The short story is my favourite form, and I’m always looking for new authors who write them (I also think it the most difficult genre in which to write). So, I was very happy to discover Michel Faber. His latest collection, The Fahrenheit Twins
is stark, brutal, brilliant and highly original.
In “The Eyes of the Soul”, an ingenious invention makes life a lot more beautiful for a single mother trapped in a tough urban neighbourhood.
In “Serious Swimmers”, a recovering heroin addict reconnects with her son and is left “blasted open and infused” by a maternal instinct she didn’t know she possessed.
I can barely write about “The Smallness of the Action”, a chilling story about a woman with undiagnosed PPD (I recommend you skip this one if you have any extra hormones in your system right now).
In “Finesse”, the lives of a surgeon’s family depend on her successful operation on a ruthless dictator.
The collection of stories examines society’s outcasts: the mentally ill, addicted, physically deformed, murderous. From how the world sees them to how they see themselves, Faber is bold and bewitching.
Michel Faber lives in the Scottish Highlands. He has written five previous books and has won several short story awards.
I have copies for the first three to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
***Cake or Death
I've missed Heather Mallick
since she left the Globe and Mail. I can't bring myself to buy Chatelaine, so I was making do without her fine, trenchant writing until I saw her new book, Cake or Death:
The Excruciating Choices of Everyday Life.
The book, a collection of original essays, covers a wide range of topics, from why women are more interesting than men, to why you should love to pay taxes. The essays are witty, brash and astute.
I find a lot to agree with Mallick about: the satisfaction to be gleaned from clean, well-ordered home, made so by your own two hands; a love for privacy and Paris; an appreciation for Atwood, Munro, good cheese and Côtes du Rhône; and, of course, her far-to-the-left views.
I think she’s a little harsh on the Americans (her diatribes against Bush are obviously an exception), but I do love someone who speaks her mind. And that she does.
I belong to a group that helps out neighbours in time of need (meals for family with new baby, etc). As you know, I’m a terrible cook but I do have two casseroles I make, plus I can usually hit up McH to help out with potlucks and things.
As luck would have it, I need to make a meal on Monday and McH won’t be able to help. Plus, the family doesn’t eat dairy, and both my casseroles have cheese in them. Any suggestions for me? Preferably something they don’t have to heat in case the weather is hot?