.. 151‘ .e .- .' _’ ’-.'»—. .. A ‘5'"? :2 " ‘A 's. "I.‘\‘! {1" . v" ' -‘-. ' -‘,. - " -’ “—’I " If 5 Hrs-4- 3‘3'“ .--,.. arr. A '- .»~"'~*...--..:. ' . '2‘ V" "' ' ‘- “w 1' ' . > . r ’r” -~+v"‘.~“*”.-':. J-‘= t. . r . -'h-- r w- -. .. .. :- In 1


The Remains of the Day Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber £10.99) The clock of history ticks slowly over the head of Stevens the butler. His story. as he looks back over his career which has been his life. is steady and weighty. very considered and endlessly precise. The cracks in it are hair-fine. and are continually filled in with wordslike duty. loyalty. dignity and propriety. Little. in fact. happens. Stevens has served two masters one aristocratic and very English. one American and prone to ‘bantering‘. A past. almost imperceptible tilt towards a love-affair feeds the novel. drip of hope by paltry drip. with potential for Stevens’s personal life. Now. years later. Stevens sets offon an unprecendented trip-cum-holiday to visit a Miss Kenton who is also. on and off. a Mrs Benn.

Kazuo lshiguro's third novel is faultlessly written. Stevens the butler's narrative voice is utterly Stevens down to grammatical idiosyncracies and stiff-backed deliberations. Stevens the man. who has served his profession with monk-like purity. is always hovering in the wings, but somehow never attains more than the role of unrehearsed understudy.

Ishiguro has something of Conrad‘s linguistic precision. but he also stretches himself into the farthest cobwebby corners of his fictional character. It is a fine. old-world book. a tapestry woven with miniscule stitches. which takes the vast. echoey corridors of history and time. and shrinks them into one solitary figure. (Kristina Woolnough)


Parlour Games Mavis Cheek (Bodley Head £11.95) It‘s party-time in choicest suburbia. on the outskirts of


Gorbals born. Sorbonne professor. published in Britain for the first time in 25 years. Kenneth White talks about

intellectual exile.

‘1 never tried to project the image of someone existing pathetically in exile. There is exile. certainly. but it is an intellectual exile and that's less pathetic and. I think. more interesting. In other words there was a distance between what I was trying to do and what was being done generally in Britain. which was why I left. Like many like-minds in the late (i()s l was aware that there was something lacking. There was a lack of intellectual thrust. there was a lack of radical writing. The

_ publishers existed mainly on a steady

diet of novels of really very little interest. So there was a lack of cultural energy and I came up against that.

At the end of '66 I met three London publishers. ()ne had been my publisher. Jonathan (Tape. and

1 .t they said. with regard to my fourth manuscript. ‘We no longer know quite how to place it'. I said because I was young and full of piss (now I‘m older but still full ofpiss) look: ‘l‘ll get this published in France.‘ And they said. ‘Ah. but

.Ir -‘ .t ‘j A " ~ ‘. --~ Sana-'1'. ““v‘ffltl .1.""?~ -’.' .wx‘ * A

London. England. Celia is forty and. as she blends the mayonnaise by hand in anticipation ofthe celebratory dinner. she mulls over the little pleasures and pains in her life.

There‘s lawyer husband Alex. who has of late been too tired for a select morsel ofsex. There‘s Mrs Green. the cleaner. who has to have the best china for her coffee break. and whose ambition it is in life to find evidence ofsexual activity under the bed (she once found a condom) or to catch the family in a state of undress in the mornings. Then there's the two dear children. who. once out of sight. cast off their sugary smiles and practise their swearing.

Cheek's book is a minefield of social occasions and mannerisms. where the best eventuality never happens. and the worst all too often does. There‘s something Dickensian about her characters they‘re condensed versions of many horrors. Notions oflove. loyalty. honesty and kindness all become warped in the mirror ofself—satisfaction and

France is a literary country.‘ I thought. my (iod. does that mean that Britain is no longer a literary country‘.’ Shakespeare. de Quincey and company. I went to see another publisher. He said. "This is great stuff. It's real writing. But we should put it in the fridge for ten years and in the meantime you should write us a nice. little novel to establish your reputation.‘ I told him I didn‘t want to establish my reputation in that way. I already knew I was going to buy my ticket and go. But I went to see another guy. just to give them a chance as it were. lle realised there was writing there but he said he couldn't do it at the moment. After all I'm in the entertainment industry.‘ That's what he said. I said. ‘Well. I like fun too. i think thinking is fun. I think real writing is fun. But you‘re obviously thinking in terms of belly-ha-ha. We don‘t talk the same languagef

So France was the obvious place to go for me. France don't put me in the position ofsaying in France is perfect in contradistinction to


The world revolves around insincerity and the piquancy of affairs and even the mock-sincere. real ale-drinking liberals become just another form of artifice. The proud subscribers to mistresses. sexual toys. conservatories. smart houses. all mod cons. fast cars. good private schools are parodied. but so are their jealous. holier-than-thou drop-out and spectating counterparts.

Nothing escapes Cheek's sharp eye and even sharper tongue ‘Parlour Games‘ is brilliant. witty and as sure-footed and insidious as a cat. (Tina Allan)


The League Against Christmas Michael Curtin (Deutsch £11.95)lt‘s never too soon to start thinking about how much you hate Christmas. so why not publish several months beforehand 'and catch the early shopper? Read. and you could spend a fair bit of that

Britain. had gone through surrealism. existentialism. France. in socio-political terms. had begun to ask questions in the (‘ollegc of Sociology run by Bataille. Nothing like that existed in Britain. Nothing. So that for nine years in France I felt in a space which was mine. [won't say i felt at home. But l wasn‘t going to spend my time bumping into guys who just didn't speak the same language. And for nine years l just worked like hell in the Pyrenees. Worked and enjoyed every moment ofit. In '76 I realised I had four or five manuscripts ready. and took them up to Paris. The first Incandescent Limbo: The Book of the Seven Rooms was accepted straight away and from '76 the books appeared in a steady stream. 'l'o such an extent that some people asked. ‘Who is this guy'."

The Bird l’alh.‘ ( ‘()ll(’('l(’(l [.(mger Poems uml Travels in u Drilling

I )a W)! by Kenneth While are published by .llulnslreum a! [13. 95 yaeh.

' eciasgowczjsrs 1'

._ T¢.1§P59“§:041F?217472. ' Sébtfiéh cam an y

Signing copies of his new book ’The Last Days of the Raj’ at 6.30 pm. on Monday 12 June, 1989 in John Smith & Son, 57 St Vincent Street, Glasgow

Please telephone if you wish to reserve a copy


The List 3

15 June NW 59