Anything I say can come under the umbrella ofcritical appraisal. But i Virago is another matter. Keeping my socially conditioned prejudices ; as far hidden as possible, I put my new-man image firmly on the line. Three Times Table (Virago £4.99) is i the pick of Virago‘s spring collection i (Oh God, there I am already linking l women’s novels with fashion). Sara 1 Maitland has managed to cram fear ‘ of death, fear of life and fear of adulthood into one pocket-sized volume. All three lead characters are
utterly believable, whilst also having ’;
enough quirkiness to sustain the l reader‘s interest. It’s uncertain l whether we should believe in the I reality of the 15-year-old‘s pet i dragon or not but then that‘s part of I the charm of the book. Mundane reality and human worries (careers I and cancer) mingle seamlessly with j the outrageously supernatural. Fiona Cooper is an altogther different writer. IfMaitland weaves images in the mind of the reader, COOper is on brazen display before your very eyes. Maitland‘s strength is narrative. Cooper‘s, dialogue. In Not The Swiss Family Robinson (Virago £4.99), some of Monica the heroine's put-downs to would-be suitors strike fear into the heart ofall grease-ball. mid-west teenagers. The trouble is that Cooper is a British writer working for a British audience and even we can spot a hint of stereotype pervading her character. I fear for her reputation if this book is ever marketed in the States. However. it‘s certainly a lively and interesting insight into the life of lesbians in red-neck land. Completing the Virago quartet are two books by Indian authors. I Jasmine (Virago £4.99) by Bharati ‘ Mukherjee is the better read, whilst Incantations and other stories (Virago £4.99) by Anjana Appachana is the . more intriguing. Mukherjee takes us on an odyssey from rural, backwoods India to rural, backwoods America via New York in an often brutal evocation of the life of an illegal alien. Appachana tells tales of 805 India, but whilst the odd mixture of ancient and modern, western and eastern, is fascinating, : the author has no ear for dialogue. I Maybe the Indian peasantry do speak like this: ifso, they must have pretty dull conversations.
I JOHN SMITI'I AND SON Glasgow University. John McIntyre Building. Thurs 30 5.30pm. Launch of two Polygon books, Alexander Trocchi: The Making Of The Monster(£l4.95), a biography of Britain's best known Beat writer in the 19505 and 605, by Andrew Murray Scott, and Invisible Insurrection OIA Million Minds: A Trocchi Reader(£8.95).
I. WATERSTONE'S 45-50 Princes Square , 221 9650.
Sun 2 Aileen Paterson, author of the Maisie books, will read from her new book What Maisie Did Next (The Amazing Publications Company £3.50). during a
day of events for children.
I FIRST OF MAY POETRY PRIZE Poems on any subject at all. to be judged by Liz Lochhead. Tom Leonard, Valerie Gillies and Edwin Morgan. Application forms are available from Scotia Bar. 112-114 Stockwell Street. 552 8681 and should be returned by 31 Aug.
I JAMES THIN 53—59 South Bridge, 556 6743. Wed 5 7pm. As part of Feminist Book Fortnight. Sarah Maitland will read from her new book. Three Times Table(Virago £4.99) and sign copies. Wed 12 7pm. Elizabeth MacLennan will read from The Moon Belongs to Everyone (Methuen £9.99). a book she has written about the working methods and achievements ofthe theatre company 7:84. I SCOTTISH POETRY LIBRARY Tweeddale Court. 14 High Street. A Feast Day at Poetry Events 11am-5pm. 113m Angus Martin. author of The Larch Plantation will read from his work, accompanied by a slide presentation. 12.15-1.15pm Michael Byme introduces a reading of poems by George Campbell Hay with musical accompaniment and paintings by Archie MacAlister. 1.45pm Launch ofan anthology ofpoems in Scots. The New Makars, with readings by contributors. 3pm Readings by Liz Lochhead and other women poets interviewed for the book Sleeping With Monsters. I STILLS GALLERY 105 High Street, 557 1140. Tue 11 7pm. Spring Fling Poetry Night, featuring Dilys Rose. poet and judge ofthis year‘s poetry competition. The evening will include readings ofthe winning entries. I WATERSTONE'S 13/14 Princes Street Edinburgh. 556 3034. Wed 5 l—2pm. Joseph Corvo will sign copies of his books on massage. Zone Therapy and The Natural Facelift (both Century £7.99). and perhaps demonstrate a few relaxing techniques. Fri 7 7.30pm. Reading and signing by Paul Scott. author of To wards Independence (Polygon £8.95) with an introductory talk by Alex Salmond. leader of the SNP. Tue 11 6.30pm. Michael Dibdin, winner of the 1988 Crime Writers‘ Association Gold Dagger Award. will read from and sign copies of his new book. Dirty Tricks (Faber£13.99) and of his last book. Vendetta (Faber £3.99). now out in paperback. Phone to reserve signed copies of any of these books. I WEST END HOTEL Palmerston Place. Fri 7 8pm. ‘First Friday — Poems and Pints‘. a Spring Fling special organised by The Edinburgh Writers' Association. with guest writers and informal readings. I Sydney Goodsir Smith An appeal will be launched at 6.30pm on Friday 28 June at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh to raise funds for the publication ofa selection of drawings by Sydney Goodsir Smith. Best known for the exuberant, inventive lauguage and humour of his poetry and plays. Sydney Goodsir Smith was also an accomplished watercolourist and draughtsman. The drawings. which have never been exhibited before. are contained in his voluminous notebooks spanning the period from the 19305 tojust before his death in 1975.
Anyone wishing to attend should write to the Convenor of Council. New Auk Society. Balcorrachy. Strathtummel, Pitlochry PH 16 SRX enclosing payment of £5 per person. Cheques should be made payable to the New Auk Society.
l l l
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The List 31 May— 13 June 1991 77