0 Black Snow Mikhail Bulgakov (Flamingo £2.95) Timely re-issue to coincide with Brian Wright’s solo performance during the Edinburgh Festival (at the Assembly Rooms 8—17 Aug, Gilded Balloon 18—30 Aug) of the thinly-veiled and unfinished story of how Bulgakov came to write The White Guard, and
; particularly the abortive staging of his tragic play Moliere by the
Moscow Art Theatre. A savage satire in which the legendary Stanislavsky is caricatured
0 Where the Apple Ripens Jessie Kesson (Hogarth £2.95) Stories in euphonions prose which bear witness to a childhood spent in a church-going, radio-riveted community which readers acquainted with Another Time, Another Place will recognise as the North-East of Scotland, that bleak, blighted, windswept, dreich
, quagmire where the furrows run off 5 into eternity.
o The House of the Spirits Isabel
f Allende (Black Swan £3.95) A
Tolstoyan-type saga set in Latin
America, it bristles with intrigue and-
an eccentric cast of characters. Readable and absorbing; it runs the gamut ofemotions from A—Z, upper and lower case.
0 Scotland Rediscovered
. Photographs by Dennis Hardley,
text by Sir Harry Boyne (Batsford £10.95) Chocolate box, coffee table tome of mainly familiar scenes but with one or two surprises; Stonehaven in the gloamin’, and reekin’ Arrochar. o Collected Short Stories Jean Stafford (Hogarth Press £3.95) Jean Stafford’s powerful short stories, set against a wide canvas of backgrounds, reveal an underlying theme of the individual’s struggle against alienation, both social and personal. They draw upon the author's own myriad of emotional experiences, her sensitive observation of human behaviour and are instantly compassionate and compelling. Written with fine style, they also portray Stafford’s measure of rich story-telling ability. (Shelley Rose) 0 Peregrinatlons oi a Pariah Flora Tristan (Virago £4.95) The story of a French woman‘s travels in Peru to lay a vain claim to her father's fortune mingled with romantic interludes and her battle to break her marriage and retain custody of her children at a time when divorce in France was illegal. o Collected Short Stories Graham Greene (Penguin £3.95) Tales from Greeneland first published in three
FIRST OF E—OME To
volumes —— May We Borrow Your Husband." . A Sense of Reality and Twenty-One Stories. The blurb quotes an encomium from The Scotsman so they must be good. Mustn‘t they?
0 Scottish Local History David Moody (Batsford £7.95) Comprehensive. questioning guide to sources of local information - libraries. record offices. archives — as well as useful hints on tackling research and writing it up. and publishing books. ‘It is a mistake'. says Moody. ‘to think a single review will make a profound difference to sales‘. True. very true. but we do our best.
0 The Penguin World Omnibus of Science Fiction Edited by Brian Aldiss and Sam J. Lundwall (Penguin £3.50) Around the universe in 26 stories.
0 The Bridge Iain Banks (MacMillan £9.95) The Wasp Factory and Walking on Glass earned Iain Banks the reputation as a novelist with an uncontrollable imagination whose penchant for the nasty verged on the sick. Nonetheless many recognised an uncommon talent amid the sensation, and this third novel confirms he is a writer of real and resourceful power. The action of The Bridge covers six amnesiac months during which John Orr fights for his life, and mental well-being, after a car accident. Dream and reality merge as he relives his past from his phantasmagoric residence on the Bridge.
All goes swimmineg at first. His rehabilitation is in the hands of the conscientious, gullible psychiatrist Dr Joyce and his accommodation is up to BUPA standard. But his dreams will not release him from torment and his stay on the Bridge turns into a Kafka—esque nightmare as all efforts to uncover the root of its near-anarchic society and faceless government evaporate. He is moved to less commodious surroundings and his dreams become more intense and lurid, reaching a high state of kinkiness when'a Field Marshall has his skull gun-butted while taking liberties with a pig tied to a four-poster.
This was the hallmark of the old Iain Banks; the Mark 111 model is seen to best effect in a sequence of straight flashbacks in which Orr revisits Scotland. He evokes convincingly, and as well as anyone, the peculiar ambience of student Edinburgh from the Hendrix- inspired hippy years through disastrous Devolution days to the 1985 Festival, ‘the cultural
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equivalent of a thousand-bomber
Demotic Glaswegian, hysterical
stream ofconsciousness, and
well-tempered ‘Queen’s English’
carry Banks’ eccentric cast al
well-defined paths which have been trodden before by Alasdair Gray,
54 The List 8 — 21 August
D.M. Thomas and others. but rarely to such effect. I hesitate to describe him as ‘an authoritative new voice in Scottish fiction'. for it is a tag, to judge by comments in The Bridge, he clearly treats with some scepticism, but that may well be what he is. (Alan