appealed to the children to keep quiet: ‘Hush. children. Papa can‘t work when you make such a racket. He still has a dozen death sentences to sign tonight.‘

I The Drowned and the Saved Primo Levi (Michael Joseph £10.95) A ‘survivor‘ ofAuschwitz. Levi‘s writings have done more. by their intellectual tone and vigour. to ensure the world does not forget the horror— and reality— ofthe Holocaust. This. sadly. is his Last Post; in April last year he threw himselfdown a stairwell in his native Turin.

I II Voting Changed Anything They‘d Abolish II Ken Livingstone (Fontana £3.95) Tabletsof Livingstone.


I Beyond Forget: Rediscovering the Prairies Mark Abley (Chatto £12.95) Starting at the no-hope hamlet of Forget (For-jay to the natives) Abley sets out. a mite self-consciously. to discover the Canadian prairies. He writes entertainingly but comparisons with Bruce Chatwin are offbeam.

I Imperial City: The Rise and Rise oI New York Geoffrey Moorhouse (Hodder & Stoughton £ 12.95) As near as dammit the definitive biography ofthe Big Bagel. Where else could you you find the number ofelevators operating in Manhattan? Or the etymology of ‘skyscraper‘. Or who Hemingway slugged at Scribner's for badmouthing him? But why would you want to?


While we townies swither between one jersey ortwo, and blink at lengthening evenings as we stumble out oi strip-lit, over-heated workplaces, the turmoil oi Spring sounds loud and clear in the greener bits oi the nation.

One city-dweller, more receptive than most to the rustle ot passing seasons, is Jack Webster, journalist and author. A Grain of Truth, his memoir at an Aberdeenshire childhood, was recently televised by the BBC. The sequel, Another Grain oi Truth, is bursting out all over the bookshops this week.

His brown, iurrowed lace and warm, broad brogue mark Jack Webster as the larmer he never became. His early ambition to become a journalist led him away from his larming lorebears to the Turrilt Advertiser, the Daily Express and, latterly, the Glasgow Herald, but did not dampen a deep and lasting appreciation at his village upbringing.

‘lithere’s one thing I'd like to have done It’s make Buchan a better known place', says Webster. Buchan, the land and the language at rural Aberdeenshire, is at the heart oi his book, celebrated in the character at its people, ‘hard-working, good- humoured, kindly and damnably thrawn’.

Webster’s wartime childhood in the

I Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes Robert Louis Stevenson (Chatto £5.95) The travel classic in which Stevenson relived a 1le mile journey in 1879 through the south of France with his donkey. Modestine. Why did he go'.’ He gave his own answer: ‘1 travel not to go anywhere. but to go. I travel for travel‘s sake. The great affair is to move.‘ Tastefully reissued with black and white and colour photographs. paintings. engravings. and doodles by 'I'usitala and others to commemorate the opening ofThe Robert Louis Stevenson Trail.

I Country Diary Enid] Wilson (Hodder 6’; Stoughton £10.95) Exquisitely chiselled snapshots of the Lake District published over the last 30 years in The (Irurmiad. Or should it be The (irarmiud?

I Wainwright in Scotland A Wainwright with photographs by Derry Brabbs (Michael Joseph BBC £14.95) Every year Lakeland's bestselling feller deserts his home patch for a fortnight's sojourn in Scotland but in this ‘sumptuous’ production it’s not only the mode de transport that‘s pedestrian.


I Collected Poems and Selected Prose A.E. Housman Edited by Christopher Ricks ( Allen Lane £18.95) Who can name a Housman poem apart from ‘A Shropshire Lad"? Much of the rest of his work lies neglected. revered only by aficionados. Ricks' handsome new edition (simultaneously resurrecting

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village at Maud is the starting point tor a series of portraits spanning the centuries and the globe. Gavin Greig, the scholar, writer and musician, happy to remain headmaster at a village school, shares an attachment to his native Buchan with Malcolm Forbes, American magazine multi-millionaire, and with the mysterious Richard de Mille, who walked up Strichen High Street one day in 1984, searching ior traces at his elusive mother, the writer Lorna Moon.

Old memories and acquaintance combine with the careful research at the journalist to give a special

the Allen Lane imprint) brings him in from the cold revealing him. in the words of John Berryman. to be an ‘absolutely marvellous minor poet‘ and a ‘great scholar.‘


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I Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Die Maya Angelou (Virago £3.95 ) ’l‘hough better know it for her l'ivespart autobiog. \Iaya Angelou is. as those who saw her at the Book Festival will testify. a stunning performerof her own and others' poetry. This collection combines two wafer-thin vols previously published in the LISA The words dance oil the page. musical and liturgic. black. bitter. brave and bouncing with life.


I Summer’s Lease .Iohn Mortimer (Viking £1 1.95 ) The mise-en—sccne ofthe fecund Mortimer's latest is ‘(‘hiantishire'. an affecting. velvet-smoooth intrigue among the ex-pats. Defi character sketching.

resonance to the stories of the playwright fisherman, the Highland scriptwriter and the daughter at Grassic Gibbon. But Webster is at his best in his observation at the larming lolk who populated his childhood. Their talent lor living within the narrow compass oi the back of beyond sheds harsh light on the last-moving 803' lifestyle.

Jack Webster is, and knows he is, ‘a Buchan man lor ever'. The buzz of the newsroom and the cachet oi interviews with Chaplin and Getty cannot compete with the ‘cool and untouchable temptress’ oi Buchan. ‘My heart is always there. i love to go back and just meander about,‘ says Webster.

Time has not stood still in Buchan. 'Beeching took the heart out oi Maud when he closed the railway‘, says Webster. Yet the cattle mart and the small-holdings remain to give lite to the village. The power of television may yet bring new life. Many of the ‘hundreds oi letters' which Jack Webster received after Buchan appeared on our screens were from members oi the public keen to experience the rural idyll. The new owner of Honeyneuk. the Webster farm, has opened a B & 8. With his pen, Jack Webster may have done more to

changethelace oi Buchanthan he ever I HIS TUTURISTIC VISIDH I


could have achieved with a plough. Another Grain of Truth by Jack Webster is published by Collins, priced £11.95.

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