The enigmatic photograph of Michel Faber which appears on the jacket flap of The Fahrenheit Twins, his second collection of short stories, provides a clue to his literary ambition. Eschewing the conventional author’s portrait which is so often judged a necessity by publishers these days, Faber appears as an isolated figure shrouded in a hooded anorak. He is walking away from us, partially obscured by what could be falling snow or sunlight flaring in the camera’s lens. It is an ambiguous image – perhaps he is leading us out of the comfortable world we know, or perhaps he is leaving us behind, disappearing from view.
The seventeen stories collected here vary tremendously in subject. In one of them a nineteenth-century tannery-owner kills a girl in order to add her to the stuffed creatures he collects; in another, the drummer of North Ayrshire’s premier death-metal band suffers a breakdown; in a third, a sick African dictator