I Ambition Julie Burchill (Corgi £3.99) Sex as often as possible with
as many as is feasible.
I Milena Margaret Buber-Neumann (Collins Harvill £5.95) Dumped by Kafka. the bohemian life in Vienna and death in a Nazi prison camp of the inspirational journalist.
I God’s Filth Column William Gerhardie (Hogarth Press £8.95) Fruit-cake history of the 20th century by the author of Futility.
I Wilderness: The Lost Writings ol Jim Morrison (Penguin £6.99) Would that they still were.
I A Turn in the South VS. Naipaul (Penguin £5.99) The Bible-belt. Mormons. Elvis and the Klu Klu) Klan by nail-on-the-numskulls Naipaul.
I JOHN SMITH'S 57 St Vincent Street. 221 7472.
Thurs 12 6.30pm. Ludovic Kennedy signing copies of On My Way To The Club (Fontana £4.99). just out in paperback. Copies may be reserved. Wine will be available.
I HATCHARD'S 50 Gordon Street. 2210262.
Fri 6 6.30pm. The Trial ofJohn Naylor. A section of Christopher Boyce‘s new novel. published by Dog & Bone Press. will be enacted. I GLASGOW UNIVERSITY LIBRARY Hillliead Street.
Contemporary Soviet literature and Russian language teaching Mon 16 Apr—Sat 19 May. Mon—Thurs
9. l5am—9. 15pm (Mon 16 at 4.45pm): Fri 9. 15am—4.45pm: Sat 9am—12. 15pm. An exhibition of books organised by the British Council. Further details from Tania Konn on 041 339 8855 ext 6735.
I OPEN WORLD POETICS Porters Lounge Bar. Sauchiehall Street. Tue 17 7.30pm. Raymond Ross will host a discussion on ‘ldealism and Materialism in MacDairmid's On A Raised Beach‘. Contacts: Catriona Oates on 041 334 6480 or Norman Bissell on 041 956 6033.
I SCOTIA BAR 112 Stockwell Street. 552 8681.
Tue 17 8.30pm. Glasgow Writers‘ Retreat presents a ‘Riot of Writers‘. I FORBIDDEN PLANET 168 Buchanan Street. 668 1215.
Thurs 5 5pm. To launch Chris Claremont‘s First Flight (Pan paperback £3.99) and Larry Niven/Stephen Barnes‘ The
Oscar iiijuelos lives on West 118th Street, New York- ‘just ten minutes’ walk', he says, ‘trom the syncopating heart at Harlem'. He teaches, collects comics, and writes books at rare beauty.
His new novel, The Mambo Kings Play Songs 01 Love, is the story of two jazz-loving Cuban brothers, Cesar and Nestor, who come to New York in the late 1940s and embark upon a musical career at moderate success (one hit record, an appearance on the I Love Lucy show). Nestor, the younger, is a melancholic romantic, his vitality sucked out at him by the lost love at his lite; an ethereal type, he dies prematurely. Cesar, by contrast, is the embodiment of lusty physicality: wholly in love with the world and his wile (not to mention Nestor’s wile, or the club-onwer‘s wile), the ardour with which he periorms cunnilingus is equalled only by his appetite for heaped plateiuls oi pork, beans and rice.
Framed by the brlei narrations oi Nestor's son Eugenio, the bulk oi the book reviews the Mambo Klngs' career through the eyes at Cesar as, in 1980, he lies drunk and dying in the ironically named Hotel Splendour. A certain sadness pervades the book because at this, but it is, above all, a celebration: at the mad mambo music, ol the physical lite, and ol the close-knit Cuban community.
The Americanised Eugenio, says Hljueios, ‘wlshes he’d appreciated the people around him more’. Wholly out
ol sympathy with his old uncle, only alter Cesar's death does he discover the value at a way at liie now lost. Yet, while the character at Eugenio is used to ground the book in contemporary reality, it is almost redundant, so well-realised is the sense at ageing. Cesar's growing heavier and slower is conveyed with considerable skill, and the portrait oi the city, too, is that at a great beast slowing down, becoming disease-ridden. By the seedy 1970s, when hard drugs hit the community and proiesslonal criminals take over the dance halls, we realise that the days at innocent idylls are long gone.
Castro's coming to power in Cuba is a lurther break with the past: some at the brothers’ family are able to join them in America; others are relused permission to leave; while others still are eager participants in the revolution. Rijuelos himselt is ambivalent about the politics at the country, which he has only visited
once, as an iniant: ‘Castro has done some good things, but at the expense oi a lot of personal liberty. it he stays in power, I hope the country lightens up and begins to trade more with the rest at the world. It he's overthrown, as many people say, the problem is that those most likely to replace him are extremely right-wing, so Cuba may revertto all the old injustices.‘
it would be wrong, however, to typily The Mambo Kings Play Songs 0i Love as a novel concerned solely with one community. Hijuelos' lavourite writers - Peter Handke, Julian Barnes, Thomas Bernhard, and Guillermo Cabrera lnlante are just a law he mentions - do not tit neatly into any one category.
Elegant and intelligent, compassionate and at times comic, The Mambo Kings Play Songs Of Love was The New York Times' Book oi the Yeartor1989. It is sure to meet with similarsuccess here. Especially in Glasgow, itwill gain a sizeable lollowing, lortwo reasons. First, its style and subject-matter are bound to appeal in a city where hall the guys already act and dress as it they were living in New York in 1952. And second, lorthe next couple ol months I’m going to bore the pants oil everyone I meet by telling them what a great book it is. (Stuart Bathgate)
The Mambo Kings Play Songs 0i Love by Oscar illiuelos (Hamish Hamilton £13.99) is one at tour titles in Hatchards’ new Guarantee 0t Good Reading scheme: buy it at any branch of Hatchards, and, it you don’t lind it satisiactory, you can exchange it lor another book at the same price.
Barsoom Project (Pan hardback £13.95. paperback £7.99), the authors will be available to meet their public and sign copies of their work.
I BOOK TRUST AT GLASGOW'S GLASGOW The Arches Gallery. Glasgow‘s Glasgow. Midland Street. offJamaica Street. 204 3993.
Fri 13—Tue 29 10am—8pm. Books and Glasgow Writers of the 20th century. Glasgow‘s novelists, poets and playwrights celebrated with an exhibition of books. videoed interviews and taped readings. For further information contact Book Trust. 15a Lynedoch Street. Glasgow. 332 0391.
I THE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF WRITING: GLASGOW 1990 The Festival continues with the following events:
Fri 6 Boyd-Orr Building, Glasgow University.
Race, Gender and Class in Drama. 10am. Main speaker: Ama Ata Aidoo. Chair: Joyce MacMiIlan. Race, Gender and Class in the Media. 2.15pm. Main speaker: Farrukh Dhondy. Chair: Stuart Hood.
Carl Mcoougall and Friends College Club. Glasgow University. 7.30pm. An evening of readings by Janice Galloway. Robert Crawford, Edwin Morgan. Dilys Rose and AN. Kennedy.
Sat 7 Boyd-Orr Building. Glasgow
Glasgow Drama. 10am. Speakers: David Hutchinson, Marcella Evaristi and Tom McGrath. Chair: Maurice Lindsay.
Short Story Session 2pm. Speaker: Moira Burgess. Chair: Hamish Whyte.
Song Session 3.30pm. Carl McDougall introduces Gordon McCulloch, Ewan McVicar and Jimmie McGregor.
Rum and Scotch College Club. Glasgow University. 7.30pm. Gordon McCulloch. Ewan McVicar. John Agard, Aonghas MacNeacail and other ingredients.
Sun 8 Boyd-Orr Building. Glasgow University.
The Glasgow Novel 10am. Douglas Gifford discusses Catherine Carswell‘s Open The Door.’, Dorothy Porter presents Imagining a City. Chair: Rod Lyall.
Poetry Session 2pm. Rory Watson discusses the poetry of Edwin Morgan and Edwin Morgan discusses Glasgow Poets past and present. Chair: Jack Rillie.
An Evening at The Scotia Bar Scotia Bar, Stockwell Street. 7.30pm. An evening of fun and the unexpected. guaranteed.
For further information on any of the above events contact Eleanor Commander (Administrator) on 041 339 8855, ext 5093.
I WATERSTONE'S 114 George Street. 225 3436.
Sat 7 Closing date for the Young Person‘s Ecology Quiz.
Tue 10 7.30—9pm. Valerie Gillies‘ latest collection of poetry — The Chanter's Time ((‘anongate. £7.95) launched with a signing session. Thurs 19 7.30—9pm. A meet the author and signing session with Brian McCabe to launch his latest novel ‘The Other McCoy" (Mainstream. £10.95).
I SHERRATT & HUGHES Princes Street. 556 3034.
Tue 10 Alasdair (iray will be reading from his latest novel McGrotty and Ludmilla (Dog 6;; Bone).
I SCIENCE FICTION BOOKSHOP 40, 42 West Crosscauseway. 667 0-126.
Fri 5 12.30—1pm. To launch (‘hris Claremont‘s First Flight (Pan paperback £3.99) and Larry Niven/Stephen Barnes‘ The Barsoom Project (Pan hardback £13.95. paperback £7.99). the authors will be available to meet their public and sign copies oftheir work.
I ROYAL SCOTTISH ACADEMY GALLERIES The Mound.
Poetry Reading with Songs a Apr. 7pm. £2. Readers: Alexander Hutchison. (‘olby Adams and Duncan Glen. Singer: Jo Miller.
The List 6— 19 April 199081