Under the Skin is more intriguing in set-up than execution, I think. The mystery was fairly obvious to me, but that might be because I’d heard hints, and rumours surrounding Scarlett Johansson’s role in the film. The opening works best, with the slow atmosphere, the mystery that obviously is not a mystery to the main character but which is nonetheless just hinted at, the obvious misdirection. But you know it can’t really be as simple as it seems, and that kind of spoils the set up.
The rest of the story… it’s okay. But mostly it feels really obvious; the description of the story as an allegory reminds me of Tolkien’s cordial dislike for allegory — you can really see why, because it feels clumsy and obvious.
It’s interesting in the way it tries to set things up, and interesting in that it works to subvert your expectations. Ultimately, it didn’t work for me, though, and I don’t really find myself with much to say about it, especially because you can’t give away too much or you spoil it. Perhaps it’s not surprising, since I haven’t got along that well with anything else by Michel Faber either.