There are twenty-three of these stories best regarded as sociologically and historically illustrative rather than literary. He even manages to throw up hints about the factual elements that form a basis for myth and the way their Chinese Whispers are moulded over the centuries.

However. the thread running through the books is a young man‘s modern-day search for his grandfather, lost in the hills.

Through histories ofpeople in place, the metaphor ofsearch and the persistence ofthe mountains themselves, Williams‘ intention seems to be to allow the reader to

develop a consciousness of living ‘. . .

in one piece, in one place . . . Altogether an interesting piece of work, the competence ofwhich should guarantee a readership outwith Williams’ academic constituency. (K.A. Davidson)


Straight Dick Francis (Michael Joseph £12.95) Just when it must have seemed that her whole world was falling apart, the Queen Mum can rest easy knowing that at least her favourite thriller writer hasn‘t let her down. In the last couple of years, the former champion jockey has been out ofsorts, flogging dead horses with cliches, clumsy construction and cardboard characterisation. Now he‘s back in

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the saddle on a winner, a lean, fit piece of action with the bit between its teeth. Who does what and why hardly matters when all‘s said and done; vintage Francis is like watching Shergar blur past the also-rans. It’s enough to say you were there. In this latest well-groomed story, a sadIe-sore brother kills injury time by tracing a cache ofdiamonds. There are enought plots to keep Pere Pachaise going to the end of the decade. Start early for this is a late stayer. (Jenni Allen)


The Silence of the Sirens Adelaida Garcia Morales (Flamingo £3.95) In a remote Spanish village still steeped in superstition, Maria, who has gone there to teach. becomes inexorably drawn into the life of the mysterious Elsa, who lives in a dream world inhabited by the man with whom she is obsessively in love. Despite his lack ofinterest in her. Elsa concocts from the fragments of her love affair an intense inner world which has no bearing on reality. In subtle, poetic language, faultlessly translated, the author describes how the level-headed Maria becomes entangled in Elsa‘s inevitably tragic story. This prize-winning novel blends magic and tradition with a modern psychological thriller: the result is some unique and highly potent writing. (Elizabeth Burns)

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A Careless Widow v.5. Pritchett (Chattto & Windus £12.95) Once again Pritchett unlocks the French windows and swings them wide onto a landscape of typically English scenes. His stories are garnered from the richest southern pickings— an aloof London hairdresser dogged by a lonely. silly widow; a prestigious writer trapped into an alien portrait by a maelstrom, maestro photographer; a colonial. nicely ordinary wife and her husband, cleaved by Rhoda, her eccentric, hippified sister; and the familiar terrain of childhood revisited, with its puzzlements, petty superiorities and thrilling allures. Classics oftheir genre, they leave the reader to peel off the layers and draw conclusions unaided; wet, while technically adroit and atmospherically evocative, they are emotionally cool and, as such, a little disappointing.

' (Rosemary Goring)


Kristina Woolnough casts an eye overthe latest non-tiction publications.

I Bloomsbury Dictionary of Quotations (Bloomsbury £7.99) Arranged alphabetically by author/speaker, with a helpful cross-reference index for words/themes.

I Modern Painters John Ruskin,

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edited and abridged by David Barrie (Deutsch £9.95) Despite being only halfthe size ofthe original. this almighty tome is stuffed with Ruskin‘s weighty words and ponderous aesthetic and artistic thoughts.

I The Faber Book of Aphorisms Ed W.H. Auden and Louis Kronenberger (Faber £4.99) Reissue ofcollected universal truths and truisms.

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I The Spectacle ot Women: Imagery oi the Suffrage Campaign 1907—14 Lisa Tickner (Chatto £15) History and explanations ofsuffrage propaganda, including wonderful colour reproductions and huge appendices.

l Letters From America and The



Signing copies of his new book



Signing copies of his new book

A Feast of Floyd (Collins £14.95) at 1.00pm on Saturday 30 September.

Straigh t (Michael Joseph £12.95) at 12.30pm on Wednesday 20 September.

Please telephone 041 221 7472 to reserve signed copies

Please telephone 041 221 7472 to reserve signed copies

J The List 15 - 28 September 1989 59