[Reading Room] Vanilla Bright Like Eminem by Michel Faber

In “Vanilla Bright Like Eminem” by Michel Faber, a father sits with his family on a train, traveling through Scotland. A passing mention of the inadequate overhead luggage racks drew me into a story that ended with me blinking furiously and which I know I’ll remember for a long, long time.

Faber didn’t describe the gorgeous scenery whisking past the window. He didn’t spend any time at all describing the train (only that their bags were on a seat because they were too big for the overhead rack), but just that detail made the setting seem real for me (I’ve traveled on a lot of Scottish trains).

This story also featured an interesting trick I haven’t come across too often: the flash forward. Rather than tell the story in flash back, the story just unfolds and then gives us a glimpse of the future. It’s more than a gimmick though. It really works.

You can listen to the story here”