SAL AN RUSHDI
will be reading from his new novel
on THURSDAY OCTOBER 6th at 7.30pm
He will be signing and discussing his novels
114—116(3EORGE STREET, EDINBURGH
.x-‘i a} ‘
Reserved copies may be obtained by telephoning 03] 225 3436
Rebuilding Coventry/Sue 'l'ownsend (Methuen £7.95) Far from the concrete jungle that the title conjures up. this gem from the mind behind Adrian .‘v'lole's pimples is abottt wholly human life. ('oventry Dakin. like her brother Sidney. has been burdened with a ridiculous name by her ridiculous parents (or Bread Knife and Tennis Ball). Until now. this and her beauty have been the only unasual things about her.
From a suffocatineg dull life on (irey Paths listate (with a small-minded tortoise fancier for a husband. two kids and a council house with customized (ieorgian windows). we follow ('oventry's adventures and metamorphosis as she finds herself classed a murderer after hitting her neighbour with an Action Man.
This bizarre situation opens otherwise unimaginable doors for a woman who at forty has ‘never flown in an aeroplane. never driven a car. worn pretty underwear or had a bank account .’ The pure outrageousness of the plot — as (‘oventry experiences
prostitution. naked eccentrics. crafty
begging and setting up home in a cardboard box with a formerly deranged top-notch lady — is a delight. We pan in and out of the lives of a rich variety ofcharacters (or caricatures) who are all. to varying extents. stripped down to their bestial basics by 'l'ownsend‘s sharp and gutsy humour.
The novel tackles life in the Eighties in liighties’ language — no niceties. just straight-up. no-nonsense energetic writing which creates a whole somewhat more complex than its clothing might suggest. (Jacqueline Edgar)
Deceits Ol Time lsabel (‘olegate (Hamish Hamilton £1 1.‘)5)'l'his season‘s theme. the art and artifice of biography. again comes under scrutiny. this time in a gentle. wry fiction. (‘atharine Hillery. a self-effacing widow with a few biographies to her credit but little political insight. seems an unlikely choice to tackle the life of Neil (‘ampion. a 'l‘hirties‘ politician who was involved in (ierman peace intrigues and who died in ambiguous circumstances.
True to Marple form. (‘atharine is not content with the glossy. contradictory picture her first researches reveal. particularly when she discovers another sleuth on the
trail. With wit and detective zeal. she rootles deep. disturbing the blinkered hypocrisy of ( 'antpion‘s relatives. and coming not only to an understanding of her subject. but also of herself.
In this evocative. sensitive work. ('olegate's dispiriting realism is painfully. drably convincing. while her plot with its bizarre medley of characters. never creates quite enough interest to sustain its fractured momentum. (Rosemary (ioring)
BEWARE THE BIOGRAPHER
Incline Our Hearts A..\'. Wilson (HamishHamilton£11.‘)5)Wilson‘s mistrust of biographers. recently expounded in an acid Sunday Times column. is understandable if he has run into the likesof Raphael Hunter who worms his way through this latest novel.
l-‘requently popping-Up. as from a series ofcasts on a lawn. he remains a faintly-sketched villain. not wholly dislikeable and only half-explained. Written from the recollections ofthe orphaned Julian. this is an intriguineg tangled work in which childhood associations and events come to assume greater significance in retrospect.
Brought up by his uncle. a fussy womanish vicar and his tight-lipped wife. Julian lives through the prisonhouse days of public school and National Service. emerging less of a bubbler but just as much on the edge of affairs. Hunter's intrusion into his life begins at school when. as lover to .lulian’s ‘paslr Miss Beach. he earns the young boy's hatred. Years later he reappears. disrupting the rectory cairn by seducing and deserting Julian‘s cousin. and later and more heinoust by publishinga biography of l’etworth l.ampitt. a minor. maligned writer whose neighbourly connections with the family are the hub ofv icarage life.
A timeless novel dealing with classic issues and types. Incline Our Hearts is a rich. satisfying reading. the story of a winsome outsider and a ruthless man of ambition. (Rosemary (ioring)
THE STORY ACCORDING TO BARTH
The TidewaterTalesJotm Barth (Methuen £12.95). For over two centuries now the baleful inﬂuence of'l‘ristram Shandy has hungover the novel in iinglish like a wet fog in the (iobi desert. Sterne‘s work was an early example of meta-fiction — stories about writing stories. novels about the art of novel-writing. books
50 [he list .‘slISept -- )3 ()ct 1988