The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber
The apparently ‘right’ sort of missionary, motivated by love of his flock and the genuine belief that they need to hear what he has to tell them, heads off to a colony world to minister to the indigenes. While his mission takes off, the world back home falls apart, reported by his wife, first in a classic ‘mustn’t grumble’ sort of tone as natural disasters kill hundreds of thousands and the supermarkets slowly run out of food, and then with more and more horror and disbelief, all the while that our guy’s faith grows and flourishes. As it turns out, what the locals want is the one thing he can’t provide.
Anyway. So many reasons to love this. At first I was driven mad by the lack of curiosity shown by the humans on the colony world, but that too has plot significance. The totally bewildered disorientation that our hero feels upon arrival reminded me of my first and worst ever case of jetlag. We had flown out to Bangladesh (by Bangladesh Biman airways: never again) and arrived mid afternoon. It was decided we all needed a kip before getting on with the day. I awoke at 8pm. It was dark, I thought it was 8am, I couldn’t understand why we were eating such an unusual breakfast and I was miserable as hell.