missionary for the locals as they will only trade for medicine and teachings from the Bible aka the Book of Strange New Things. His only means of communication with his beloved wife, is via an email system and here we learn through Bea’s words, of all the troubles that are befalling Earth. Peter wrestles with the distance between them and all the issues that arise in any relationship. All this culminates in a fitting and pleasing albeit predictable ending. Faber writes with vehement passion as to what love is, and you can feel his adoration for his own wife leaking through into reality.
It inspires that sense of awe and compounds how much someone can truly mean to you. I finished it and it made me question how I would behave in Peter’s circumstances. I know this is cheesy, corny and any other cringe-inducing adjective you can think of but it made me realise how much I love my other half. The ending makes you realise, that, at the end of it all, love wins over most (if not all) other presiding emotions. There, emotion deployed.
To summarise, tBoSNT is a phenomenal book. I have read a substantial amount of books this year and this is one of my favourite, hands down. It’s honest and it will hit you right in the love sack. Read it, love it, go hold your loved one close. If you don’t have a loved one, go find one. Or a bottle of Malibu. Whatever works for you.