The much-acclaimed autobiography ofWillred 'l‘hesiger. legendary explorer and travel writer.
'A vast. sprawling. chronicle of adventures: a huge barbarous. magnificent book. . . one thhe most engrossing life stories I have ever read ' Richa rd Holmes. The Times. £15
Less well known. but equally evocative. are the photographs’l‘hesiger has taken on hisjoumeys in Arabia. Africa and Asia. Unprecedented and unrepeatable. they form a hauntinfz and moving recorrl ol vanished cultures and andscapes. £20
I 4,: r .33.; iff'gii-L‘ﬁ‘ft‘frﬁ‘iﬁ}? 3:;331‘}; - - rt rig; , ' WILFRED THESIGER r . The Life Of My ChOiCC which come a motley of wein conventions of a mod to travelogue
ERIC NEWBY_ Round Ireland in Low Gear
Willi characteristic wit and erudilion. Eric Newby recounts one ol‘the most eccentric of Iiisjoumeys —- round Ireland with his long-stillering wife. on their bicycles. £10.95
SUSAN HOWATCH Glittering Images
()ne of our most foremost novelists has written a rernarkahlework of great power and vision — a rare insight into the minds and morals of men and women bound by their beliefs and their emotions.
A CENTURY OF THE SCOTTISH PEOPLE 1830- 1950 T C Smout
The second volume which complements Smoul's earlier/I History ofthe Scottish People 1560 I830.
'7‘ other llteyfomt a vigorous and illuminating analysis QIUIUI near y-natt‘on north thhe Tlveed. No other fusion; 0} Scotland comes close to them'lan Jack New Society
£6.95 Fontana Press paperback
MEGGIE’S JOURNEYS by Margaret D'Ambrosio, paper, £4 .95 This Tolkrenesque fantasy of a girl's quest i0r her true identity is woven with the evocative symbols of traditional Celtic mythology. Follow Meggie to find out more.
NOT NOT WHILE THE GIRO AND OTHER STORIES by James Kelman, paper, £4.95 Kelman's depiction oi contemporary urban malaise has the vitality which can only come from economy and, a grim Glaswegian humour that surmounts helplessness and dereliction.
THREE NOVELLAS by John Herdman, paper, £3. 95 Herdman IS a master craftsman: each of these stories is very different In tone and content but explores an essentially similar theme. the Scottish psyche at its most grotesque and entertaining.
PAGES OF EXPERIENCE: PHOTOGRAPHY 1947-1987 by Joseph McKenzie. cased. £19. 95, paper, £12.95 This memorable and evocative collection of photographs includes Glasgow GOrbals in the 19603, Dundee in the 19605 and 19708 and Northern and Southern Ireland in the late 1960s It shows McKenzne's skills. and commitment to photography and social documentation.
GLASGOW: LOCOMOTIVE BUILDER TO THE WORLD by Mark O'Neill and Murdoch Nicholson, paper, £4. 95 Read about the North British Locomotive Company and its engines. which were sent to over 60 different countries including Russia. Egypt, Italy. France and New Zealand. Illus- trated with 65 black and white photographs. it is essential reading for anyone interested in trains. or in Glasgow's industrial past.
LEITH PUB GUIDE by Derry Beer, paper, £2. 50 Find out out where to eat, drink and be merry in Leith. This comprehensrve guide to over 100 pubs in Leith's colourful community, captures their rich histories. traditions and diffe- rent atmospheres.
THE SCOTSMAN CROSSWORD BOOK paper, £1.95 75 crosswords over the last ten years have been collected to otter readers a challenge to use their knowledge and skills. Buy one. and try one!
and many more from all good bookshops and Polygon, 48 Pleasance, Edinburgh, EH8 9TJ. Tel: 031-558 1117
characters. The tone is comic, the angle oblique and Jenny‘s — the narrator — bewilderment complete. but one fears in the promised sequels for her innocence among the iniquitous gang who populate this den. v.3. Naipaul‘s The Enigma of Arrival (Viking £10.95) is an odd book. Ostensibly autobiographical. it tells of a writer who has retired to Dorset, the acme of the English countryside. Change is on the way and revealed through the writer’s special way of seeing. The prose has all of Naipaul‘s ingrained hauteur but here too is a melancholy view of the second half of the 20th century. Perhaps there are more ﬂat passages than one would expect from such a major writer but nothing he publishes can be ignored.
The Songilnes (Cape £10.95) by Bruce Chatwin is extraordinary. It feels like non-fiction, part-travel. part-anthropological. but it is a true novel ofideas. The narrator is someone called Bruce Chatwin who visits Australia to study ‘the songlines‘ or ‘dreaming-tracks‘, the Aboriginals‘ invisible pathways which meander all over Australia, the source both of personal identity and territory. It utilises the
A BOYD’S OWN STORY
Great things are expected of William Boyd. Only half-way through his three score years and ten, he is already the author of a handful of books, four novels and a collection ol short stories. He has a beautiful wife to whom he has dedicated all his books. He wins prizes, and uncensored praise, and his third novel, ‘Stars and Bars’, is soon to be a mega-movie. He is tall, dark, handsome, witty and well-spoken, and has a wardrobe bulging with Brooks Bros shirts. He Is, In several words, the antithesis of the nail-biting novelist. ‘Writlng,’ he says. ‘Is what I wanted. It's not a chore and I’m not a neurotic.‘
ills latest novel, ‘The New Confessions', (Hamish Hamilton, £11.95) had been published only a week before we met. Though it had missed the Booker shortlist Will Boyd was not perturbed. The reviews had been good. Burgess and Bellow had been invoked. The column Inches were long. It was already nibbling the toes oi the best-seller list. ‘This,’ he said.
. ‘Was the hardest of my books to write. i " think because It was in the first person
singular, which presents all sorts oi technical problems. The other tremendous technical problem Is the passage ot time.’
‘The New Confessions‘ is a picaresgue autobiographical novel, the story of John James Todd, born In Edinburgh on the eve of the twentieth century. ills Is a remarkable life of a cold, unlovlng childhood In a Stevensonlan Auld Beekie, schooldays In an eccentric Institution In the Borders, and a long and turbulent
but like the Australian master of ‘faction‘ Thomas Keneally. Chatwin makes reality seem ‘other’.
Few writers are as prolific as Ronald Frame whose Sandmouth People (Bodley Head £1 1.95) was well up to scratch. It is set in a seaside town in the South of England and follows, over the course of summer‘s day. the lives of a colourful set of characters. No cupboard is complete without its skeleton, and all families. happy or otherwise have their black sheep. It builds into a fine thriller but the lasting impression is of the whole not quite measuring up to the sum of the parts.
Jill Rips (Deutsch £9.95) by the author of Brond, Frederic Lindsay. is a dark and gruesome retelling of the Jack the Ripper story, relocated in the Dear Green Place, with the ladies getting their revenge. Not for the faint-hearted.
Gore Vidal gets better as the years pass and Empire (Deutsch £11.95), the fifth of a seven volume ‘biography‘ of the United States is a masterly reconstruction of turn of the century power politics in ‘the land of the dull and home of the literal.‘ J amesian in style it moves forward at a stately pace, those who love him will linger, those who don’t will lose the place. (Alan Taylor)
. . t s . , ‘ I ‘
career as a film-maker, to-Ing and lro~Ing around the world in pursuit of his obsession, the recreation In celluloid of Jean Jacques Bousseau’s ‘Coniesslons'.
Todd Is a bizarre character, chameleon-like, and his own worst enemy. Susan Boyd, Will’s wife, says she sees similarities between Todd and Michael Powell, the maverick British director. And so there are, when you know where to look. But the parallels are purely fortuitous. This is no roman a clei. It's simply a deep and enioyable read, very funny and very sad, just what we've come to expect from the Good Man In London. (At. Taylor).
46 The List 27 Nov — 10 Dec 1987