I Can Piggles Do it? Frank Rodgers (Viking £7.99) Piggles is a slob. A couch porker. A lazy swine. ‘It wasn‘t as if Piggles liked watching everything on TV. Some of the programmes were awful. Piggles just couldn’t be bothered to switch it off.’ Coerced into playing baseball, he‘s so busy eating chocolate biscuits that he drops 42 catches. Depression sets in as he is too unfit to do anything. But then, deciding to control his eating, he gradually regains fitness and the respect of his previously disillusioned friends. The titular question is answered most affirmatively.

Frank Rodgers‘ picture book is a straightforward. pleasant tale, suitable for reading to the under-fives, and to be read alone by slightly older children. There is, of course, a moral to the story, but it is gently, encouragineg put, not overtly didactic. ‘You can get it if you really want,‘ says Glasgow-based Frank, the Jimmy Cliff de nosjours.

The joyous illustrations, jocular prose and likeable central character combine to produce a delightful result. (Stuart Bathgate)


will be launching her new collection of stories


(Seeker & Warburg. £12.99) at 7.30pm, Tuesday 12th March

Also available in Minerva Paperback, her acclaimed novel




Peter Benson‘s The Other Occupant (Penguin £4.99) is refreshingly dead-pan; a quiet tramp through the extraordinary relationship of an unlikely couple, writes Kathleen Morgan. Jobless, homeless and without the means to carve his own identity, Greg is sent by a kindly Leninist aunt to the depths of Dorset, to work for a roving enthusiast oflife. At 82, Marjorie is a reckless eccentric, misunderstood and feared by an ignorant local

community, but increasingly revered '-

by her new companion. As their relationship develops, and Marjorie’s lifeline withers, Greg’s past and future existences assume a solidity both encouraged and threatened by this woman‘s death. Benson's talent for sardonic understatement says it all in a novel ofgreat understanding and hope. The dot-to-dot which links the lives of Benson‘s very different characters is manipulated by Michele Roberts in her clever and haunting novel, In The Red Kitchen (Minerva £4.99). The powers of a young Victorian medium - whether fake or authentic, it hardly matters cause their eager clients to face their past lives and misdemeanours, rather than their grief. Dotted around the narrative of

Flora Milk are those of three other women, each pinpoints in a history of common passions, weaknesses and hopes. Birth, death, and other such immensities are explored; spirits merging across social conventions and physical barriers in an intensely imaginative and often funny novel.

Micl-i‘rii Rom-.RTS

trill s c iRL ,I


Again intent upon the rebirth of woman’s position in the pages of history, Roberts creates a fifth gospel in her bold and inspiring novel, The Wild Girl (Minerva £4.99), which portrays Mary Magdalene as the cornerstone of women‘s spirituality, the author ofa long-forgotten promise.

Gatecrashing on A Girl's Night Out (Bloomsbury £5.99), Kathy Lette brings womanhood down to earth with a bump and a grind. This irreverent Australian flashes knickerlines and face packs, automatic ladyshaves and manual climaxes. Funny in parts, laboured in others, this set ofshort stories replaces worn cliches with novel ones, some ofwhich are as comfortable as an eighteen-hour girdle. Lette attempts to achieve the impossible punch in every line in this orgy offemale banter. Don‘t choke on the cosmetics and you might laugh.

From the warm. fleshy world of life in the powder room, Stephen Amidon‘s collection ofshort stories, Subdivision (Bloomsbury £5.99). takes us to the subdued desperation ofthe ranch-style homes ofexecutive America. Living in a wilderness belt between the urban rat-race and rural isolation, in a sort ofsterilised comfort, Amidon‘s characters live in tiny bubbles ofdiscontent and self-destruction. Reality comes

crashing in on suburbia with a discomfiting urgency as families blink in disbelief at each other’s hypocrisy, and the surface order of mundanity is scraped off to reveal a crawling undergrowth. Amidon juggles with boredom and tragedy with a great and stunning ease.


I THE BOOKSHELF/VICTOR GOLLANCZ LTD FIRST FANTASY NOVEL COMPETITION Science fiction publishers Goliancz join BBC Radio 4's Bunkshelftt) find a worthy recipient oftheir £4000prize (£2000 outright plus £2000 advance royalties for (iollancz publication to the winner). Two runners-up will also receive prizes of£500.

Among the judges are science fiction writers Mary Gentle and Terry Pratchett. Entry forms are available from Victor Gollancz Ltd. 14 lienrictta Street. London WC2E 810 and entries must be submitted by 30.luly 1991 with winners announced in October. I POLYGON ANTROLOGY OF LESBIAN AND GAY WRITING iN SCOTLAND Following the success of Polygon‘s first anthology And Thus I Will Sing Freely. manuscripts are now being considered for a second volume. whether you are Scottish or living in Scotland and regardless ofyour style of writing. Contributions should be sent to Joanne Winning. Polygon. 22 George Square. Edinburgh El l89LF before3l March l99i.enclosinganSAE for return.


I WATERSTONE'S 132 L'nion Street. 221 0890.

Tue 12 7.30pm. Janice Galloway follows up the success of The Trick is To Keep Breathing (Polygon £7.95. Minerva £4.99) with Blood (Seeker and \\'zirbttrg£12.99). a collection of short stories. Tonight . she reads from her work.


I THE POETRY ASSOCIATION OF SCOTLAND 27 George Square. Information on 031 334 5241.

Wed 27 7.45pm. Annual subscription £5. Single meeting £1 (free ). Tonight's guest is John Whitworth. editor of The l’aher Book of Blue Verse.

I JAMES THIN 53—59 South Bridge. 031 556 6743.

Competition Until middle of March. To celebrate 21 years of Paladin. 'l’hin'sare running a competition featuring the works of Harm O'Brien who is published by Paladin. £50 of books are at stake. Further details from shop.

Thurs 14 7pm. Janice Galloway. author of The Trick is to Keep Breathing ( Polygon. £7.99 and Minerva £4.99) has just published her short collection Blood (Seeker and Warburg. £12.99). Tonight she will talk about her work.

I WATERSTONES 13 14 Princes Street. 556 3034.

Sat9 11-1 1.30am. Taking time off from his role as King Lear with the National Theatre Company. Brian Cox w ill be popping in to sign copies ofhis autobiography. I’mm Salem In .iluscuw: An Actors ()(lyssev (Methuen £ 14.99). Phone to reserve signed copies.

Thurs 21 7.30pm. David Gemmell. heroic fantasy author. will read from and sign copies of his new book. Lion of.'llacedon (Century. £6.99). the first ofa trilogy set in ancient Greece. Phone to reserve signed copies.

Sat23 l—2pm. Look out for the lain M. Banks signing session to promote his new science fiction novel. The State oftheArI (Orbit. £12.95).

I WATERSTONES 114 George Street. 225 3436.

ThursZt 7.30pm. Paul Austerwill sign copies of his new novel The Music of Chance (Faber. £ 13.99).

I WELLSPRING 13 Smith‘s Place.

Fri 8 8—10pm. £3.50 (£2) including wine and soft drinks. Tickets from Tessa Ransford. Scottish Poetry Library. Tweeddale Court. 14 High Street or Colin Kirkwood. Wellspring. l3 Smith‘s Place. Please send SAE. Upstream is the title of this evening of poetry and musicorganised by the Scottish Poetry Library as a benefit for Wellspring. On tonight‘s bill are poets Valerie Gillies. Alan Jackson.Janct Paisley. Morellc Smith and Christopher Whyte joined by musicians Maeve Gillies and Anna Wendy Stevenson.

70 The List 8— 21 March 1991