good read. nevertheless. particularly l ifyou‘re interested in Scottish ‘ history. or ifyou just fancy a bit ofa rankle at some blatant injustices.
Jhabvala (Penguin £4.99) Slow-moving but engrossing tale of high-flying twins and their involvement in the idealistic Sixth World Movement. Powerful and weighty.
I Away From Home Penelope Farmer (Abacus £3.99) [Elinor lugs either her lust. her children. her husband or her luggage around the world in search of herself. A sharp-witted and easy reading voyage.
I Behind The Wall Colin Thubron (Penguin £4.99) Lyrical and evocative narrative oftravels through China. loaded with Thubron's wonder and puzzlement. Absorbing.
I Knots and Crosses Ian Rankin (Coronet £2.50) Refined Edinburgh suffers shock-horror murders. John Rebus hounds the bounder and Rankin displays his usual creepy ability to get into the criminal mind. I The Year of Silence Madison
2 I Three Continents Ruth Prawer
Smartt Bell (Abacus £4.50) Short
Alastair Mabbott looks at the comic as documentary. . . Graphic Docudrama. Much anticipation has surrounded the release of Brought to Light. just published by Titan Books at £4.95. mainly due to the collaboration on its pages between writer Alan Moore and artist Bill Sienkiewicz. both at the forefront ofthe medium. Moore is probably the hottest comics writer around. and with his present Vfor Vendetta series (actually created in the early 1980s) drawing to a close. any new output from the man is eagerly awaited by his fans.
Sienkiewicz is a cultier figure than Moore. but his painterly style has been gathering a similarly rabid following. especially since the baffling and compelling Stray Toasters series began.
Their names will attract fans who
stories-cum-chapters throw up different perspectives on one girl's death by overdose. Rangy. street-wise writing which is a bit too cool.
I A Time To Keep Silence Patrick Leigh Fermor (Penguin £3.50)The author‘s journeys into three monastic retreats. his observations on the inhabitants and on the spiritual piquancy of the places. Slim. quaint volume.
I The Ritual Bath Faye Kellerman (Coronet £2.99) Crime in a closed Jewish community in LA brings the worms out of the woodwork. The crook is caught. be warned. by means ofa thump on the head with a book.
I Marlon Brando David Shipman (Sphere £3.50) Standard Hollywood tit-bits (about Brando‘s rise and fall, stormy relationships. political involvements and film flops) are chewed over and regurgitated.
I The Handbook ol Complementary Medicine Stephen Fulder (Coronet £5.99) Guide to every conceivable alternative cure — Ayurvedic. Eurythmy. Pranayama. Moxibustion. Radionics et al plus a helpful glossary. a comprehensive contact list and chapters on the generic goodies to end all ills.
otherwise would not have thought of buying Brought to Light. dealing as it does with 30 years of offences against the US Constitution by the CIA. in a new form the makers cumbersomely dub Graphic Docudrama.
Moore and Sienkiewicz contribute ‘Shadowplay — The Secret Team‘, a nightmarish overview ofCIA covert operations from American involvement in post-WWII China to Oliver North‘s part in the Iran-Contra affair. while ‘Flashpoint -— The La Penca Bombing‘, by Joyce Brabner and Thomas Yeates, zooms in on the Contragate scandal. based on the information of two reporters. Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey. who uncovered the first hard evidence ofthe scandal.
Although strikingly illustrated. both stories stick to the point of getting the information across, alleged facts which remain more horrifically etched in the mind afterwards than even Sienkiewicz‘s grotesque vision of a deranged and corrupt American Eagle. or Thomas Yeates‘ uncomfortably realistic depiction ofevents.
On Channel Four‘s Signals broadcast in mid-January. Moore spoke of the task of writing comic books for a post-literate generation, comics with as much substance and complexity as any other art form. Appearing at the dawn of the Bush era, when Oliver North looks like he has a better chance of filling the seat in the Oval Office in 1992 than Jesse Jackson will ever have. it will be interesting to see what effect Brought To Light will have upon the opinions of a generation weaned on Rambo. There can‘t be enough like this about.
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hot. Lucy Bailey discovers that spice is nice and has been since the Aztecs. And over the page we suggest some eating places just right for chillic evenings.
GOING FOR THE BURN
Spring. in my opinion. is soon enough for the diet and exercise. A more tempting form of masochism in cold weather is the chilli burn.
The image of ‘hot’ food has been changing in recent years. It used to be generally regarded as rather downmarket. something indulged in by men trying to be macho. and those too drunk or jaded of palate to appreciate the finer points of cooking. These days. Thai cuisine is one ofthe most fashionable around. with no concessions being made to western tastes with regard to the chilli; Szechuan cuisine — Chinese but different. and hot — has apparently already been in and out of fashion again in London; what is referred to as ‘Peasant Food‘ is being hailed as the New Wave in eating out — and many poorer cultures make much use of the chilli. But the chilli is
much more than just a fashion.
Chillies originally came from Mexico. where the Aztecs used to add them to their hot chocolate. and were unknown to the rest of the world until Columbus came along. From that time it only took a century for the chilli to become the world‘s most important and widespread spice.
Chillies produce their burning sensation by acting on pain receptors rather than taste buds. and perversely this could explain why so many people have acquired a taste for them; the brain usually reacts to the sensation of pain by producing its own pain-killers— natural opiates similar to heroin — and as the chilli burn wears offa feeling ofgeneral wellbeing takes its place. However. this sort ofjunkie rationale for eating something that makes you cry. your nose run. and the wine taste like petrol is not calculated to win over your average punter. The point is. of course. that it‘s not supposed to be aJ
The List 27 January — 9 February 61