Most of these vivid and unsettling stories are rooted in apparently everyday lives and situations, but suddenly become surreal or disturbing reading them feels sometimes as though you re walking along in the real world and suddenly step off an edge into a void, where rules of gravity and normality have disappeared but life carries on They re full of Woodward's trademark mix of humour, pathos, dysfunctional families and disappointed lives, as well as dazzling moments of illumination, perfect imagery, beautiful writing and intimations of mortality (in A Ford Mondeo and 'Gardening'). But this time there s infidelity ( Pangea Ultima , Milk , Cleopatra , Firemen ), curdled sex ( Firemen again, and 'Chicken Pox ), strange jobs in kitchens and sandwich bars which involve betrayal and revenge (as in Hygiene or Strawberries ). And the title comes from Rape where a caravan (a nice Fleetwood Marauder) seems to have been lifted from its regular berth at Glenmore Caravan Park in the middle of the night to land it and its occupants in a field in the middle of nowhere which leads to unaccustomed and violent fantasies.
Gerard is the author of an acclaimed sequence of novels, August (shortlisted for the 2001 Whitbread First Novel Award), I'll Go to Bed at Noon (shortlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize) and A Curious Earth. He was born in London in 1961, and published several prize-winning collections of poetry before turning to fiction. His latest collection of poetry, We Were Pedestrians was shortlisted for the 2005 T.S.Eliot Prize. He is Lecturer in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and lives in Bath with his family.