Blind faith

Having had a go at the NHS and Scottish journalists, CHRISTOPHER BROOKMYRE is setting his sights on religious fundamentalism.

Words: Stephen Naysmith

When your central characters are unbalanced psychotics. disturbed cops. law-breaking journalists and self-abusing porn starlets. you don’t really want to be associated with them. So it is with much chagrin that (‘hristopher Brookmyre answers questions about where he finds the inspiration for his off-beat thrillers.

‘If you say your writing is personal. people tend to think that means it is autobiographical. which is very frustrating] ne says. Still. the question arises again with his new novel Not The liml ()f The World. with its LA independent film festival setting. where low-budget thrill—rnakers punt movies about guys with guns and girls whose clothes are missing. Brookmyre. who worked on trade mag Screen International in a previous incarnation. has been to such festivals. has he not'.’ ‘We would set up in West Ilollywood and produce the magazine from there.‘ he recalls. ‘You would get lots of flash gits in suits in a posh hotel going around punting really shit films. When you hear “independent films" you think of the (‘oen Brothers of intelligent. cerebral. cutting edge film- making. But the vast majority is schedule-filling fodder. just commodities. No matter what the movie. they would have a big guy on the cover with a gun. That. or a scantily-clad woman.’

Brookmyre‘s debut Quite (lg/y ()rre .l/Inrrring was a huge success. spending weeks in the top ten when it

92 THE “ST 25 Jun—9 Jul 1998

The truth is, if his life was as exciting as his books, he wouldn't have time to write them.


Christopher Brookmyre: LA storyteller

came out in paperback in 1997. Its mysteriously linked killings was hung around a brutally satirical look at .\'IIS lunacy. The follow-up. ('ormrry ()f The Blind. used the same central character. journalist Jack I’arlabanc. to aim a few swipes at the workings of a national newspaper in an imposing building based in central Iidinburgh. Incidentally. Brookmyre Used to work for Scotsman Publications and his wife works in the NHS. If he has a gripe he likes to get it off his chest.

So. Brookmyre's books are personal but the truth is. if his life was as exciting as his books. he would never have time to write them. "I‘he new novel is probably my most ambitious because it is one of the most deeply felt things I've ever written.‘ he says. ‘I wanted to explore the general absurdities about religion. not jtrst on a grand scale but its impact at a locer level. like religious bigotry in Scotland.'

If that sounds heavy. don't worry. I)ense content is becoming a trademark. with any analysis is leavened with more than hefty doses of humour and action. Not The lz'ml (If The World may be Brookmyre‘s first book set outside Scotland but the local link is kept via protagonist. Scottish photographer Steff Kennedy. Sent to cover the slea/y movie market for a trade magazine. he ends up entangled with a porn star and a bunch of (‘hristian fundamentalists who want to destroy her as a Iirst step in obliterating the festering Sodom and (iomorralt of l..'\.

Throw in Brookmyre‘s extremely cynical take on Millennial fever and you have what the New Seierrtisr described as ‘an apocalyptic romp'. To his preference. they also described it as ‘hyper-intelligent‘. ‘Iivery time I hear the word "romp" I think of Barbara Windsor‘s bra popping off in (any ()n Camping.~

Not The End Of The World is published by Little, Brown on Thu 2 Jul at £12.99. The paperback of Country Of The Blind is published on the same day by Abacus at £6.99.

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