its Hebraic roots through Plato. Kant and Nietzsche to Derrida are wonderfully untechnical and enable me to recommend this study to the general reader as well as the academic. His assertion that the challenge. ‘is to go beyond the fetish ofpower as centralizing sovereignty. and its attendant notion ofglobal theory in favour ofa local struggle and criticism‘. makes much sense. However. 1 wish this assertion and others like it were more central to the book rather than being attached in an extensive ‘Notes‘ section; but then maybe this is a deliberate ploy making the text truly Post-modern by asserting its truth not in a rising declamatory finale. but outside itself in a nudging. uncertain ‘perhaps'. (Alan Rice)


Who Was That Man? A Present or Mr OscarWilde Neil Bartlett (Serpent‘s Tail £8.95) ‘The only duty we owe to history is to rewrite it‘ said Wilde. and in this brilliantly imaginative book. Neil Bartlett has done just that. The particular history he is concerned with is that ofgay men in late 19th century London. and using Wilde as a starting point. he looks at place. and its ‘sexual geography‘. at language that of the dominant and sub-cultures; and at people who were the gay men of the 1890‘s. what were their lives like‘.’

The book is also an intelligent and innovative literary biography" criticism. for by acknowledging the centrality ofWilde‘s homosexuality and the secrecy and artifice attendant on that fact. Bartlett reveals a new subtext to Wilde‘s work and life.

In addition. the author interweaves his own autobiography. looking at himself both as historical researcher and as gay Londoner of the ‘80s. The result is a fascinating book which defies category. but which is a present not only for Mr Oscar Wilde. and for gay men in particular. but also for anyone interested in the possibilities of a new way of re-writing history. (Elizabeth Burns)


Just Dulty Robin Jenkins (Canongate £ 10.95) A humorless 16 year-old living in the gutted heart of Scotland‘s industrial west. Duffy has superbly achieved a lifelong impersonation of a simpleton. Good-looking and tidy to the point ofobsession. with film-star manners and a Delia knack in the kitchen. he stirs both lust and maternalism among this dreary community‘s womenfolk. Despite their attentions. however. he remains aloof. and we‘re led to believe that he‘s far from dense. Instead. behind that childish can-l-have-another- biscuit smile lies a profound Jeremiac philosopher. awaiting his chance to wage a personal war ‘against defilers oftruth and abusers ofauthority‘.

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cavorts off to Spain with a

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well-heeled widower. he begins his ‘symbolistic' campaign against middle-class hypocrisy. recruiting guerillas from the town's disillusioned youth: big dick Mick. cut-throat Crosbie. and the gonorrhoeaic Cooley. whose viscose veneer hides a heart of EPNS.

An intriguing. ifbaffling read. written with a clean-flowing. unsentimental touch. Just Duffy just misses being convincing. The teenagers are close imitations but the adults run into cliche. while Duffy is left unexplained. perhaps inexplicable.

A tale of naive idealism. or plain insanity. spawned amid the gloom of the 1980‘s. this is a story ofa tunnel with no light at the end. Each character is smothered in a miasma of pessimism. and with the inevitable. quiet conclusion. Jenkins leaves no doubt that his view of life is almost as simple. and nearly as black. as that ofthe fated Duffy. (Rosemary Goring)


Drinking in America Eric Bogosian (Faber & Faber £4.95) lfyou agree with Bogosian’s acerbic critique. self-absorption is obsessional in the American male psyche. The problem is this book flogs the dead horse well beyond the tolerance of the average reader. It might be acceptable ifit were funny. but translated to the context of literature it loses the effect achieved in performance. At one point Bogosian hints that the only reason he has printed certain monologues is to prevent copyright infringement; if anyone wants to steal these overrated monotonous rantings 1 am sure copyright will not deter them lack of interest amongst a potential audience would be a much more potent deterrent. (Alan Rice)


The Bride who Ran Away Diana ()‘Ilehir (Chatto & Windus£1 1.95) Diana 0‘} lehir's second book explores with humour and sensitivity the awakening ofa young girl‘s sexuality. It is set in (‘alifornia in 1951) in dozy French Ford. (irace our bride can take no more. Suffocating in the closeted love and madness of her family. who can she turn to? Eighty-three year-old Aunt Sybil. the town eccentric. who lives in a Ford Buick convertible‘.’ Her father. Dr. Dowell philosopher and socialist? Or does enlightenment lie in the diaries of her dead cousin. 1ndiana‘.’ (irace. the bride who ran away and thank goodness she did is engaged to Steve. her cousin. a self-obsessed. haunting weirdo. It was the wisest thing to do. to run away. that is. O'llehir describes the world around her. with colours. sounds and emotions. so lively. noisy and real. You will be enchanted with this saga ofa young girl who. like an icicle slowly melting and forming a cool pool of water. flows with a new-found freedom. (Lorna Bateman)





Wednesday 13th July 5.30pm

WATERSTONE’S BOOKSELLERS 114—1 16 George Street, Edinburgh


Booksellers since 1797

Wednesday 13th July IMRAN KHAN author of A ll Round View l-2pm AUTHOR EVENING Friday 22nd July JAMES TR USC OTT author of Private Gardens of Scotland Illustrated talk with slides 6.30—8.30pm ADMISSION FREE Wine will be served

50 Gordon Street, Glasgow Telephone.- Glasgow 22] 0262

NEW OPENING TIMES 9am—8pm Monday—Friday 9am—5.30pm Saturday I 2n00n—5 pm Sundays; with live music I—me

The List 8— 21 July 1988 55