out of the ordinary. More used to the quads of Oxford than the lats, triceps and biceps ofgymspeak. his transformation from preppie to muscleman was profound.
Yet even four years ofsweat and steroids couldn’t silence the inner man. and eventually a conﬂict 9 developed between the Iron -_ Iconoclast searching for Nietzsche‘s j ubermensch in the weights room. gloomin wondering what Jeremy Bentham would make of it all. and Sam the muscle-mountain screaming l
, ‘No pain. no gain’ as he hoisted
500le of metal. l Gross but fascinating. Muscle , survives crude characterisation and f jumbled philosophising to emerge as l an ironic account of one man‘s attempt to reinvent himself. i (Madeline Slaven) i i
In pre-strip—joint Prague. urges could only be satisfied in the time-honoured Czech way of bonking a psychotic. writes Philip Parr. Love and Garbage by Ivan Klima (Penguin International £5.99) takes place before the onset ofthat peculiarly Czech system of government. porno-monetarism. The narrator carries on his affair with (as ever in such novels) a temperamental artist. whilst working as a bin-man in the capital. This occupation gives him the chance to mull over the works of Kafka without the pressure of his former occupation (university professor). Against the odds. the first halfof this book is stunning. Klima‘s narrator ﬂits seamlessly from dishing the dirt. to doingthe dirty. to . dissecting the diatribes. It works ‘ beautifully. but then the magic starts l to wane as repetition and i implausibility come to the fore. l |
After all. his mistress is such a whingeing pain in the neck that any smart bin-man would have ; rubbished her years ago. It's almost I still worth the effort for Klima‘s stylistic excellence. Almost. but not i quite. Style is something which Edward Allen has in bucketfuls. Straight Through The Night (Penguin International £5.99) has a rich vein ofhumour running through it and its pace is as racy as any pulp fiction. The subject matter involves much pulp. buckets and veins. as this novel is all about butchering. Not Brett's type of yuppie hacking but real butchering. It‘s also about inadequacy and the fragility of human relationships. but what hits you straight between the eyes is the offal. Allen’s descriptions of life in a meat-packing factory and. : especially. the scenes in a kosher ' slaughterhouse are nauseating. No matter how much humour Allen | injects. it's difficult to come out smiling after several pages of his vivid evocation of blood and guts. If you have a strong stomach. though. this is sirloin rather than rump.
From real butchering to a metaphorical though no less devastating hatchet job. In 3hopping Down The Cherry Trees (Penguin
£5.99). Linda Christmas travels from
the northernmost to the southernmost tip of Britain to see what ten years ofThatcherism has done. The fact that Ms Christmas was once Mrs Norman Fowler seems unbelievable as she offers an objective but nonetheless scathing account of Britain‘s decline. For anyone with the slightest interest in politics this book is a must. Christmas's research is enviably thorough. and she gleans numerous gems from her interviewees be it in the suspicious Shetlands or the snooty south.
The Sorrow of Belgium (Penguin International £7.99) is Hugo Claus‘s much-lauded tale of life in that most interesting ofcountries as seen through the eyes of an adolescent during the Second World War. There‘s no denying that it‘s clever — the real villains being the Belgians themselves rather than the Germans. But the prose is laboured. and. whilst Klima effortlessly travels from reality to the imagination without ever losing the reader. Claus tries but fails. I doubt that M. Claus is going to be a great help in the next century's version of the party game. Name Five Famous Belgians.
I DOW'S LOUNGE Dundas Street.
Fri 21 7.30pm. Open World Poetics present Kenneth White reading his poetry. I SCOTIA BAR Il2 Stockwell Street. 552
Tue 25 8pm. An eveing of readings and music by Genie Kellows. Colin Kerr. Joe Murray. Norman Bissell. Graham Harthilt and others.
I JOHN SMITH AND SON 57 St Vincent Street. 221 7472.
Wed 19 noon. A special appearance by some of the cast of BM) (Big Friendly Giant). Roald Dahl‘s phenomenally
successful children‘s book. adapted for the
stage by David Wood and showing at the Theatre Royal Tue 18—3er 22 Jun.
I JAMES THIN 53—59 South Bridge. 556 6743.
Mikhail Bulgakov Competition Answer four questions about this Russian writer and you could win £50 worth of prizes. Details from the shop.
I WATERSTONE'S 13/14 Princes Street Edinburgh. 556 3034.
Thurs 27 6.30pm. A. J. Mullay will be signing copies of his new book. Rail Centres: Edinburgh (Ian Allan £14.95 ). possibly about to become ‘the biggest Scottish railway book of this year'. according to people in the know.
I NORTHWORDS LITERARY MAGAZINE The
, first issue of this new magazine. should be I on the shelves at the end of August. In the
meantime the editors are inviting submissions of poetry. short stories and short plays. Submissions. with sae. should be sent to Angus Dunn. Northwords. West End Cottage. Blairninich. Strathpcffer. Ross-shire.
’Sovoge, satirical, often very funny... one to watch.’ DAILY MAIL Patrick Gale LITTLE BITS OF BABY
When Robin returns from monastic exile to late eighties london, his re-appearonce has devastating consequences for his family, his friends and himself.
’Patrick Gale’s novels are rife with coincidence, charm and unrelenting humanity. I wait for them the way some people wait for springtime.’ ARMIS'I'Es‘xl) MAUI’IN
’Raw authenticity.’ TLS
STREETS ABOVE US
Down and out Mo desperately tries to break free from his
subterranean hell through writing but finds himself caught between two worlds...
John Heoly, author of the award-winning The Grass Arena, has drawn a version of london that knocks Colin Maclnnes’s one into the Mary Poppins league’ Summ TELEGRAPH
’Brilliont.’ DAILY EXPRESS Alan Sillitoe LAST LOVES
Forty years on, George and Bernard return to Malaya, only to find love, death and betrayal.
’A masterpiece.’ Drum Mm. £5.99 Paladin
’To read Fay Weldon is like drinking champagne.’ Tina TIMI-is
Fay Weldon DARCY’S UTOPIA
Professor Darcy conceived of a world... without money... without the devil... with lots of sex...
’A crash course in philosophy, religion, politics, idealism, with sexual passion, love and the nature of betrayal
thrown in.’ WoMAN’s IOURNAL
The List 14 -- 27June I99] 81