0 A Star is Tom Robyn Archer and Diana Simmonds (Virago £7.95) In her introduction Robyn Archer refers to the one-woman show on which this book is based as a ‘theatrical celebration ofthe singers who, via record and film. had informed and shaped my musical education.’ This. then. is a personal selection. ranging in time from Marie Lloyd to Janis Joplin and including characters as different as
Billie Holiday and Marilyn Monroe.
f They are a varied group. but there is a common thread to their stories: all
died young. after lives characterised
l by a misery ill-fitting with their status
5| as stars, not because they were
5 ‘lushes. junkies or ballbreakers‘. but
' because they suffered as women at
the sharp end of a discriminating and
. exploiting society. Many drifted in
l and out ofprostitution; most became
; dependent on drugs or alcohol; all
, were responding to the same burden.
3 The passion needed for their
' ROBERT SHELTON
NO DIRECTION HOME: THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF
In 1961, Robert Shelton, the folk music critic of of the New York Times, . attended a show where Bob Dylan was the opening act. Shelton’s rave i review launched the career of the songwriter who was to become the voice of his generation. NO DIRECTION HOME is Robert Shelton’s deﬁnitive biography of this complex genius, whose lyrics and songs have orchestrated our times. The book contains a complete discography and is illustrated with previously unpublished photographs.
are List 17 — 30 October
performing lives was at odds with the
role ofwife and mother they were
also encouraged to fulfil.
Such drawings of parallels between very different lives leaves less room forthe individual. and as a result the
' nitty-gritty details that biographies
need are too often denied us. But if A Stan's Tom comes dangerously close to repetition. it is only because the fates of the subjects concerned were so depressingly similar. After reading this book. no one can say ‘they had only themselves to blame.‘ (David Hendy)
0 Picture Lillian Ross (Andre Deutsch £4.95) In l950John Huston and producer Gootfried Reinhardt shook hands on a deal to film Stephen Crane‘s classic novel The Red Badge ()fCourage. As a
privileged insider Miss Ross was an
acutely observant eye-witness to the irresistible blend ofelation and dejection that followed. Her book chronicles the film-making process from start to finish with vivid
' portraits ofHuston. studio
" is. s. «.7- 3r
executives and the inevitable clashes between artistic integrity and commercial pressures.
A fairly unusual venture when first published in 1953. the book provides a valuable documentary insight into the workings of a studio system on the point ofextinction. Contemporary Hollywood maybe a magnification of that system‘s imperfections. and an erasure of its worth. but at least no one need worry that today‘s censor will object to taking the Lord's name in vain and demand script changes. Time has enhanced the value and fascination of Picture; an exceptional piece of reportage well worth the reprint. (Allan Hunter)
0 Bolt Dick Francis (Michael Joseph
£9.95)‘Kit'Fielding rides againin
this sequel to Break In. Still stable
" jockey to Princess Casilia and
woefully wooing (for an abundance
ofadverbs are a feature of Francis‘ - style when he is trotting) Danielle. , Fielding finds himselfembroiled in a
family feud. Henri Nanterre is after a signature
to legitimise the manufacture of plastic guns. When he doesn‘t get his
own way he goes in the buff and starts dropping people from heights and threatening uncosmetic surgery. It seems. too. he is responsible for sending lethal bolts through the Princess‘s horses. which does not do
. much for their ante-post odds. Enter
the cavalry. throw in a red herring. put a piece ofcheese in a trap and a
a 4, , t s
rat or two is caught. And the mountie gets his woman. A saddle-sore story which surely even those on a Civil List will find soporific. (Alan Taylor)
0 Guilty Knowledge Lesley (irant—Adamson (Faber and Faber £9.95) Rain Morgan. gossip columnist fora London tabloid. takes a working holiday to the South of France in pursuit of an interview with a ‘great‘ artist‘s mistress. But her interview is spoiled by murder and the holiday quickly becomes a nightmare. A suitably glamorous and shady cast of characters conspire to hide their guilty knowledge and keep Rain on the move.
The plot is interesting rather than intriguing. The ending seems to be rushed after the constant scrutiny of events in the middle. But despite the workman-like style. Lesley Grant-Adamson‘s third novel makes pleasant reading and it’s rumoured she gets the RD. James seal of
g approval. (Tami Cushing-Allan)
0 Perfume Patrick Suskind (Hamish Hamilton £9.95) Pungent tale set in odiferous Paris. Grenouille is distinguished from the other inhabitants having been born under a fishmonger‘s slab and by being bereft of BO. It makes him difficult to sniffout after he finds his metier as a murderer of young girls. Balzac‘s better and never had Siiskind of hype.