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Some Rain Must Fall

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Overview

Michel Faber's short stories are markedly diverse-the voice of each is so distinct that the book reads like an anthology of different writers. But Faber's radically inventive style fastens all fifteen stories into a compelling collection deserving of the high praise it garnered in the United Kingdom. One surreal story, "Fish," projects a futuristic world populated with fish swimming in the air. As sharks hover in abandoned corners and human zealots of the Church of the Armageddon loose their fanaticism on the ...

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Some Rain Must Fall: And Other Stories

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Overview

Michel Faber's short stories are markedly diverse-the voice of each is so distinct that the book reads like an anthology of different writers. But Faber's radically inventive style fastens all fifteen stories into a compelling collection deserving of the high praise it garnered in the United Kingdom. One surreal story, "Fish," projects a futuristic world populated with fish swimming in the air. As sharks hover in abandoned corners and human zealots of the Church of the Armageddon loose their fanaticism on the innocent, it's a mother's full-time job to protect her young daughter. The title story, "Some Rain Must Fall," tells of a substitute schoolteacher called on in a crisis, and as she encourages her pupils to express their feelings, we learn the source of the class's trouble: a devastating act that resonates with contemporary America. As Garth Morris wrote in the Mail on Sunday (London), "these are well-crafted pieces of quiet forlorn intensity in a very real world."

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Young writers are meant to have a strong, individual new voice. Michel Faber doesn't: he has a whole host of them. . . . Some Rain Must Fall has an astonishing variety of themes, characters, and styles.
Duncan McLean
Young writers are meant to have a strong, individual new voice. Michel Faber doesn't: he has a whole host of them. . . . Some Rain Must Fall has an astonishing variety of themes, characters, and styles.
Independent (London)
His sense of wonder and big-heartedness calls to mind the better stories of Ray Bradbury, and he has a wonderful ability to push a whimsy to its extreme with magical results.
Guardian (London)
You don't often see satire stirred with so humane a hand, or tragedy handled with so light a touch.
Publishers Weekly
Readers who were fascinated by Under the Skin, Faber's cleverly grotesque social satire about human animals, will find plenty more where that came from in this beguilingly bizarre collection of 15 short stories. Faber works from a number of different conceits, one of his favorites being to take an ordinary perspective and reverse it, which he does with great imagination in "Toy Story," a whimsical yarn about a wandering young God who finds a ball-shaped planet earth to play with while rummaging in the rubbish. He takes an analogous approach in "Sheep," a tongue-in-cheek meditation about the nature of art in which five New York City artists are spirited away to Scotland under false pretenses for a visit to the nonexistent Alternative Centre of the World. Occasionally the conceits get away from him, though, most notably in "Accountability," a strange, over-the-top account of a poverty-stricken woman facing an abortion: she writes a detailed financial request to NASA after reading about the $23-million toilet required for the mission. "Nina's Hand" has similar problems, as it is told exclusively and somewhat obsessively from the viewpoint of a young woman's hand. As entertaining and interesting as Faber can be, solid character development is relatively rare in these stories. In "The Tunnel of Love," however, the quality of characterizations matches that of the premise, as an unemployed young ad man who takes a job hustling patrons at a porn theater falls in love with the woman who runs the theater's bookshop. That story represents the best work of a fast-developing talent, in a collection well stocked with impressive stylistic snapshots. (Aug.) Forecast: This is a nice counterpoint to ArthurBradford's higher-profile Dogwalker (Knopf; Forecasts, July 23), rivaling it in weirdness but favoring sophistication over carefully calibrated innocence. Bradford buyers might be happily steered toward it. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156011488
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/20/2001
  • Series: Harvest Original Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 276
  • Sales rank: 684,316
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Michel Faber

Michel Faber's work has been published in twenty countries and received several literary awards. He lives in Scotland.

Biography

Watch your step. Keep your wits about you; you will need them.

Thus Michel Faber lures readers into the Victorian saga of The Crimson Petal and the White, a novel that has earned Faber comparisons to Charles Dickens and delivered on the promise of his first, markedly different novel Under the Skin. Petal is an exhaustively researched chronicle of 1870s London as seen through the eyes of a young prostitute whose ambition carries her (and the reader) to higher levels in society. Faber's come-hither approach to writing the book jives with both his characters and his approach to reading. "I use the metaphor of a novel being like a prostitute, promising the reader a good time, promising intimacy and companionship," he says in a publisher's interview. "Ironically, even though you feel at first that you're being strung along by this beguiling voice, you do end up getting everything it promised you. And more, I hope."

Faber seduced readers with a predatory protagonist in the sci-fi-like Under the Skin. He brings his audience in league with Isserley, an otherworldly character who preys on human men in Scotland for their body parts, then sends the fruits of her labor back to her home territory. Faber's potency as a writer lies in his ability to lead the reader into a story with a number of matter-of-fact details, some sticking out more than others -- things don't get completely strange in Under the Skin until Isserley happens to flick a switch in her car and needles emerge from the passenger seat, sedating the hitchhiker she's picked up.

"The more the writer tries to force the reader to regard something as amazing and special, the more suspicious and bored the reader will become," Faber said in an interview with the Barcelona Review in 2002. "The reader needs to feel that the weirdness or the beauty or the horror in a story has an independent reality from what anyone says about it. That’s an illusion, of course: the writer is responsible. But the illusion is essential." Faber succeeds in crafting these illusions, whether they are the stuff of real life or fantasy. As the New York Times noted in its impressed and bemused review of Under the Skin, "His writing is chaste, dryly humorous and resolutely moral. The fantastic is so nicely played against the day-to-day that one feels the strangeness of both..."

It's evident from these two novels and from the short story collection Some Rain Must Fall, which mixes fantastic and humdrum settings, that Faber knows no bounds when it comes to genre or milieu. Like his protagonists, he can take his strengths into foreign territories, succeeding by coercion if necessary.

Good To Know

The first third of The Crimson Petal and the White was serialized online at the Guardian's web site.

One of Faber's early publisher bios said that "he has worked as a nurse, a pickle-packer, a cleaner, and a guinea pig for medical research."

In 2002, Faber published a novella called The Courage Consort, which has not yet been released in the U.S.

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    1. Hometown:
      A remote cottage in Ross-shire, Scottish Highlands
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 13, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      The Hague, Netherlands
    1. Education:
      Melbourne University
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

Some Rain Must Fall 1
Fish 21
In Case of Vertigo 31
Toy Story 37
Miss Fatt and Miss Thinne 47
Half a Million Pounds and a Miracle 71
The Red Cement Truck 83
Somewhere Warm and Comfortable 91
Nina's Hand 101
The Crust of Hell 115
The Gossip Cell 147
Accountability 161
Pidgin American 175
The Tunnel of Love 201
Sheep 235
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