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music. of the physical life. and ofth close-knit Cuban community. On the evidence ofthis. his first book to be published in Britain. Hijuelos will be an important figure in fiction for decades to come.
The superiority ofcurrent American writing is evident not only in the mainstream. Raymond Chandler was among the first to assist in crime—writing‘s escape from the genre ghetto: this year Robert B. Parker. creator of the private eye Spenser. named in conscious homage to Philip Marlowe. completed Poodle Springs (Macdonald £12.95). the novel that Raymond (‘handler left unfinished at his death. Well. not so much unfinished as barely begun. Parker had only four chapters to work on. and even these seemed to be a first draft. so sparse were they. so lacking in (‘handler‘s characteristically rich description of the southern California cesspit. It‘s a slight work in many ways. yet. regarded as entertainment. was one of the most enjoyable things I read all year.
GetShorty (Viking £13.99) by the genre's modern master. Elmore Leonard. was another hugely entertaining work. not so much because of the one-liners. but because Leonard's ear for dialogue. his understanding of the criminal
classes. is spot-on. Set in Hollywood.
it charts the progress ofa Miami loanshark who is trying to break into the movie industry before some unsavoury characters from his past break into his hotel room and shoot him. Like most of Leonard's writing. the book is a fine example of how the best ofcrime fiction can rise far above the stereotypical police procedural to portray an entire
; society in a state of flux.
With so many novels published. there are. ofcourse. a few which. having seen them reviewed favourably. one resolves to read but never gets round to. Obsequious readers with money to burn are therefore asked to send me copies of
The World ot Nagaraj (Heinemann
£12.95). R.K. Narayan‘s latest tale of the imaginary Indian town. Malgudi. and A Wild Sheep Chase by llaruki .‘vlurakami (Hamish Hamilton £12.99). the young Japanese writer‘s account of a
detective in search ofa ghost sheep.
Glasgow- 24 hours in the lite ot acity
Susan Mackenzie surveys the year's best Scottish non-liction.
I Glasgow: 24 Hours in the Lite ol 3 City (Chapmans £17.50). Over 170 monochrome and colour plates, selected trom some 4000 photographs, taken by 33 photographers during a 24-hour snapping lrenzy. The result? A . temptineg designed, sumptuous glossy. Pit bull terriers, prostitutes, Jehovah's Witnesses, the sacred art at lootball — all lite is here, the camera capturing both the individuality ot Glasgow's citizens and the unique qualities at her architecture. Alive, original and oiten, without sentimentality, touching, this, along with the corresponding exhibition and calendar, is recommended.
3 I Edinburgh Through the Lens by Ian
Torrance (John Donald £14.95). With over 200 colour plates, specially commissioned irom the Scottish Press Photographer oi the Year, this is a slimmervolume ot strangely dated appearance in which Edinburgh has been thoroughly sanitised and her growing homelessness, drugs and
i AIDS problems, quietly misplaced. 3 Nevertheless, itcontains some 3 stunning.highlyoriginallandscapes.
and portrays many places at beauty oil the tourists‘ beaten track, with bustling
shots at busy citizens and curious
ﬂ r Z
visitors creating an iniectious vibrancy.
I Up Dor Close: Memories oi Domestic Lite in Glasgow Tenements (1910—1945) by Jean Faley (White
? Cockade £13.95 h/b, £7.95 p/b). An
occasionally disjointed, but ultimately vivid resurrection ot days gone by, Faley demonstrating considerable talent tor extracting enthralling tales lrom Glasgow's more senior citizens. Much in evidence is the great loss at community spirit and comparatively impoverished standard at living but, instead ol maudlin nostalgia, the result is a charming cornucopia oi spriter humour and improbable methods at ‘getting by’. The book's appeal is not limited to Glaswegians and will tempt both young and old alike.
I A Spiel Amang Us: Glasgow People Writing, The Scotia Bar Writers' Prize, edited by Brendan McLaughlin (Mainstream £5.99). With an atmosphere second to none, the Scotia Bar has long been the home trom home at many a folk musician, poet and writer. Gathered here are short stories which reek oi insight and sensitivity togetherwith intuitive, sharply argued essays plus a rattling radio play and the engaging poetry at a ten-year-old — an unsentimental, powerhouse ' collection. Stirring a melting pot oi emotions, the talent herein is so tresh, it'sstill warm.
I Glasgow: Going tor a Song by Sean Damer (Lawrence and Wishart £6.99).
I Two hundred years at Glasgow’s history in 214 pages, seeking to
l unearth the real city beneath the 1990
i hat. The heroes ol Damer's study are
’ the working classes, the baddies are ‘yuppies' (deiined in worryineg broad
' terms). Ignore these opinions and
study the lactually comprehensive and
competent text which concentrates heavily on turn-ot-the-century politics. I Further Traditions at Trinity and Leith by Joyce Wallace (John Donald £7.50). Five years on lrom the iirst edition and Leith is beginning to ilourish once again, while Trinity still remains largely unspoilt. From Streams and Drainage to Artists to Trade and Industry, this is another revealing history lesson, spiced up with juicy anecdotes and lascinating iacts. Black and white photographs oi dated texture lend a nostalgic teel and a lurther reading list is provided. Guaranteed to open your eyes and get you out on the streets, Further Traditions. . . in hand.
I Scotland in Trust byJenni Calder (Richard Drew £15.95). Celebrating the Trust's 60th Anniversary, this is a sophisticated exploration ol the lands and properties in its care. The precise historical text is peppered with lively anecdotes, the bright illustrations tastetul and eye-catching.
I The Scampering Marmoset by Ken Morrice (AUP) and I Altirmations: Poems in Scots and English by M. S.
Lumsden (AUP) Punchy and pithy, Ken
86 The List 23 November— 6 December 1990