Carl MacDougaIl Stone Over Water, William McIlvanney Walking Wounded, Candia McWilliam A Little Stranger.
Library readers throughout Scotland are invited to take part in a ballot (forms available from your local library) to decide the winner. Closing date 31 August.
I JOHN SMITH 57 St Vincent Street, 221 7472.
Fri 18 6.30pm. Ian McEwan, author ofA Child in Time and Comfort of Strangers, will read from his new novel, The Innocent (Cape £12.95). Wed 30 6.30pm. Lisa St Aubin de Teran, author of The Slow Train to 1 Milan will read from her new novel Joanna (Virago £12.95).
I JOHN SMITH 252 Byres Road, 334 2769. Thurs 31 6.30pm. Bernard Mac Laverty will read from his
collection of short stories, The Great Profundo (Penguin).
I OUTWARO GAZE LESBIAN ANO GAY CELEBRATION The Garret, 39B Otago Street, Kelvinbridge. To book a place phone 337 2290. Registration fee £2 for each day, including lunch.
For full details of events contact 041 204 1049.
Thurs 17-Sun 27 May Mayfest’s first lesbian and gay event brings video screenings and a Clyde Unity Theatre/Gay SweatshOp workshop to the festival as well as the undernoted readings at Volumes Bookstore. Also:
Sat 26, 10am: New Writing Workshop. New gay and lesbian writing will have nationwide representation, readings given by guest readers or authors. Edwin Morgan and Toni Davidson will lead the workshop and all writers, regardless of experience, are invited to bring and read their work.
Sat 26, noon: Northern Gay Writers. Writers from this experienced Manchester-based group, including Di Williams, will read and perform their poetry and prose.
I VOLUMES BOOKSTORE 63—65 Queen Street, 204 1049.
Mayfest at Volumes All events free. Telephone the shop or call in person for admission tickets.
Thurs 17 7pm. ‘Worlds unlike our own’. A reading of Women’s Science Fiction by Jane Carnall, Margaret Elphinstone and Lisa Tuttle from their respective works.
Mon 21 6.30pm. ‘Had I a Hundred Mouths’. James Kelman will read from the works of William Goyen, joined by Tom Leonard and Tony Davidson.
Wed 23 7pm. Tom Wakefield will read from a selection of his work. Thurs 24 7pm. ‘A Chronology of Love Poetry’. Edwin Morgan discusses and reads his poetry, including previously unpublished and unperforrned work.
I WATERSTONE'S 132 Union Street, 221 0890.
EH 25 1pm. Spalding Gray will be conducting a signing session for his monologue, now in print; Swimming
I THE ARCHES Glasgow’s Glasgow, Midland Stret, off Jamaica Street, 204 3993.
Mon 28 May 2.45pm. Admission to Arches £4 (£2.50, £1 1 .50 family ticket). Professor John Durkan will give a lecture on Early Scottish libraries.
I OPEN CIRCLE POETRY AT MAYFEST 1990 Hillhead Library, 348 Byres Road. A promising series of poetry readings. For further information contact Alistair Paterson on 041 332 4924/ 041 334 1652, or write to 388 Great Western Road, G4 9H2.
Fri 18 7pm. Alan Spence, Janet Paisley, Matt Ewart and Alistair Paterson.
Fri 25 7pm. Jack Withers, Tessa Ransford, Tom Lamb and Michael Glendinning.
I PAISLEY WRITERS’ FESTIVAL 1990 Paisley Arts Centre, New Street. For further information phone 041 887 2466 or Tom Leonard on 041 339 3009. Admission to each session £1 waged, unwaged free.
ErI1B 7.30pm. Readings from novelist Alasdair Gray, and poets Alan Jackson and Gael Turnbull. Traditional Irish and Scottish music from Aidan Curran and friends. Sails
2.30m“ Readings from novelists Agnes Owens, Alan Spence, and Ian Crichton Smith.
7.30pm Performances from ‘sound poet’ Bob Cobbing, Tom Leonard and stunning American poet Jerome Rothenberg.
Sun 20 A quality collection with readings from Norman MacCaig, James Kelman and Janice Galloway with music from Aidan Curran and friends.
I EAST KILBRIOE CENTRAL LIBRARY The Olympia, East Kilbride, East Kilbride 20046.
Wed 30 7.30pm. Free. Meet the author session with Jessica Stirling.
I WATERSTONE'S 114 George Street, 225 3436. All events free. Refreshments provided. To reserve signed copies call 225 3436.
Than 17 7.30pm. Ian McEwan will read from his new novel The Innocent (Cape £12.95).
Thurs 24 7.30pm. Tom Pow will read from his new collection of Poetry, Moth ’s Trap (Canongate £6.95). Thurs 29 7.30pm. Lisa St Aubin de Terain will read from her new novel, Joanna (Virago £12.95).
Thurs 31 7.30pm. The launch of two new books from Kenneth White - The Blue Road, a travelogue concerning a trip to Labrador, and A Handbook for the Diamond Country — Selected Shorter Poems 1960—1990. Both are published by Mainstream at £12.95.
I CENTRAL LIBRARY George IV Bridge, 225 5574.
UltIII Fri 1 Jun World of Books and Newspapers exhibition celebrating the library’s centenary, displayed in the lending library.
Until Thur 21 Jun ‘A Reputation for
Mean streets revisited
And Marlowe begat Spenser; and Spenser begat Marlowe. With the publication oi Poodle Springs, the child is father to the man. Raymond Chandler, creator of Marlowe, left only the first four chapters of the book at his death; Robert B. Parker, whose own private detective, Spenser, was named in conscious homage to Chandler’s hero, was entrusted by the author’s estate with the task of finishing the work.
‘I think it was only a first draft he left,’ says Parker. ‘Chandler rewrote constantly. But i felt it was in keeping with the spirit of the agreement that i didn't change a word.’ It is a tribute to
; Parker’s skill that the result is
seamless; although the fact that Chandler’s section contained little of the long, Ianguourous sentences for which he is renowned perhaps made it that much easier for Parkerto write a convincingly modern, fast-paced novel rather than the recherche exercise in style it could, in less capable hands, have become.
As the book begins, Marlowe is newly married to a millionairess, but, independent to the last, continues his work as a $1 oo-a~day plus expenses private investigator. The cocktail-party life of the Poodle Springs community is far too laid-back for rough-hewn Marlowe, but not so polite that it doesn’t conceal a few criminals. The plot is a familiarly Chandleresgue combination of murder, bigamy and blackmail, the latter revolving around the sale of some sleazy photographs; and soon Marlowe is back where he feels most comfortable, in his old run-down office in old run-down LA. ‘I wanted to move him back to a familiar milieu,’ explains Parker. ‘And, forthe same reason, I reintroduced characters such as Bernie Chis, the police detective, who appeared in Chandler’s novels.’
A clue to Marlowe's behaviour in Poodle Springs- in one sense, it amounts to a refusal to grow up and ‘settle down’ — is found in Chandler’s own papers. ‘lam afraid that Mr Marlowe has developed more than a suspicion that a man of his parts is beginning to look pretty ridiculous as a small-time private detective,’ he wrote after finishing his novel The Little Sister. ‘He’s getting self-conscious, trying to live up to his reputation among the intellectuals. The boy is bothered.’
Certainly, many of Marlowe’s wise-cracks are delivered almost reluctantly, as if the great man knows that sort of talk is expected of him. This engenders the only apparent inconsistency in the book: if he knew he wasn’t going to change, why did he bother marrying into a rich family in the first place? Did Chandler have in mind a substantial personality change for his character?
That caveat apart, the book’s structure is admirably solid, and the plot is a good deal more comprehensible than most of Chandler’s own. (Parker: ‘| don’tfhink Chandler was terribly interested in plots; certainly, you don’t read his books forthe plots, and if you think back you probably won’t remember what the plots were.') Yet, for all that the book’s pace is far faster than Chandler would surely have made it, there are still some marvelloust poetic descriptions: ‘There was nothing to see but my own reflection in the black glass, streaked with rain: a 42-year-old man, drinking alone in a rented apartment in Hollywood while above the clouds, the universe rolled slowly eastward over the dark plains of the republic.’ .
Kevin Costner is favourite to play Marlowe in the film of the book; while Robert de Niro remains a possibility, financial considerations are likely to rule him out. ‘l'd be happy with either of those two,’ says Parker, ‘certainly compared to one of the people originally thought of- Robert Redford. Thankfully, he decided the part wasn’t for him.’ Until the film is finally made, Marlowe addicts have the book as a welcome coda to the Chandler canon. Who knows- if the bishop of Durham reads it, he might begin to believe in resurrection. (Stuart Bathgate)
Poodle Springs by Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker is published by Macdonald, priced £12.95.
Excellence’. A fascinating exhibition taking place in the Edinburgh Room charting Scottish Book Printing 1507—1988, organised by the Scottish Printing Archive Trust.
Mon 28 MaHaf 16 Jun Spring Fling Poetry Competition in the Scottish Library.
I JAMES THIN 53—59 South Bridge. 556 6743.
Tue 22 7pm. Anne Fine will be reading from and discussing Taking the Devil’s Advice. her new novel for adults. Wine will be served. Telephone to reserve signed copies.
The List 18—31 May 199087