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The Brilliant & Forever

by Kevin MacNeil

They say everyone has a book in them and that is certainly the case on this Scottish island where everyone is working on a story – including Archie the alpaca. A cross between metafiction, farce and tragicomedy, this surreal celebration of the art of writing is also a sharp satire on literary pretensions and the publishing industry. Give yourself a tonic, suspend disbelief - and immerse yourself in the wacky world of these endearing characters.

Extract

A shadow fell on the table, startling us both. I grinned up at Ray Genovese, tenacious but embittered middle-aged writer and waiter... Unlike others, I never call him by his sarcastic nickname, 'Ray of Sunshine’. People are cruel.
'Hi Ray ,' I said. 'What are you working on?'
'Yeah, just stuff,' he said in his weary way. He held up a jug of filter coffee. 'So?'
'You doing bottomless cup now?' I asked.
'Nope, owner’s watching and charging anyone who accepts.'
'Stealth charge', said Archie. 'Capitalist fiend.'
'I think we’ll make like Archie’s cycling proficiency test and somehow pass,' I said. 'Ray, seriously, what are you working on at the moment?'
He shrugged. 'I was working on my autobiography. But I had to give it up due to an inherent failure of the form.'
'Huh?'
Ray let out a small sigh. 'See, a book about the self has no meaning in life has no fixed form, no lasting identity. The self being an illusion, autobiography is innately fiction. In any case it would be tedious to just have one self all the time.'
There was silence. Quite a long one.

Parallels

Explorers of the New Century by Magnus Mills
If On a Winter's Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino
 

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