FIN

(Picador) 2000

FIN is an autobiographical novel about a man whose greatest fear is that one day he will be eaten by a great white shark. At the end of the book, he confronts that fear.

I suppose you could call this a “cult novel”: ie it sold bugger all but the people who love it REALLY love it. It came out of a conversation I had with my friend Tim Rostron when I was casting around trying to decide what book to write next. “Write about the things that most interest you”, he said. So I constructed a book about drugs, shark fear and gardening. Then I cut out the gardening because it was too much.

You will like if: you’re scared of being eaten by a shark; you enjoy reading riffs and horror stories about sharks (the ones in Fin really are first class); you enjoy grimey – but nonetheless wrily comical – detail about recreational drug use, male sex fantasies, masturbation and toenail-clipping; you are into obscure late Nineties indie music. Girls, especially, seem to love this book because it shows them how men REALLY think. It’s much more honest than, say, Nick Hornby.

You will dislike if: you really care about plots (there is one, but only just); you dislike raw honesty; you are left wing. Personally I think the only major flaw is the flouncing gay character, whom I introduced mainly to show that even though I’m jolly right wing I’m quite endearingly liberal on social issues. But I think he just comes across as mawkish. Also I’ve gone right off the man I based him on, who I now realise is a pompous tit.

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Journalist, Author and Broadcaster