DAILY PAPERS CANT DO IT
story/ with people/ engaged in proving our differences for the last time.‘ This is the first verse ofa poem called ‘Wishful Thinking is the Masterof Reality‘. I fear there is too much wishful thinking and not enough reality. But I like some of the love poetry. (Ken Morrice)
The Best of Scottish Poetry Edited by Robin Bell (Chambers. £4.99). Do we really need another Scottish anthology (I ask myself). replete with famous names and laurelled verse? But this one is different. Familiar names indeed are here. but others less expected; and much of the verse is recently written. Each
Infiniter more than a coffee-table book. - ‘Mackintosh's Masterwork: The Glasgow School of Art' is an indepth brick-by-brick
either. The collection contains many impressive poems. gives pleasure to dip into. is well produced and very reasonably priced. (Ken Morrice).
OUT OF THE MOUTHS
The Babe is Wise Contemporary stories by Australian Women (Virago £5.99). This is a book bursting with characters: Barbara Hanrahan‘s sad Fred. who is ‘a lover ofNature and Music and Art’; Wendy. ‘the prettiest girl in Tasmania between 1955 and. say. 1959'; Vorna. the cook at a sleazy roadhouse who drops cigarette ash in the after sex hamburgers. There are
study of the building. complete with plans and photographs. Published by Richard Drew at £25.
r— » * . . I . . . ' a; “as. ta“«Ix;...L‘_¢s?§~ei*~i‘."i;§;.;tigeii’i-..;-‘§;.1~:§‘;§‘.isif§¥. fo,.?§§'§3§s.‘3s§.£g§,- ggzgssgulg‘nsgi 1‘ “I a outback hippies and harassed mothers. prostitutes and survivors of To . Hiroshima and ofatomic tests on IN Aboriginal land. There are sassy gang-leading girls—looking for A" witches. posing forartists. and in ‘Tongue'. a modern day Grimm's tale. playing ‘Dad' to runaway siblings — and strong old women like Sue Chin‘s heroine ‘deep inside her garden‘ or Meredith Mitchie's ‘us — madwomcn.ci..mmuyiockcd together. rocking. as the first spits of poet has three pages ofself-chosen mm hit the imn'. Work mid “W’lhcr Page ‘9 SW . These stories show theexhilarating SOmCIh'ng "Nghlfu‘ 9r d'S‘Irmmg range of Australian writing. from an Loaﬁng DUI For [)8th DUOdUO about ll. 'I‘hC CdlIOI’ claims that [THE 0m] account an Aboriginal (Bloomsbury £4.99). Subtitled book contains the best of woman to the polished prose of ‘From the (‘ultural Revolution to contemporary Scottish poets and Elizabeth joucv‘ and the H 0 U T | N & Tiananmen Square‘ this book is poetry. It could be argued that accomplishmcﬁt 0f new writers like 1 N T dedicated ‘to all those struggling for. notable names are missing and sue “anka whose language has a T I T a voice in China today'. The author is deservmg others. outwnh his w00|f_|ikc lyricism and precision. C described by one of his translators as c6terie. will feel unfairly excluded. /; \ a modernist whose work expresses But anthologies are always open to m_ an individual reaction to Peking life disagreements of this kind. although and is also questing for universal the title ofthis one invites such a truths. Thus primed. my challenge. expectations met disappointment. ‘Art must be indescribable . Terminaﬂon Rock Gillian Fainth Perhaps in translationthe poetry affirmed Renoir; but the poets here (Pandora press £12.99) Gillian loses something ofits original rightly riska measure ofexplanation Fairchild~slatcst novel isamoving significance. Perhaps. recalling the and background. and only rarely do talc Ofmodcrmday possession‘ drama on TV ofthe events they fall into thetrap's‘ofcoynessor which succeeds in being both Chilling around Iiananmen Square. 1 was self-congratulation. Ihere is a vvide and hwwwrcnchmg. anticipating a reflection in the verse yarjiety ofverse gin'thesletpages —. dark Joana emerges from two years of ofsuchoverpowcring feeling. ' an light. intense and slight. It is trauma aftcrhcrtrcatmcm for Sometimesit is there. in imagery mostlyin English but there is some canccrmdiscovcrshc cannot have which can be striking but is toooften Scots and (JZICIIC. Maybe in truth not . ‘ , - . , ‘. obscure and looselvbrticulated. so all the poets here are top of the class thldrcn' “or frdgllc 8mm IS “0! i the meaning floats'awav. ‘And we and one or two seem rather out of ‘ helped by the “WWW 12le M i are birds beak to beak/in time‘s place. But there are no dunces Sympathy She “celch from those _ ‘ close to her. who think she should
pull herselftogether. To make matters worse. she has begun to experience ﬂashbacks to a past that is not her own. Joana‘s life becomes haunted by Ann. an unmarried mother from the 19th century. The parallels between them increase when Joana moves to America with her husband Giles. Their lives intertwine as Joana follows in Ann‘s footsteps. finally leading her to Termination Rock at Niagara Falls— where Ann was forced to handover her son for adoption. Joana‘s ‘delusions' threaten to break up her marriage as she sets off alone to prove Ann‘s existence. She converts fantasy into fact when she tracks down Ann's grandson. But those around her are not convinced.
Past and present come together in this haunting and tragic interlacing of two lives — or is it one'.’ Gillian Fairchild‘s novel is an intricate mosaic ofdelusion and reality. with Joana's dilemma taking on Kafka-esque proportions. (Ann Vinnicombe)
Hopefully we‘ll see more writing in this country from and about these bold. wise babes. (Elizabeth Burns)
OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE FENCE
A Country of Strangers Susan Richards Shreve (Hodder & Stoughton £11.95). Racial tension is a familiar theme and one that Susan Richards Shreve uses to powerful effect in this novel ofwide-ranging diversity and depth.
68 The List 1— 14 September 1989