Further to me going on about The Book of Strange New Things, I’m getting increasingly annoyed by passages like
A glance confirmed that the weeping hadn’t done her any good – her face was blotched, puffy and unfeminine, and she knew it. He looked gallantly askance while she dabbed at her eyes with her sleeve, pecked at her hair with her fingers, and generally tried to compose herself.
The book’s riddled with this kind of description. The women are dissected physically (a couple referred to as ‘butch’, iirc one “heterosexual despite appearances”), the men are usually identified by race as a sole/primary descriptor. There’s passage in which the protagonist describes a “jet-black Nigerian” and a Swedish bloke having a long conversation with a sort of dewy-eyed incomprehension at how people could have bridged such a yawning chasm as race.
The protagonist’s wife also recently described some people in the newspapers as “decent, obese, working-class people”. Get the feeling there’s lots of strange stuff in here about class, but can’t remember too well off the top of my head.
I don’t know if this book is in actual fact about the insufferable superiority complexes of some deeply religious people (non-demoninationally targeted but, from my personal experience, more prominent within Christianity) or if Michel Faber actually likes this guy. I guess he could be critiquing the dicey nature of missionary work in general.
Might be in a funny mood or overthinking it or something, but I can’t remember the last time a book has felt this weird to read. Like, it isn’t Houllebecq by any stretch of the imagination, but I get the impression that Faber might have some pretty unsavoury ideas about humanity that might be largely ignored because he’s a technically accomplished writer. Unless as mentioned, all this weird shite is the protagonist’s worldview, in which case why write a novel from such an irritating perspective? Hoping some of this clears up by the end.