Meet the hot stars of 2008
Talent issue - the novelist: Joe Stretch
Saturday 29 December 2007
Like many sulphurous satirists before him, Manchester musician-turned-novelist Joe Stretch skewers the present and the recent past by imagining a grotesque future.
Born in 1982, Stretch studied politics at Manchester University, and joined the eclectic electro-pop quartet Performance as vocalist and lyricist. He's still attached to the university as a participant in the creative-writing programme headed by Martin Amis. And Amis, of all people, should appreciate the incendiary blast of sensuality and savagery that hisses off the pages of Stretch's debut novel, Friction (published by Vintage on 4 March).
In fact, the twisted and dystopian sexuality of Michel Houellebecq's novels may strike readers of Friction as a more direct influence than Amis. Here, Houellebecq does Manchester: the buzzing bars of Castlefield, Withington and the Northern Quarter become killing-grounds of love and hope as Stretch's pleasure-hunting, joy-deprived quintet of characters flee from the pain of being human, and aspire to the condition of feeling-free sex-machines.
Stretch's science-fiction frame adds a frisson of horror to this tale, but the heart of Friction lies in its not-too-exaggerated vision of a culture of sensation-hungry escapism. Raw, wild, aflame with ideas, Friction will bring a kill-or-cure medicinal shock to our post-boom hangover.
Portrait by Ged Murray
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
- 5 9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
Fast & Furious 7 overtakes Frozen to become 5th highest grossing movie of all time
Poldark, series 1 finale, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
Apprentice series 11: Claude Littner to replace Nick Hewer as Lord Sugar's aide
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 3, review: Sansa and manhood-lopping torturer Ramsay Bolton - really?
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'