Books: fiction





A novel of exiles and roses


GOOD NEWS FROM RIGA is a most unusual story, concerning groups of exiles living in ruined mill buildings in a city which some will recognise as based on Dundee. Resolutely marginalised by the authorities, they dream of their return ‘home’ to a land which few of them can now remember. They are discovered by a wealthy and successful but rather naive doctor who gets drawn into their internal squabbles even as he falls in love.

As the exiles threaten to devour their own young, the doctor looks for an escape for himself and his love, but can hardly imagine the difficulties he will face.

This is a very black comedy of our times.

First published by Stupor Mundi Books, Fife, 2018.  250 pp. paperback £5.99 or e-book £2.99

ISBN 978-1977055712

From Amazon, and on Kobo, Nook and other e-platforms, or direct from Stupor Mundi.



A novel of the Scottish Highlands

GLENFARRON Jonathan Falla.png

Glenfarron is set in a remote area of the Scottish Highlands, and concerns the fortunes of three generations of incomers: Polish aircrew at a military hospital in the 1940s; young Glaswegians inheriting property in the 1970s; and African diplomats in 2006.

The three sections are in markedly contrasted styles: a tragic romance, a psychological haunting, and a comedy of post-colonial hangovers. But many of the characters reappear in all three, as do the locations and the themes: property and theft, the strange effects of cultural collision, the ways we use memory, and love between the mismatched.
Glenfarron is a real achievement.”  Alan Massie, The Scotsman


First published by Two Ravens Press, 2008

Re-issue from Stupor Mundi Books, Fife, 2017

Now available in paperback and as an e-book from Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Amazon and all the usual online retailers.

A novel of South America


This is the novel written courtesy of the Creative Scotland Award I won in 2007. It’s set in Patagonia, South America, between 1905 and 1915, and tells of a French doctor called Matthieu Macanan, a specialist in sexually transmitted diseases, whose reclusive way of life is under threat. He retreats ever further into the wilderness, but all sorts of trouble turns up – not least a beautiful Austrian aviator, and a ship laden with gold.

lucar cover Published in paperback and ebook, May 2013, by Aurora Metro Books (London)



A novel of Sudan

 Poor Mercy cover

Poor Mercy is based on JF’s experiences working with a British aid team in Darfur, Western Sudan, in 1991. The novel centres on two Sudanese working for such a team. Mr Mogga is a refugee from the south of the country. Always the misfit in Darfur, he nonetheless makes himself indispensible to the Europeans through his competence and his dogged good humour. Leila is a Khartoum-trained biologist whose family is in trouble with the security services. The tender and often comical relationship between the two is set against a rapidly worsening political situation. Meanwhile, the team leader, Xavier, must confront the dilemma that faces all aid workers: is the relief team’s very presence not in fact making matters even worse?

“An outstanding novel.”  Sunday Times

Polygon Books (Birlinn), Edinburgh UK, 2005. Now available only in e-book.

THE MORENA and other stories

THE MORENA final for print.png

Two decades of stories widely published and broadcast by the BBC, but collected here for the first time.  The title story was winner of a PEN fiction award and was shortlisted for the 2007 National Short Story Prize.

Published by Stupor Mundi Books, Fife, 2017

Available in paperback and as an e-book from all the usual online retailers.


TERRAFERMA & other stories

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The killing of a mammoth obstructing the tourist routes in the Scottish Highlands, and the death of a terrorist in an attic overlooking the Venetian lagoon. Desperate negotiations with an architect in Iran, and the beating of an aid worker for failing to deliver rain. These are the sort of scenarios that feature in a second collection of stories including the substantial title novella.

Published by Stupor Mundi Books, Fife (2017). Available as an e-book and in paperback from all the usual online sellers.


Published January 2015

a novel of love and rebellion
in Java and Holland

THE WHITE PORCUPINE is a virtuoso novel. It is a mystery, and an exploration of loyalties: father and daughter, lovers and friends, soldiers and nations. Set in Java in the 1940s and the Netherlands in the 1970s, it tells the peculiar story of Ben Pinksterbloem, a military radio expert caught up in a post-colonial drama. Ben is brave, cunning, and ruthless, but in Java he commits the soldier’s ultimate betrayal.

The novel is based on historical events: the Indonesian War of Independence that  ended in 1950, and a series of terrorist “actions” in the Netherlands. It is in part based on a true-life character, A dutch soldier who decided that what his countrymen were doing in Java was wrong, and who switched sides – but at a terrible cost to his family.
The White Porcupine is published in two editions: an e-book from all the usual sites (Kobo, Amazon, Barnes & Noble etc), and a hardback with nice paper, a Dutch typeface of the 1940s, and a very attractive dustjacket. This is a signed and numbered limited edition of 150 copies available from me – get in touch!

porc cov smash 2


ISBN: 978-0-9510596-1-6

Available also from COURTYARD BOOKS, 9 Bonnygate, Cupar, Fife KY15 4BU

Tel. 01334 657890.   Email:

Also as an e-book from Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and the usual sellers.

And from May 2018 in a paperback from Amazon.

ISBN 978-1980720454

366 pages.  £8.99




A novel of Tibet

 poppies first cover

11:9 Books (Neil Wilson Publishing), Glasgow UK 2001
ISBN : 1-903238-5-52
Other editions: Editions Heleniki (Nikas Books, Greece) 2002;  Bantam Dell (New York) 2003; LIKE Books (Finland) 2005.
Now also available as an e-book
Blue Poppies is set in Tibet in 1949-50.  Jamie Wilson, a young Scottish radio operator, is hired by the Tibetan government to set up a listening post in a remote on the Tibetan-Chinese frontier. There he meets Puton, a young woman who has been crippled during a murderous attack on her husband. The love that develops between Jamie and Puton is violently interrupted by the Chinese invasion. As the villagers flee, Jamie travels with them but Puton is left behind…
The book is based in part on Robert Ford’s memoir ‘Captured in Tibet’ (1957), and also on Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘Troilus and Criseyde’ (c.1370).  Other sources include Jamyang Norbu and Sven Hedin.

One thought on “Books: fiction”

  1. Jonathan, I just had the pleasure of reading Blue Poppies. I thought I was in a for a straight up historical romance, but I was delighted by the history, the terrifying fight scenes and the descriptions of landscapes, people, and ping pong games. Brilliant. I couldn’t put it down. Christopher Booker would peg it as an archetypal Voyage and Return story. Have you read his Seven Basic Plots? Anyway, check out my brief review of Blue Poppies in a blog post on my (minimally viewed) website, with some very strange bedfellows. Hope you don’t mind. I can’t wait to read True Love and Bartholomew.

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