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Under the Skin

Narrated by: Gerri Halligan
Length: 8 hrs and 42 mins
4 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An incredibly powerful and unsettling thriller, here is the audio edition of Michel Faber’s debut novel, read by Gerri Halligan.

Isserley spends most of her time driving. But why is she so interested in picking up hitchhikers? And why are they always male, well-built, and alone?

An utterly unpredictable and macabre mystery, Michel Faber's debut is an outstanding piece of fiction that will stay with you long after you have finished listening.

©2012 Michel Faber (P)2012 Canongate Books

What listeners say about Under the Skin

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Buy the paperback instead!

Although the story was quite enjoyable, I had to stop listening with 4hrs 36mins left on the recording. The sole reason for this was the cringe worthy attempt at Scottish accents for male characters by a female, English narrator. It became painful to listen to at times, so much so that I found it necessary to sacrifice the rest of the story (which I had become very interested in completing) in order to abort mission and listen to the radio instead.

I will however order the paperback in order to see the story through. Faber has done a wonderful job of creating a setting for what is shaping up to be a very dark and unpredictable story. I am very much looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

3 people found this helpful

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Wierd - not good for the soul

This is a bizarre read and was recommended by an avid sci-fi reader. I don't think it is the type of story that I would like to hear about or talk about. I pretty much picked it toward the end of chapter 2 that the main character Islie drives around profiling hitchhikers to be anesthetised, and surgically turned into "pigs" for sale ... I didn't finish it - just not the kind of thing I would want to encourage out in our world...

In all fairness the narrator has done very well with the Scottish accents from my perspective despite what I have read in other reviews.

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  • Russell
  • 10-12-2014

Very well done

Enjoyed the story. The narrator was excellent, very good use of different accents and intonations.

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  • C.J.R Flanagan
  • 04-12-2012

Buy The Paperback Instead

Although the story was quite enjoyable, I had to stop listening with 4hrs 36mins left on the recording. The sole reason for this was the cringe worthy attempt at Scottish accents for male characters by a female, English narrator. It became painful to listen to at times, so much so that I found it necessary to sacrifice the rest of the story (which I had become very interested in completing) in order to abort mission and listen to the radio instead, (the only station I could find was running a three hour long 80's power-ballad special, which may give you some indication as to the conviction of my opinion on the matter).

I will however order the paperback in order to see the story through. Faber has done a wonderful job of creating a setting for what is shaping up to be a very dark and unpredictable story. I am very much looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

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  • Susannah
  • 18-03-2014

Enthralling macabre story...unexpectedly good read

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes I have recommended it to my book club to stretch us out of our usual comfort zone. The subject matter is macabre and unsavoury, but it's a bit like a road accident...you know you don't want to look but find yourself rubbernecking anyway.

What other book might you compare Under the Skin to and why?

Cannot compare as it is the first I have read of this style

What three words best describe Gerri Halligan’s performance?

Competent, engaging, clear.

Could you see Under the Skin being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Scarlett Johanssen is already being cast in the lead of the movie I think.

Any additional comments?

Worth stepping outside your normal reading comfort zone for this story.

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  • Kaggy
  • 03-05-2014

A haunting and heartbreaking story

This is a brilliant book. It is sad and bleak but it managed to grip my attention from the very beginning. The dreary and monotonous A road is vividly described along with the majestic beauty of the Scottish landscape. The main character may not deserve sympathy but you can still emphasise with her physical pain and profound loneliness. This is a story about exploitation and how it de-humanises the victims and the perpetrators. There are parts that I found upsetting and I wished they had turned out differently. I'm glad however that Michel Faber steered his own unique path and the result is a tale that has haunted me for days.

The narration was excellent. I particularly liked the slightly Nordic accent of the heroine which fitted in so well with the landscape.








6 people found this helpful

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  • Darren - UK
  • 11-12-2014

Awful.

What didn’t you like about Gerri Halligan’s performance?

Worst performance ever! Do not be misled by the audio sample she seems like a perfectly good narrator until she tries to affect the characters' accents. Once she starts trying to speak as the characters I can't bear to listen it's so bad. I have stopped listening and I intend to return this book.

Any additional comments?

Unfortunately, I can't comment on the story as the narrator puts me off continuing with the book.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Annette Wright
  • 13-09-2013

Not sure what to make of this book

I bought this following a recommendation from a friend. I struggled to get into it from the beginning and found I had to keep putting it aside to listen to something else. I get the commentary the story is trying to convey but I struggled with the execution. I can't really explain what I mean by that without potentially giving something away about he plot. The story itself was an interesting one. I found the main character difficult to like though and that made it difficult to stick with. She became more likable as the story progressed though. I certainly wouldn't advise against reading/listening to this but equally I'm not sure I can recommend it either. I guess it just wasn't my cup of tea.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 27-06-2015

shocking and sad

Where does Under the Skin rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It was by far the most disturbing, I saw the movie and this was 100 times better

What other book might you compare Under the Skin to, and why?

To kill a mockingbird. That book changed many peoples ideas of attitudes they had always held dear. This book changed my attitude to animal farming.I became a Vegan after reading it. I know sounds dramatic and it surprised me too. 55 year old blokes dont usually act in such a way!

Have you listened to any of Gerri Halligan’s other performances? How does this one compare?

N/A

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes but it involved a Butchers knife so I will let you find out

Any additional comments?

This book haunted me for a while, but made me unexpectedly act

3 people found this helpful

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  • MR
  • 27-03-2014

wow

Would you listen to Under the Skin again? Why?

yes

Who was your favorite character and why?

the main character issaley is very complex

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

the story makes you think, it is a strange tale

3 people found this helpful

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  • Dinah
  • 27-03-2014

This Book Will Get 'Under Your Skin'

Where does Under the Skin rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

'Under the Skin' is one of the best audiobooks I've listened to. All the way through, it held my attention. I wanted to know what would happen next and so had to listen to it at one sitting.

What did you like best about this story?

Although this is a combination of a science fiction and horror story, it is a very personally involving story which unravels as a mystery/thriller.

What does Gerri Halligan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The narrative by Gerri Halligan is very sympathetic; the use of accent and intonation of the character makes the story even more engaging.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I was moved by the 'humanising' of the main character as she begins to identify with people and with her environment.

Any additional comments?

I am so pleased to have listened to this excellent audiobook with its engrossing story. I am very much looking forward to the film of this story. Having listened to the audiobook will make me appreciate the film even more.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Matthew
  • 20-01-2020

Maybe if you’re not Scottish

I’m 30 mins in and the Groundskeeper Willie accent is so distracting and disappointing that I would consider a petition for someone to re-record the official version of this book.
Nothing against the woman who tried but it’s honestly dumbfounding that not a single Scottish actor/actress was asked.
If we ever get independence and people ask why we cared enough, I’ll let them hear this and ask if they wouldn’t have wanted the same. It’s honestly ridiculous that a book set in Scotland can’t be enjoyed by Scottish people.
I want so badly to continue with the story as the film is a personal favourite. SMH.

1 person found this helpful

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  • newyorkhereicome
  • 25-11-2015

Dreadful writing and accents even worse

Any additional comments?

I couldn't bear to listen to more than 30 minutes
Reading voice ok but accents were dreadful

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Alisdair
  • 08-12-2014

Uncomfortable listening

What did you like best about Under the Skin? What did you like least?

The concept of the story was the reason I bought this book. Sadly this was too far from my expected listening experience.

What could Michel Faber have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

I'm sure that he was true to the story he wanted to tell, however this book was not to my tastes, with its harrowing subtext and ending.

What does Gerri Halligan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Builds the tension in the story well.

Do you think Under the Skin needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No - the ending left the story concluded and I would not want a follow up to the story.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Betty
  • 08-07-2014

Strange, mysterious and raw

Would you consider the audio edition of Under the Skin to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version of this book however I have seen the film it is quite different then the film in that it is Isserley's internal dialoge which drives the book. So you get quite a different experiance although no less powerful or eerie.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Under the Skin?

That would be telling!

Which character – as performed by Gerri Halligan – was your favourite?

The book was well read and I enjoyed the narration, some of the scots accents (I am scottish myself) were strange but this almost added to the oddness which the Isserley would have regarded them with, so it wasn't an issue.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I felt a lot of sympathey for the main character and the themes explored in the book really made me think a great deal about how they are reflected in our society, it was ultimately a very moving book.

Any additional comments?

Strange and disconcerting book but also complusive. I listened to the audiobook version of this and loved it. The book seems to be a comment on humanity or perhaps our dualistic nature capable of fine feeling, curiousity and wonder and at the same time of terrible almost unthinking cruelty and inhumaneness in the daily grind of our struggle to survive. Highly recommended!

1 person found this helpful