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calculating wills ofmen and suffocated by a society demanding female submissiveness. is sparsely etched. Reflecting the chill unresponsiveness ofSamya‘s environs. Chedid does not emotionally indulge the reader. At last release is found from the cold cruelty ofblaming and alarm bells shrill as Samya awakes. (Kristina Woolnough)
0 Private Parts Fiona Pitt-Kethley ((‘hatto and Windus £4.95) Navy gym-knickers. rubber goods. kinky bed-linen and men’s lackof prowess in the sack (‘Men are the ones that have the headaches now‘) are the props of Pitt-Ketltley"s priapic poetry. l ler women are as sad as the misused heriones of the novels of .lean Rhys but. while more often than not. they're on the receiving end of very little. they‘re no longer inclined to be submissive and think of lingland. [Explicit and unshockable. Pitt—Kethley washes her soiled undies in full public gaze. ller tone is knowingly naive. her eye for detail delightfully ambiguous (of flashers she reports a policeman saying ‘we let the “PCs handle them'). her frankness breathtaking and courageous. Few modern poets are as accessible and as talented. fewer still mingle emotions to such telling effect. (Clive Yellowjohn)
0 Memory of Departure Abdulrazak (iurnah (Jonathan (‘ape £9.95) (iurnah’s novella tells of'l‘anzania just after deeolonization through the eyes ofa teenage Arab. llassan ()mar. Amongst other travails ()mar has to face a debauched. violent father who has driven his brother to an agonising suicide. 'l'hese disgusting. inhumane scenes are depicted vividly by (iurnah who does not spare his readers the horrors of what often seem autobiographical accounts.
A sudden switch to a lighter vein occurs when ()mar heads to Nairobi to seek his fortune metting Charlatans. the love of his young life and an eccentric servant in kaleidoscopic scenes which (iurnah exploits with great comic relish. After such rich promise. the denouement of the novel disappoints and suggests the author requires the storyteller‘s magic to accompany his considerable stylistic gifts.
0 The Enchanted Wanderer Nikolai Leskov (Andre Deutsch £4.95) As novellas seem to be all the publishing rage (although the genre eludes definition — a long short story or a short novel‘.’). I‘d like to put up one of these Selected Tales for generic adoption. Leskov. a 19th-century Russian by anybody‘s standards. was. so says the Preface. much admired by other Russian Greats. Apparently he had credibility. That is. he had grown up amidst the common people and therefore knew what he was on about. The Tales are indeed fine and smack ofGothic conviction. Murder. lust and comeuppances ensure good value in ‘Lady Macbeth ofthe Mtsensk
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District‘. ‘The Enchanted Wanderer‘ snafﬂes the bulk of the pages. however. and is my entry for the novella definition. It tells ofa novice (in the monkish sense) who has gone astray and is a masterpiece in the covert fable — arcth moral finger-wagging thinly disguising a great deal of relished naughtiness. (Kristina Woolnough) o Johnny‘s Song: Poetry of a Vietnam Veteran Steve Mason (Bantam £2.95) The last two years have seen the exposure of a very raw American nerve-end — the Vietnam War and the curious sweep-it-under-the- carpet mentality of a nation unable to cope with failure. Mason‘s poetry powerfully expresses the hidden war of isolated veterans — the fight to come to terms with their experience and to come to terms with the country they came back to: ‘. . .ours is not a justifiable history/to be recorded in reasonable terms. . .‘ The ‘real war‘ is the ‘inner war‘. the emotional experience of Vietnam which taught no lesson for the soldiers but pain. And that experience was damning in the eyes of veterans. both to their lives and to their countryan and women. Mason is a courageous poet. challenging the complacency and easy excuses of those uninitiated in war: ‘No one should write bloodlessly/ofspilled blood‘. (Kristina Woolnough) o Trout Lochs of Scotland: A Fisherman's Guide Bruce Sandison (Unwin Hyman £9.95) This must be a List first for rarely are the reading whims of we fishy types indulged. This is a comprehensive guide, stretching its point to include my local pond (as we English call them) in Perthshire. Mind you. the book promises easy access to it which seems rather far from the truth. particularly as the undercarriage of
The book gives you clues on flies. phone numbers. routes er a1 (sounds like a dating agency). The best picture is entitles ‘The sweet smile of success‘ and features a chap looking at his catch. only it‘s difficult to tell whether the ‘sweet smile‘ is the squint grimace ofthe fisherman or the toothy grin of the ﬂaked-out trout.
An excellent help-mate for poachers too. (Kristina Woolnough) 0 The Haunted House Rebecca Brown (Picador £2.95) In this extremely emotive first novel we do not merely relive the torment and struggle faced by a young woman in her search to rescue her own (disillusioned?) identity from the debris of her broken childhood. The animated description of her confusion is so well evoked that we question our acceptance of our own past and present: adding a touch of self-analysis to an already intriguing book. As a diary ofloneliness and emotional deprivation The Haunted House on balances the scales between sanity and madness leaving the outcome entirely up to you.
the car is now ornamenting the track.
48 The List 26 June - 9 July