Home cooking ;


I EDINBURGH UNEMPLOYED WORKEHS' CENTRE 103 Broughton Street. 5570718. Fri 4 7.30pm. James Kelman. Alison Kennedy. Tom Leonard. Margaret Cook and Andrew Byatt take part in fund-raising prose and poetry reading. There will also be music. a bookstall and a bar. Tickets £4 (£1.50).

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

Wed 2 David Lodge reads from his new book Paradise News ( Seeker. £14.99). Sat 5 2—4pm. The Colour Me Beautitul organisation present a demonstration of

how to achieve ‘natural beauty". See entry

for Waterstone‘s. Princes Street.

Wed 9 7pm. Allan Massie will read from and sign copies of The Sins ()f The Father (1lutchinson.£13.99)-- this event is yet to be confirmed.

Applications are invited from would-be chess champions for a competition in the shop. on Sat 12 ()ct. when chess internationalist .lliehai Saba will play" twelve challengers simultaneously. The event is organised in conjunction with the publication of Suba's book. [)vnamie

Chess Strategy. Phone the shop to register

as a competitor.

I JAMES THIN 57 George Street. 225 4495.

Tue 1 6pm. Jonathon Porritt. erstwhile Director of Friends of the Earth. will talk about his new book Save The Iiarth (Dorling Kindersley. £14.99).

Mon 7 6pm. The Colour Me Beautilul organisation present a demonstration of

how to achieve ‘natural beauty". Sec entry '


for Waterstone‘s. Princes Street. Confirm details with the shop.

I WATERSTONE'S 83 George Street. 225 3436.

Sat 28 l l—noon. John Leslie. from Blue Peter will read from and sign copies of The Bear Brigade ( Mainstream. £4.99). Proceeds from the sale of the book go to the fund to help save Edinburgh's Sick Children's Hospital. so buy. buy. buy.

I WATERSTONE'S 13f 14 Princes Street. 556 3034.

Thurs 26 7.30pm. Naomi WolIand journalist Joyce McMillan discuss the

tyrany' of The Beauty Myth. Naomi Wolf's

polemical book of last year. now otit in paperback (Vintage. £5.99 ).

Thurs 3 7pm. J.G. Ballard reads from The Kindness of Women (Harper ( ’olliris,

£14. 99), the sequel to his autobiographical novel [int/tire ofthe Sun. which follows the narrator. Jim. through university in England. marriage and 'the maelstrom of the 196(ls'.

Sat 5 2—4pm. So much for Naomi Wolf. this afternoon‘s fixture is a demonstration of ‘natural beauty". courtesy ofthe Colour Me Beautilul organisation. to promote their two books ( ‘olour Me Beautiful (Piatkus £8.95) and ('omplete Style (iuide (Piatkus. £14.95).

Tue8 6—7pm. Meet Hunter Davies. author of In Search of( 'olumhus

(Sinclair-Stevenson. £16.95) a biography

cum travel book in which Davies cavorls around the countries and islands 'discovcrcd' by Columbus in 1492.

Wed 9 7pm. Brian Blessed reads trom and signs copies at his new book. The I'm-armist- Mountain (Bloomsbury. £14.99).

Writing on archetypically ‘ditlicult’

subjects is becoming second nature to

David Cook. Having already penned the supremely moving ‘Walter’ (a novel about an inmate’s experiences in a mental institution) and soon to commence work on a novel and

screenplay dealing with Aids, his

current release tackles adoption.

But adoption pure and simple choosing a cute baby lrom a catalogue with a similar hair and eye colourto the adopting parents—would be too easy tor Cook. So Second Best has a single man at 36 years with tew lriends and zero sexual experience deciding that he wants to take possession at a

’problem' ten-year-old. James has

been in care toryears, has a criminal lather, a dead mother and grandparents who like to pretend that

i he doesn't exist. He is, not surprisingly, a good deal more " worldly-wise than Graham, his

potential lather.

’I wanted a man who was basically innocent,‘ explains Cook, ‘because the idea was that you had someone who had lived in a village all his lite and lived inside his head an awlul lot, suddenly having this urge to be a lather. I wanted that contrasted with a

: child who has experienced an awlul lot at traumas in his short lile.’

A scene in which, on a camping

holiday, James climbs into Graham’s

, sleeping bag iscertainlyventurlnginto ,

dangerous ground, even lor Cook:

especially as Graham linds that he has I an erection when the child’s head rests

David Cook

on his chest. ‘I wanted to see how these two characters would change each other as they came together,‘ says Cook, ‘and I wanted to explore how they would handle that curious line between physicality and sexuality. When males show physical allection, it’s too easy tor it to be knocked nudge, nudge wink, wink. I could have avoided that scene in the sleeping bag altogether and whilst it may have made lile easier and may have made it easier lor people to enjoy the book, it would not have been honest.’

This may sound crushineg heavy, but Cook’s superb, natural style and the humourwhich he injects into his characters carry Second Best into the realms ol a modern classic. And, as Cook says, he has managed to tap a small stream oltruth. (Philip Parr) Second Best is published by Faber priced £13.99.



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