Worth it for a bevy of reasons, but unmissable for the story “Tabitha Warren.” In it, a writer objects to a newspaper obituary of reclusive author Tabitha Warren, whose debut book was “A Dog Life,” a view of the world, and a failing marriage, through the eyes of a Jack Russell terrier. But Tabitha (“who never got the hang of being human”) has outdone herself. Her final book, which only the writer has seen, is “pure cat. A book that cats would read if cats themselves would read, if cats could read.” An excerpt from the “illicit scribblings” follows. But there’s nothing illicit. Tabitha’s right: this is cat language, and only fearless Faber would dare convey it.
In “Explaining Coconuts,” he transforms a Jakarta lecture by the provocative Miss Soedhono — she’s the darling of the coconut lecture circuit — into a porn satire. In “Finesse,” a dictator faces heart surgery by a woman doctor whose husband and child he holds as political prisoners. The actual and the cyber collide in “Mouse,” with a real mouse as the kicker. Faber at his best is a talisman owned by the surreal and on loan to short stories. He attempts tricks no one else even tries and bags the most of them.
Beware, released in the United States as “Vanilla Bright like Eminem,” another story title. Shame on shameless publishers.