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Book Title: Gods speelgoed|
The author of the book: Michel Faber
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 2621 times
Reader ratings: 7.3
Date of issue: 2004
ISBN 13: 9789057591518
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 748 KB
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Some Rain Must Fall: And Other Stories is a collection by Michel Faber, all stories published in 2000. I'm a great fan of The Crimson Petal and the White and The Book of Strange New Things and after Faber transported me to strange new worlds with each new novel, I was curious where he'd take me with fifteen short stories, particularly which genre they'd fall under. Only two or three qualify as science fiction; the others are slices of contemporary life. Like a visit to Loch Ness in Faber's adopted home of Scotland, I felt like a tourist waiting for something amazing to surface. Results like that were inconsistent, but the characters and scenery were memorable.
-- "Some Rain Must Fall." Frances Strathairn is no normal substitute teacher. The circumstances which brought her to Rotherey Elementary School and the Primary 6 classroom of her predecessor Mrs. Macshane slowly reveal themselves to the reader through the essays she's instructed her pupils to write on the subject of "About Me, My School and My Teacher." Meanwhile, Frances considers whether her relationship with her partner Nick needs crisis management. This story hit me in the gut and sent me tumbling down a small flight of stairs. Faber's focus is so unique and compelling for a story approaching the subject matter that it does. ***** (5 stars).
-- "Fish." Janet and her daughter Kif Kif exist in a world where our sea creatures now swim through the air instead of the ocean. I wouldn't be surprised if Faber wrote this while serving a jury duty summons while someone sitting next to him watched a Studio Ghibli movie on their iPad. ** (2 stars).
-- "In Case of Vertigo." Sister Jennifer holds vigil on a deserted cliff, eating and sleeping in her car near a spot that apparently draw jumpers she is ready to save at a moment's notice. Quick little story with odd formatting choices that never made its character come alive. ** (2 stars).
--"Toy Story." God lives in an abandoned universe where to keep himself busy, he picks through the trash. One of his finds is a perfect blue planet he takes home and begins to conjure thoughts about. I liked the imagination and abbreviated whimsy of this, but didn't care much for it. ** (2 stars).
-- "Miss Fatt and Miss Thinne." Miss Fatt is a voluptuous actress whose career is taking off and her comely roommate Miss Thinne is a community nurse. The pair get along so well they're practically a single organism. What would happen if one day Miss Fatt couldn't stop eating and Miss Thinne couldn't eat? This story is not nearly as obnoxious as it sounds. I kept reading to find out what would become of Miss Fatt and Miss Thinne, intrigued by what might happen to someone who decided to eat constantly or not eat at all. But so far, four of five stories have not measured up to the quality control I expect from Faber. *** (3 stars).
-- "Half a Million Pounds and a Miracle." Robbie is a young stone mason contracted to help restore St. Hilda's, a Catholic church that has laid in ruin for over a century near Invergordon. After the Virgin Mary falls off her pedestal and smashes, Robbie searches for creative and budgetary solutions for repairing the statue to something close to its former glory. He shares his ideas with a young supermarket clerk named Catriona he meets at a disco and she expresses interest in visiting his work site. I love reading stories about people at work and Faber does a marvelous job integrating construction and Scottish culture into a story. **** (4 stars).
-- "The Red Cement Truck." A woman who has just been shot and likely killed in her home by a surprised burglar travels outside her body while her bumbling killer finishes ransacking her home and releases his bowels in her bathroom. Meanwhile, a vehicle pulls to the curb.
The curtains of the living room, which had preserved the privacy, the intimacy, of her encounter with the man who suffering upstairs, rolled aside at a gesture of her hands, flooding her living room with light. It was eleven o'clock in the morning, and the world out there was brilliant with sunshine after a rainy start earlier on. The vehicle which had parked in front of her house, little more than arm's length from her window, was a cement truck so massive that only a section of it could be viewed, as if it were an absurdly enlarged detail from a painting, or a huge close-up filling a cinema screen. The enormous metal barrel was painted deep red, textured by corrosion, aged and weirdly organic. It revolved slowly, glistening with raindrops.
It was easily the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.
Haunting. Like the other two high quality stories so far, this one belongs to the spectral world of the author's science fiction/horror novel Under the Skin. It reminds me of what makes Faber such a unique writer: X-ray vision and bending genres like Superman bends steel. **** (4 stars).
-- "Somewhere Warm and Comfortable." Scott is a thirteen-year-old boy whose priorities are candy, Lego and stealing porn magazines. His sister Christine has been slipping him money their mother has earmarked for the movies or the zoo, buying his silence while Christine secretly visits her boyfriend. Scott wanders the shops getting into boy trouble. Plans change one afternoon when Christine asks her brother to accompany her to a clinic and later, find somewhere she can lay down and rest. Scott chooses an art gallery. Like "Some Rain Must Fall," I appreciated Faber's unique focus on a cultural issue of our day, even if I didn't much like the characters at all. **** (4 stars).
-- "Nina's Hand." What if the right hand of a young woman working in a gherkin factory could develop its own consciousness? Faber imagines it for you. Beguiling and more than a bit spooky. In the late '70s, Sesame Street had a segment on the hand which I remember being a model's hand crawling against a black backdrop. This sent me running out of the living room in terror each time I saw it. **** (4 stars).
-- "The Crust of Hell." Ivan and Ivanka Silbermacher and their teenager Lydia move from Seattle to an army base in the impoverished nation of Bharatan in the Sahara Desert for several weeks. Ivan has been contracted to solve the country's famine problems and believes he is close to figuring out how to make it rain. Ivanka, his Hungarian wife of twenty-three years, wants to support her husband but begins to have her doubts about his decision-making. Lydia is a Goth who sets out to collect experiences she can use as coolness currency back home. Stunning setting, good character work, but the story didn't punch me in the gut. *** (3 stars).
-- "The Gossip Cell." Ed Jerome is an entrepreneur whose relationship with inventor Willie Spink has led to some amazing innovations--like the Sperome Eczema Vaccine--and riches, but none like Willie's latest brainstorm, a "gossip cell" that can talk to other cells and keep a beverage hot for indefinite periods of time. This piece reads like the rough draft of something Faber wrote in the taxi on the way to jury duty; sloppy, missing a piece, confusing. ** (2 stars).
-- "Accountability." Margo is a thirteen year old girl living on a failed farm in rural Australia. Her life is engaged in caring for her infirm grandmother and subverting Frank, her caregiver who reveals he is not actually Margo's biological father. Unable to leave her grandmother for more than two hours or attend school, Margo's education is regimented to a set of How and Why Wonder Books which Frank presents her each year. When Margo appears in a family way, she writes NASA for help. Faber's whimsy really fails him here. I found this story not only depressing, but boring. ** (2 stars).
-- "Pidgin American." Katarzyna (Kasia) is a Polish teenager living in London, where she works as a server at her uncle's restaurant and drifts through the nightlife. She is aware that the world is not what has been promoted on television and has been buying T-shirts in the U.K. with less an eye of going into business in Poland and more survival on her own terms. I really liked this character's voice and Faber's focus on the days and nights of a young immigrant, even if nothing really memorable happens in the story. **** (4 stars).
-- "The Tunnel of Love." Unemployed advertising executive in Melbourne takes a job as a spruiker at the Tunnel of Love, an adult bookstore and peep show. He gets to know his co-workers and gradually falls in love with Karen, the caustic manager of the bookstore whose labor of love are children's books. She helps the narrator hone his sales pitch on the sidewalk and seems appreciative of his company, but rejects his attempts at phone conversation outside of work. There's more humor in this story than any other in the book and with the focus on people at their jobs--with emphasis on a recession--I enjoyed it immensely. ***** (5 stars).
-- "Sheep." Five contemporary young artists in North America receive invitations to address a conference hosted by the Alternative Centre of the World in Scotland. However, the invitation turns out to be a prank by an anonymous trickster offended by the aesthetic of each artist. The three men and two women are left in a village five hours drive from Edinburgh with whatever cash they have on them. Not a bad story. I really enjoy Faber's Scotland-based tales the best. So much local character and atmosphere creeps into these stories which otherwise might not amount to much on the page. His critique of various modes of modern art is laser sharp. **** (4 stars).
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Read information about the authorMichel Faber (born 13 April 1960) is a Dutch writer of English-language fiction.
Faber was born in The Hague, The Netherlands. He and his parents emigrated to Australia in 1967. He attended primary and secondary school in the Melbourne suburbs of Boronia and Bayswater, then attended the University Of Melbourne, studying Dutch, Philosophy, Rhetoric, English Language (a course involving translation and criticism of Anglo-Saxon and Middle English texts) and English Literature. He graduated in 1980. He worked as a cleaner and at various other casual jobs, before training as a nurse at Marrickville and Western Suburbs hospitals in Sydney. He nursed until the mid-1990s. In 1993 he, his second wife and family emigrated to Scotland, where they still reside.
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