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It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter’s teachings—his Bible is their “book of strange new things.” But Peter is rattled when Bea’s letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea’s faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter.
Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance, and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse, is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable. While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival. Their trials lay bare a profound meditation on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us.
The Book of Strange New Things was involved in pretty much all the big boom prize things I saw last year but the reviews of the people I trust were all over the place. One raving the other not able to finish reading it. Situations like that always make me curious about a book. I am not sure if I had picked up this book otherwise. I am not much on other planet alien stuff or religion which is exactly what this book is about if you read the back of the book. The thing that kept me reading though was the community psychology.
Peter annoyed me bit... maybe a lot. Acting naive with his past. Maybe even a bit dumb made that I could not take him serious. This is actually addressed at some point in the book but the explanation came to late to redeem my feeling for Peter. I did understand his reaction to life on earth though. If things are so far it is easier to disconnect and just get pulled in your new life.
I had a difficult time with the correspondence between Bea an Peter. He is giving us this idea about her but she did not even come close to living up to it in the way she communicated with him. I am still not sure what happened there to justify her reaction.
The community in the Usic compound could have made an interesting story of their own. The revelations about the needed psychological and social requirements to be eligible to travel to Oasis made that group really interesting and I would have loved to know more about that community.