In these seventeen daring and inventive stories, bestselling author Michel Faber flirts with a variety of characters and settings. At turns humorous and darkly hopeful, all feature breaking points in characters lives, in which they experience emotions that are often foreign to them.In the title story, 'Vanilla Bright Like Eminem," a seemingly uneventful family train ride down through the Scottish Highlands to Inverness also happens to the moment of purest joy in a father’s life. In "Flesh Made of Flesh," a Victorian industrialist with a fascination for taxidermy sets out to literally stuff members of the lower orders and ends up making an exhibit of himself. In "Mouse," a young computer geek is forced to come out hiding and interact with the girl from downstairs, who turns out to be equally obsessed with a New Age religion. In "Fitness," a dictator must trust his life to the woman doctor whose husband and children he has imprisoned. In "The Smallness of Action," a distressed mother "breaks" her baby in increasingly more severe ways, while her husband remains oblivious. In "Explaining Coconuts," a woman erotically demonstrates the benefits of the coconut for an audience of clammy executives. In "Serious Swimmers," a young mother recovering from heroin addiction takes her son on a supervised outing to the local swimming pool.From cybergeek to dictator, young child to 19th-century industrialist, the stories in VANILLA BRIGHT LIKE EMINEM all touch on the most basic of human emotion in settings that are both fantastic and mundane. Insightful, wise, and always entertaining, this is a book by a writer at the height of his powers.The New York Times - Janet Maslin…when Mr. Faber, who wrote the intoxicating novel The Crimson Petal and the White, shoehorns the name Eminem into the title of a literary short-story collection, he isn't overreaching. Naming his book Vanilla Bright Like Eminem is not an affectation. These stories blend darkly phantasmagoric elements with humorously commonplace ones, and Eminem makes a perfectly good avatar for that kind of thinking.