Walking across Egypt (‘lyde Edgerton (.lonathan (‘ape £9.95) Ifthere were literary awards for the most engaging character in a novel. the funniest phobia exhibited by a character. the most snappin absurd dialogue. the most incongruous yet believable plot scenario. the highest incidence of Biblical quotes per page and the best hamburger in a supporting roll. then this debut novel would be nominated for all ofthem. .‘ylattie Rigsbee. its 78 year-old heroine. is the Goldie

l lawn ofgeriatrica. a bosom buddy ol'Jesus and long-suffering mother of



The new fully illustrated OFFICIAL GUIDE TO GLASGOW has been designed for the visitor, the tourist and the resident. Full of helpful information with tours, routes, maps and colour photographs.



middle-aged stuffed-shirts Robert and Elaine. Mattie‘s small town life in Carolina is relieved by visits to the undertakers for chocolate cake and coffee. by hymnathons at home and bouts ofBilly Graham on tele. She shoots a nifty line in put-downs: ‘Your sperm starts getting weak when you pass forty-four.‘ she tells Elaine‘s 47 year-old fella a stab in the groin. She dearly wishes to become a grandma.

Then Wesley Benfield comes along. an illegitimate teenage felon. a runaway from imprisonment who breaks into Mattie‘s life with hilarious and moving results. producing a novel as substantial and succulent as any of Mattie's homebaked tarts. It’s a side-splitting prescription. a sure-fire cure for depression which ought not to be read on an unrelieved bladder or an empty stomach. (Jonathan Katesby)


The Want Makers Eric Clark (Hodder & Stoughton £14.95) This is the best book on advertising since The Hidden Persuaders. These days much effort is spent by agencies persuading their clients to spend vast amounts of money to fly copywriters and camera crews to tropical beaches to film 30 seconds of Bounty Bar. The soap powder people Procter and

Gamble spend close on £80 million a

._ ’\ 58,132 Americans were killed or went missing during the Vietnam War. Every one of them is remembered in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, familiarly known as The Wall which, since it was built five years ago, has become the

year on advertising in the UK and no

matter where you stand on the morality ofadvertising facts like these give pause for thought.

What's more. the situation of bigger organisations with mega budgets selling all over the world is already on the horizon. ‘Globalization' is touched on by Clark but much ofthe book tells the horror stories of how they make us buy. It makes for depressing reading; from electrodes measuring brain responses to TV commercials to the way in which children are taught to be good little consumers. According to one researcher children start making brand decisions around the age of four. What hope is there for the rest'ofus'.’ (Laurie Maguire)


The Samaritan Chaz Brenchley (Hodder & Stoughton £10.95) Paul Fenner. ex-alcoholic. ex-detective inspector turned author. would like nothing better than to forget his past ruined marriage. ruined career and run off to an idyllic life in Wales with Tina. a devoted nympho half his age. And so he does. until the murder ofa close friend brings him back to Newcastle to pick up the trail ofthe grisly Tyneside Butcher.

With the early revelation ofthe Butcher's identity and a fairly transparent plot. this doesn‘t really work as a suspense novel but it is a shocker. There's gore enough for even the strongest stomach. and after reading this literary equivalent of ‘Nightmare on Elm Street‘ I was a bit uneasy about the state of Brenchley"s mind and the state of my own.

But no doubt Brenchley is in fact very fond of animals and old people

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locus for the nation's grief, a symbolic reminder of that futile conflict. Seventeen photographers capture its significance in The Wall: Images and Offerings from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Collins £20).

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g ijfirfi’ _.»;¢% 6.; '1‘... and as for me. well. a good dose of

Thurber before retiring should do the trick. (Jim Glen)


The Men’s Room Ann ()akley( Virago £1 I .95) This novelistic debut charts two decades in the life of contemporary sociologist- cum-housewife (‘harity Walton. mother-of-four and embryonic feminist. Herawakening to the realities of sexual politics heightened by her contrasting lives amid domestic chaos and civilised academia becomes paralleled by a torrid drawn-out affair with her sociology professor. Mark (.‘arelton.

But. amid its highly explicit. and frequently sexual couplings. this story asks are men and women different species. often depicting them as inhabiting separate territories ofthe emotions and the mind. Mark is therefore ‘a real man. who is phallic and patriarchal‘ who must live in the ‘shadowy enclosure‘ of the men's room suitable digs for a character who is ‘shadowy‘ at best and who most often parades disguised as a transparent wooden off-cut. more interested in a semen hour than a seminar.

The women characters have more substance but tend to suffocate amid prose which is riddled with cliched nonsense: Charity's body ‘like a map waiting to be read' has breasts which ‘trembled with the lungs ofthe ocean and the star-filled sky.‘ And her conversation is as tasty as a cardboard pie.

This said. the book is spiced with glorious ironies and improves as it proceeds. worth reading if only for its unintended hilarity and self-obsession: truly. it is deep on the surface. (Jonathan Katesby)


The Wake of Imagination Richard Kearney (Hutchinson £ 19.95) The sculptor Lucas Samara constructed a ‘Mirrored Room‘ to articulate his Post-Modern view of the world. an apt metaphor for the period of frenzied mimeticism where all images have equal value in a de-centred world. The point. however. is not just to interpret the world. as such art so faithfully contrives to do. but to change it; this is where Kearney comes in as he attempts to provide a Post-modern theory in conflict with the de-humanizing and limiting culture ofcommodity fetishism with which so many Western avant-garde artists are obsessed. His lucid arguments through traditional philosophy from



54The List 8— 21 July 1988