MADE IN JAPAN Singular Rebellion Saiichi Maruya (Deutsch £12.95) Tiresome. erotic. intriguing and comic. this is finally a book to be treasured. Its fall-guy hero and narrator Iiisuke Mabuchi stands in the middle of that web called life. unbalanced. flatfooted and entangled. How come he has married Yukari. fashion model and nymphette-slut. taken her (iranny Nabcshima (part-time rioter and murderess) as a lodger and had to suffer the boring oven-ready discourse of Professor Nonomiya. a father-in-Iaw whose mint-white teeth Mabuchi coy'ets'.’ Such questions are the stuff of life. and its trivia and traps are laid bare with stunning honesty by Maruya whose faithfulness to non-sequitoi‘s and the meandering drift ofey'eryday thoughts may tempt the reader occasionally to dream of filleting this novel deyoting its pages to origami. But that would be foolish. And short-sighted. For this tale of the dissidence of one middle-aged man is also the story of Japan. and the story of mankind emu Wot) -- its student riots are the harbingers of change and realignment. concerns which Maruya triumphantly and compassionater marries with the fatesof his central characters. Life. this book shouts finally. is one short absurd misunderstariding. Reading it is a reminder that it can also be great fun. ('I’oin Adair)


Bluebeard Kurt Vonnegut (.lonathan (‘apc £10.95) Kurt Vonnegut is the Pied Piper of American prose. a beguiling w riter at his best for whom the primacy of plot is sacred Ilerc his storyline is unrayelled by Rabo Karabekian. a septuagenarian one-eyed Armenian recalling life as an apprentice artist in post-Depression New York. and his stint in the camouflage corps in World War II -— peaks of achieyenient preceeding his down-tilt when. with only a shred of talent. he fringed the action as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko earned Abstract Expressionism its capital letters.

It’s a tale of harsh beginnings and soft landings made three dimensional by the presence of the Widow Berinan. a comic creation whose grit ensures that this book becomes a pearl. Berman disturbs

60 The List 13 26 May 1988

“I A . v.1 -.

Rahii'sstate ()l rotted contentment. teasing hisyanity‘ by insisting he trawl his past to tell this tale. But .‘ylrs Herman is not w hat she seems. and there's mystery too behind the door of Karabekian’s padlocked barn hence the noyel‘s titlc.

’l'old throughout with driying energy. this yintage Vonnegut takes time otit for some serious by -play on questions of ethnicity. the mysteries of time. and fashion and y'aIues iii the world of art. But the (’harles Atlas of philosophy he is not and in the end what we get is Vonnegut dancing- magical moments on tap. (Jonathan ls'atcsby)


Isabelle: The Lite of Isabelle Eberhardt Annette Koltak ((‘Iiatto LISIIII)‘. Vagabond Istthcllc Izhcrhardt (Hogarth £3.05 ) ‘I be last biography of Isabelle Iiberhardt appeared in this country in the Will's. lhis latest account of the androgynous ama/on‘s aw csome ady entures uncoy ers a lot of new ground and is released siiittiltalieotisly with the first publication other only work of fiction. Vagabond. I'hesiniilarity between them is instantly recognisable- one soobyiously being an elaborated and romanticised yersion ofthe other the noy eI deals with the 'sentiineiital education' of a romantic young Russian student. Dimitri ()rschanow w hose life closely mirrors lsabclle's own. Both follow an itinerary which takes them from pie-Rey olution Russia. to liurope and ultimately to North Africa. and both characters express the same consuming desire for indiy idual freedom based on \ ague anarchist principles. But the redeeming feature of the rim el. and the remarkable feature “I her life. is the scope and range of her experience. which was quite unprecedented among women in liurope at the turn of the centui y. Born in Switzerland to a Russian aristocratic mother and a mysterious unacknowledged father. Isabelle w as brought up as a boy and for tnost of her adult life she appeared in male dress. 'lihis gay'e he 1' access to an

underworld of sex and di ugs. filth and sleaze. from which she would otherwise hayc been excluded and to which she was hypnotically compelled. ()ther obsessions-- Islam. the desert and a nomadic way oflife feature strongly in each work. either eyoked in her own flourishing style or that of her painstaking biographer. ((‘atriona


The Shadow Bride Roy lleath ((‘ollins {I 1.5“) Roy llcath. a noyelist who has often promised much. finally deliy'crs in this family saga. conceiy‘ed on a ’I'rollopian or Dickensian scale. But with a disturbing cocktail of rape. sado-masochism and matriarchal yiolence it is placed firmly in a post-Victorian sensibility. It concerns the Iiast Indian community iii (iuyana and the inter-relationships amongst the (comparatiyely ) rich Sinin family and their extended household. Betta's defiance ofhis mother‘s will and her extreme reaction to this filial 7 ingratitude form the narratiy c backdrop to a pot-pourri of themes ranging from colonialism through religious differences to the all—pery'ading feelingofexile .'\Irs Singh says she has 'not said w hat I mean for forty years because in a foreign language nothing you say means what you intend'. 'l'he consequences of this for he r and her family are extreme and lead to a tragic finale which left this reader breathless and unncry ed i.v\lan Rice)



Through Darkest America \cil Iiarrett jnr. (NEI. £2.95 ) lle noy cl is the first in a series ‘Isaac .\simoy


Forthose who missed her when she appeared at the Edinburgh Book Festival in 1986, there‘s another opportunity to catch Maya Angelou‘s unique one-woman poetry performance at the Queen's Hall on 31 May. A stunning blend oi her own and others’ poetry, it's sure to be a sellout. It's the opening event in a series of talks and readings by women writers, organised by Edinburgh City Libraries to coincide with Feminist Book Fortnight, lull details oi which will appear in our next issue. In the meantime tickets - £4 and £2.75 concs -lor Maya Angelou are on sale at Waterstone's Bookshop (114 George Street, Edinbrugh); the Central Library (George IV Bridge) and the Queen’s Hall (Clerk Stre

nfl‘ flash.

! presents'. inte ided to promote up and coming SF authors although Barrett has been published for at least ten years. It‘s set in a post-apocalypse America in a rural community y'cry reminiscent ofthe American West in frontier days. reflected cfteetiy'ely in the prose style. [be young hero sets out to ay cnge the killing of his parents and becomes iny'oly'ed in the staple plot of countless \Vcstet'ns and (‘iy‘il \Var stories; the SI? elements are hardly necessary here. although they do contribute to a rather distasteful plot twist at the end. [‘al‘liel'. there are also some scenes iiiyoly ing tortttrc

- which seem quite gratuitous. L'nfortunately the author has left ample scope fora sequel. But rather look forward to the second in this line by Harry 'l‘uitledoye due in the summer. (Mike (alder)


The Legacy of Heorot .\'iyen.

l’ouincIle and Bariies(8phere £3.50) ’l’his is the new blockbuster by three . of the best ~selling authors in SI". This 4(lll page story owes more that just its title to the epic of Beowolf ( l Ieorot is

the name of the King's hall which Beowolf defends against the monster (iiendeI ). the plot follows the saga. more or less. but this is a hard SI: story and is set on a planet light years away from l’arth. and is the location of Izarth's first colony . All appears to be going well but the security offiCer is untrtisting ofthe apparently harmless cny iroiiment and is icgarded as a crank by the other colonists until . . things start happening and battle is ioinedl ’l‘he style makes this engrossing read and it's yery entertaining. btii the attention to minor details of the conflict do become a little wearisome and. as in other books by the same authors. their right-wing

I .ibei‘tarianism is at times intrusive. (Mike (‘alderl


I The Heart DI the Eye Barbara

I low cs ed. (Allison ck Btlshy £0.99)

; ('hiiiiky collectionofshort stories

and a rim ella from latin America

I Icatiii ing the magical realism ‘A‘

i team How. Marquez. Borges.

I Infante. ( ‘orta/ar. Neruda- as well as lesser know it write rs many of

i w Iioiii. on the basis of this

coiiipendious book. descry e w idcr recognition among Ifiiglish readers. I The Hours Before Dark ( ’elia

I‘iemlin ( I’andora £3.95) Aspidistra (‘ountiy isthc setting for this

3 splendid psychological thriller by the

I)uchessol the Dark in which a

young mother's sleepless nightmare

(uncontrollable brats. irritable

husband. my sterious lodger) will not

be cured by counting sheep. It is one

of a batch ofsix iii an enterprising

new series designed to bring back

into print women crime writers who

haye fallen by the wayside and to

introduce new writers to deyoteesof

the genre 'I‘he other titles are: liasy