Some Rain Must Fall Michel Faber (Canongate £8.99) Scotland has a new force in literature. One which, with the publication of his first book of short stories, will reveal an author with a sackful of ideas and the skill to create characters strong enough to carry those ideas through.

Truth be told, Michel Faber is neither natural born Scot nor virgin author. The 38-year-old was born in the Netherlands, emigrated to Australia with his parents at the age of seven and moved to the seaboard wilds of Ross-Shire with his wife, Eva, six years ago. And he comes with a bottom drawer brimming with manuscripts, although he has never attempted to get any of them published.

’It’s the isolation which is most attractive,’ says Faber of his current home. ’The only time I see people from the village is every Tuesday when I go on a free bus provided by Sommerfield supermarket. I get on with these old ladies, we do all our shopping and I come back with all these plastic bags and carry them a quarter of a mile up the farm road.’

It would be wrong, however, to perceive Faber as a chronicler of isolation. The pallet from which he draws his characters is vast, from Australian sex shops to future realities, from underground contemporary London to the mind-numbing boredom of the production line. And his skill is to create immense compassion for his characters, whether they are worthy of it or not.

‘Every character in the book is and isn't me,’ insists Faber. ’I work at them all until they feel real to me, rather than as constructs. I think the danger of writing stories that have very strong ideas is that sometimes the characters just end up looking like excuses for carrying the ideas around.’

Faber was first published after Eva persuaded him to enter a short story for the Scotland on Sunday/MacaI/an prize, which he won. He has a loving relationship, a perfect home, his first book of short stories is being published to critical acclaim and 'four or five novels

Michel Faber: isolation awarded

ready for whoever wants to make a move on them,’ yet Faber confesses that he is not happy.

‘l’ve got baggage from my childhood which prevents me from enjoying life as much as I could,’ he explains. ’What I am trying to do through my writing is tackle a lot of subjects which involve heartbreak and negativity and sadness, and try to see compassion and humour and rays of optimism within those topics. Rather than write about very cheerful things I tend to go for the darkest areas but see something there other than darkness.’

This ability to see the humanity of a situation coupled with an incisive feel for character, will leave Faber’s readers anticipating the pleasure of those unpublished novels. (Thom Dibdin)


Iolloang the Io'tunes of Ira Ringold,

I Married A Communist Philip Roth (Jonathan Cape £I6.99)

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a teiz'tati‘ of her

seoavatton th I’h'llo Roth, ne' ex has penned a "ove' about a Iia=.‘.ed Itlt‘tli'SI destroyed by n‘airtage to a l)|I(I“/, (aw-nous a('..'ess

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(oueter, the iohera ‘deaf

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"adding tne I’u"t.’e' II‘e g'ate and

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First writes

Putting debut authors under the microscope. This issue: Gordon Grice.

Who he? (iovdoe (rites 'Tne fiiat k \t"‘/:do\.'." \.'.as :n( luded III the presttg'ous Best Amer/(an lssays 1996 and, through this, INS agent thougnt II a good Idea to tu'n his oassto't :nto a t'uII-Iengti‘: book He tea( hes Ilurnanxtles and Lngltsi‘. at Sexuard (ounty (onwnu'tltv College at liner'aL, Kansas and lites Ill .vui‘aI Oklahoma \‘JIIII his t.‘.""e and the ,r tIu'ee-year-old

His debut It's called The Red llongI. ss

[.Ives Of The Predators and detalls his ()\'.'I obsession \.'.'Ith deadly creepy- vavIes Will Self Isa fan ’I '\.'~.()I"(*(l II do\.'.'n,' he drooIs o", the (over

Basically Baslt aily, it's a stow of a (oIIec tor of natural horn killers mt'n skin-t I'a\‘.’I|!t(} descnut:ons of then" lures and loves and |a<evattons IIIIIK ted on the hunted VEHthltt(:tt(I(‘I'1(‘I)Id(I\ ‘.‘.’I(I()\.'. 's 'nate whose 'nnards are

su( ked out during (opulatton, a< to" they C avey, nest known tor nts 'oIes In Johv‘ \."‘\/ayee \"Jesteres who died tron‘ a “eart attac K atter newg oltten on the set of Red HIT/(V, a mite-inonth-oid boy who found a raffle: oestde m: i". 'ns o‘ayoe" deu'etooed oroned‘,’ due to the httes Ie<elved

his ne".'ous system has never

First line test 'I hunt htac k \.‘\.|do‘.‘. sliders \‘v’nen I ted one, I capture 22'

Laugh ratio I‘ dest r'Iotvons of the may a ratt5es"ake's tongue moves like a nerson eat Hg a o'ece o‘ fett=..( me o' dogs trying to ug) eat "‘ others testzt *es oil ()I the tat t'(s used by a ta'antu’a to trap, gun and destroy a (m I\et make you gu“ax'., t'en you're In tor a laugh


For whom the book is credited 'I o! “MV, Patke' a"d Ainlene'

[8.1,ij [)onatdso'”



[mes (If [he Predators ‘s {nun/meet." h', Awe/r lane at 1.7.190

[he Red Homo/ass

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