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protagonists. is impressiyely layered and has its eounterparts in ‘Rooms‘ and ‘\\‘aiting I“or \Vinter'. the latter letehing a masterly surprise in its

w hiplash tail.

I Iis settings are I’ortugal. India or Italy. and typieal 'l'almeehians are souls in reyerie. sometimes ghostly. olten negotiating memories whieh dredge tip the aeeidents ol their pasts. l’urring with intimate ease. his tales l‘etoken great teehnique hut lall short ol great writing: motoring on oil-greased metal rather than hlood and hone. their insights leel programmed. Perhaps it‘s time Signor lahueehi eheeked tip on his translator. ('I'om Adair)

AVOIDING MEN Tiny Lies Kate I’ullinger ((‘ape. £9.95) 'I’iny lies are told in order to eseape. In this idiosyneratie L‘UIIL‘CIIUII UI stories. Kate I’ullinger takes a hleakly eontie look at the li\ es ol young urhan women. and at the yarious eseape routes ay ailahle to them to ay oid monotonoUs. oppressiy e reality. Strong. demonstratiy e and sensitiyely ohseryed. these modern women through their uneannily lamiliar shortcoming» eonsistently realise that empathy with eaeh other does more to keep unhappiness. anger and dissatislaetion at hay than haying allairs with the men w ho meander in and out ol their liy es. 'l‘opieality and humour leature strongly; the eontent‘s list. ineluding ‘I‘ran/ Is'alka‘s Shirt’. "l‘he I 'nhearahle Shortness ol I lolidays' and ’Ihe Sell-l oathng Diet or I low

to I late Yoursell into Thin Air" giyes

a llayour ol what to expeet and seryes as a reeommendation. ((‘atriona()ates)


Navigator. the Magical story of the Brendan Voyagetnoria st-oti (Methuen. £3.95) \ziy'igator Brendan steers his erew ol monks on the perilous journey to the Isle ol

I’romise . . . a yery sane. enioyahle

hut limiting lietionalised aeeount ol a

great Western mythologieal ligure. whose story deseryes hetter than the lairy-tale presentation ol this partieular adaptation. Pleasant and aeeeptahle. howeyer. within its own limitation. ((‘atriona ()atesl


The Council of Egypt I .eonardo Seiaseia ((areanet. UNUS) Amid the politieal haek-stahhing ol lSth eentury Sieily. its nohles ripe lor reyolt. Seiaseia spotlights the late ol a master deeeiyer. l)on (iuiseppe \'ella. With an eye to material Contlort and little regard lor luture penanee. the wily henedietine perpetrates a lorgery whieh assures his plaee in the annalsolingenious erime. Despite a eursory knowledge at hest »- olthe language. he undertakes to translate an .-\rahie eodex. l'nder Ills toueh i1 is translormed lrom an aeeount ol .‘ylohammed’s lile into a history ol

the eountry‘slost eenturies.

.-\n inspired work ol imagination. this magnum opus not only eleyates the monk lrom a lleahitten existence to that ol pampered Ahhot. hut giyes' him eonsiderahle pow er oyer the laetious haronage whose illustrious aneestry he ean lahrieate at (w ell-paid ) will. At the same time he hopes to add royal leathers to his nest hy proying the crowns indisputahle authority. thus thiekening the politieal stew.

Itllortlessly eyoking a lresh sense ol period. Seiaseia silhouettes wine-sipping aristos. with their aseerhie sophistry. against ealloused lishermen. easting a eynieal look at power games. and prohing eoneerns

lar larger than those ol the island alone. Slipping into poignant

douhle—loeus. he spins the Ahhot‘s tale alongside that ol I)i Blasi. a seholarly reyolutionary whose eonyietions' lead to a heroie end at the hands oleorruption and hypoerisy. I.ightly told. and needled with w it. this is a superhly honed work w hose unique. sophistieated llayour leayes you hungry for more. (Rosemary ( ioring)


I The Curious Case of Sidd Finch (ieoi ge I’limpton ( Bloomsbury HUS ) Apoehry phal inyestigation into how Sidd (diminutiye lor Siddhartha). an Iznglish-horn Buddhist monk. inliltrated the New York .\Iets. ‘l'he story hroke on lst .v\pril. I 100% British ( 'ompiled hy .lo Ixastwood: Cartoons hy ’l'ony I luhliard l l’enguin £3.95) Inluriating. indexless. ‘I)id you know 1" hook hulging with hi/arre. laseinating and disposahle laets. I'..( is. 15‘; ol British men haye ‘used’ a prostitute. read women‘s mags and keep a toreh in the hedroom. \Vhat eame lirst. one wonders'.’ I Inner City Ian .\Ie( iinness l I’olygon HUS) I lumdrum days in the ( ‘ity of (’ulture mereilessly eyoked against a seetarian haekdrop. .-\nother stah in llte haek litr‘ the ’Nliles IIL‘IIL'I’~ .‘ylalia. I Byron Frederic Raphael ((‘ardinal L4H”); Selected Letters and Journals l.ord Byron ( I’ieador £5.05) I’aey and raey hiog ol the gammy-legged Romantie poet. lihertine. eadger and ady enturer mueh ol w hose later trouhles seem to haye stemmed lrom an unlortunate ehildhood in Aherdeen. Raphael proyides a ltitillating m erttlre to I.eslie \larehand‘s matehless seleetion

{L lrom l Iis lordship's eopious letters ‘anddiaries.

I The Rat ( itlntet‘ ( irass l I’ieador

; USU) 'Ihe history ol the rat is

i entwined with man‘s: (irass traees' it haek to Noah. Rats haye heen

ex ery w here. seen eyerything and

with their unique knowledge ol

l history ean snill out the way ahead.

I I Iis narrator. a pet she-rat. weayes a i spellbinding tale. indieting mankind. predieting an apoealyptie luture.

Important and intoxieating.