extra time disentangling and marvelling at the mesh of circumstance. coincidence and disparate character that leads a midweek. midlife card school to embark on an Irish campaign against the institution they select as symbolic of the horrid feast.
Why would a staid accountant. a part-time postman. an erstwhile banker crusading for lino. an out-of-work lrishrnan from Shepherd‘s Bush bedsitter land and the glamorous owner ofa mag for glossy ladies all turn up in the same seedy pub'.’ Why would their weekly card game become their most important diary entry‘.’ And why would two Metropolitan hobbies decide to tail them when they set forth on their venture'.’ With humour. pathos and Irish logic. Michael (‘urtin makes sense ofit all and. as an out-of-season bonus. throws in the rules for playing solo. (Sally Manherson)
FIRST NOVELS TERRIBLE ENFANT
Beautiiul Mutants Deborah Levy ((‘ape £9.95) When rebelliousness is very obviously only a pose. it becomes a hallmark of conformity and displays an embarrassing lack of imagination. Levy's book is testimony to the literary establishment‘s quaint notions about youth culture — that it is inordinately fascinated with swearing. sex and sordidness.
Levy snatches up these prescribed ingredients and fashions a yawnsome. fragmented fable about the woes ofour desperate times. This is all centred round a debauched Russian emigre. Lapinski — whose sexual couplings spawn a multitude of East West culture clashes and an allegorical gallery of'l‘hatcherite miscreants and misfits. There is The Poet ("I‘his is the age of the migrant and the missile. Lapinski‘). 'I'he Prostitute. The Banker. The Golden Slut and the Anorexic Anarchist.
The words are of course symbols of symbols and are not meant to be taken literally. The over-elaborate use of significrs. the collapsed
narrative and the general rambling I through a maze of profundities and poetics fit the post-modernist ideal insofar as one exists. Levy tries so hard to be another enfant terrible
but fails. (Sara Villiers)
I The Penguin Book oi International Short Stories lid I Ialpern (Penguin £6.99) Massive tome includes many greats from all around the world.
I The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner (Picador £4.99) New edition of Faulkner's sometimes tricky but brilliant book.
I Raymond Chandler‘s Philip ' Marlowe: ACelebration Iitl Preiss (Bloomsbury £7.99) New PM stories : by a host of mystery writers. with varying degrees ofsucccss at the venture. I Hollywood’s Vietnam (iilbert Adair (Ileinemann £7.95) Analysis ofover ()0 film representations of Vietnam. charting shifting attitudes and massive-muscle phenomena like Rambomania.
I The Drowned and the Saved Primo Levi (Abacus £3.99) Levi's last look at the l lolocaust and his experience of it before his alleged suicide.
I Sartre Iris Murdoch (Penguin £3.99) (ilimpses of insight penetrate the dense fog ofSartre's life. his fiction and his philosophy.
I Cloud Howe Lewis (irassic (iibbon ((‘anongate £3.50) The second ofthe ‘A Scots ()uair’ trilogy tells more of (‘hris (iuthric's trials and tribulations. (iossipy. evocative and energetic.
I Pushed irom the Wings Ross Fitzgerald (Black Swan £3.99) Another revolting Australian anti—hero takes centre-stage in this 'I'om Sharpesque first novel.
I The Burning Bush Barnet Lilvinoff (Fontana £5.95 ) 'I’horough look at antisemitism and world history. embracing notions of homelands. nationhood and identity.
I Scottish Proverbs, Scottish Place Names, Tales oi the Scottish Clans, Traditional Scottish Food, Buildings and Landmarks oi Edinburgh, Monuments and Statues at Edinburgh
Various authors ((‘hambers £2.50
10—11 George IV Bridge Edinburgh EH1 1EH Tel 031 226 5561
Meet Edinburgh authoress
IONA McGREGOR who will be reading from and signing copies of her new crime novel A (Women’s Press £4.50)
in our Paperback Bookshop on THURSDAY 8th JUNE at 7pm
each) Slim. pocket-sized volumes which will guide the curious in the right direction and are extremely readable.
I Heartbreak 0n the High Sierra Fiona (‘ooper (Virago £4.99) Lesbian western of the spaghetti variety. full of hog‘s piss. punch-ups and Big Ialking.
I Iona MacGregor and Sue Ward will read from their work as part of a ‘Women and (‘rime‘ evening at \Vatcrstone's bookshop. 133 linion Street. (il 30” (04] 231 0890) on Tuesday 13th June at 7.30pm.
I Maro Green will read from "the Pied Piper: Lesbian Feminist Fiction’ at West ck Wilde Bookshop, 25A Dundas Street. Iil I3 (100 (031 556 0079) on 'l'uesday (1th .lune at ts’pm.
I Barbara Smith and Esther Kahn will
read from ‘Serious Pleasure‘. a new
OUT OF THE F
Stretched across the cover oi Lucy lrvine's debut novel is a painting at a nude. it’s a picture which captures the contrarytugs and ilows oi lrvine's writing. She is, oi course, best known ior her shock-horror book ‘Castaway' and the subsequent pre-island-days autobiography ‘Bunaway'. Her new book ‘one Is One' is her lirst work oi iiction, and it is an admirable one at that.
The nude comes into play as Julie Evans, liveroi a small-time lile, ialls in with and then poses ior an artistic ex-con, Hodge. Julie and Hodge, like lrvine‘s other two central characters, are remarkable iortheir isolation and iortheir uniiormly disastrous sex lives. It sex is the last hope as lar as human contact goes, then all are doomed to perpetual aloneness. Daley, Julie’s employer, is cornered by his sexual
I The first three in Chatto & Windus‘s-
collection of lesbian erotica. at West & Wilde Bookshop (as above) on 'I‘uesday 13th .Iune at Spm. I Irish journalist Nell McCailerty will speak on the place of women and families in the ’I’roubles in Northern Ireland at 'I‘hin's bookshop. 53-59 South Bridge. lil ll lYS(03155o 6743) on Friday 9th .Iune at 7pm. This event coincides with Feminist Book Fortnight.
long-awaited seriesofpolemical pamphlets. (‘ounterBlasts. are published on June lst. 'I‘hose three deal with 'l‘hatcherism (Jonathan Raban). Ireland (Paul Foot) and the Labour Party (John Lloyd). They cost £2.99 each.
I Virago have just published the first titles in their new series on education: "leaching Black Literature'. ‘l'n Popular Fictions‘ and ‘(‘ounting (iirls()ut‘ are all produced in association with I.t)lltlt)l University‘s Institute of liducation.
irustration, as he indulges himseli with dirty magazines and salacious thoughts; Hodge is trapped by his inability to care; Julie is driven by desire ior novelty and ior some sense oi being alive; and sex has completely passed by the aged, dying spinster Ann.
It is rare ior iiction to deal with miserable sex lives, ior as Lucy Irvine explained, readers preierto read with rose-coloured spectacles: ‘lt's much more attractive to a readerto be able to get into the lantasy oi a lovely sex lite. What interests me is reality. An interesting sex liie is probably more unusual than usual. 0n the whole, we are a society of spectators. Daley is partly a victim oi projected lantasy.‘ g
This new careeras novelistis something that Irvine would like to i pursue, although she is caught to some extent between two camps: ‘one Is One } was rather a big step away irom the sort oi writing I was doing beiore — even iorgetting the tact and iiction aspect. It’s not the same market. I think it‘s going to be quite diiiicult ior people to accept that change. There are going to be some people who are ‘Castaway' and ‘Bunaway‘ ians who might be a bit disappointed or surprised by ‘one ls One’. The automatic thought lrom not just the public, but lrom agents and publishers, was “now she’ll go oil and have another adventure and write about it". It would have been crass to have attempted it. And I just didn‘t want to. I'd like to do two things— reach the serious iiction readers, but I also want to sell enough books to earn me the time to write.’
One Is One is published by Hodder & Stoughton at £10.95.
50 The List 2 — 15 June I989