in 1627 at La Rochelle. below which. fittingly enough. is a whole labyrinth oftunnels.
The novel’s pretentious. precocious author. Lawrence Norfolk (he was born in 1963). seems as comfortable writing sensual passages about historical London as he does dabbling in science fiction and metafiction. All are here in abundance. 'l‘he elaborate descriptions try desperately to match the elaborate plot. but in his attempt
to accommodate everything.
especially knowledge. Norfolk threatens to overpower even himself. (Douglas McCabe)
Philip Parr reviews this tonnight‘s paperbacks.
IfI see one more l Iokusai. I‘m going to scream. 'l‘his Japanese Festival may have fired the literati imagination. but they are overdoing it a touch. Publishers rarely miss the chance to jump on a band-wagon. however. and they have taken the opportunity to churn out a gaggle of books with an oriental aura.
In the case ofA Wild Sheep Chase (Penguin £5.99) we should be eternally grateful that the publishing houses are slaves to fashion. llaruki Murakami has written a magical book with such a surplus of memorable images that it‘s" difficult
to know where to begin. Our
nameless hero has a girlfriend who is
plain. except for her cars which. when they are unveiled. cause her to be an instant centre ofattraction. I‘etishism this may be. but Murakami injects such humour and light that the reader smiles rather than grimaces.
Then there are the settings for the action. Bars. sleazy hotels and anonymous office blocks give the story a Chandleresque feel. with our hero cast in the cynical PI role. Cigarettes. the process oflighting and smoking. are also a source of eternal fascination. Far from being lulled to sleep by the constant clicking of Zippos. we become eager to see what aspect of personality each character is inadvertently about to reveal through the shape of his desk lighter. Even for those sick to death of the Japan-fest. this book is essential reading.
The same cannot be said for Clive Collins's‘ Sachiko’s Wedding (Penguin £5.99) For some reason. Collins imagined himselfcapable of traversing sexual and cultural boundaries to adopt the persona ofa Japanese woman. What's certain is that he doesn't pull it off— one accusation that cannot be levelled at young Sachiko. In a series of flashbacks on her wedding day we are given a very male. Western view of a Japanese woman's sexual
signing copies of his autobiography
at 12.30 p.m. on Fri 11th Oct 57 St Vincent Street, Glasgow
o CLIVE BARKER
signing c0pies of his new book
(Harper Collins £15.99)
at 1.00 p.m. on Thur 17th Oct 57 St Vincent Street, Glasgow
reading from & signing copies of
"...Poetry from Macgregor’s
at 6.30 p.m. on Tues 22nd Oct 252 Byres Road, Glasgow
Gathering" (BBC £4.99)
L 2-. 72 The List 11— 24 October 1991
l l l l l
awakening. Aside from his coy use of language (eg ‘seed' instead of ‘sperm’) Collins conforms to every Western male stereotype — most obviously. that English men are titillated by the prospect ofa virginal oriental in the process ofbeing deflowered. The fact that the story is being told by the woman herself makes it even more exciting. Doesn‘t it?
For a genuine insight into the development of a Japanese child. Junichiro Tanizaki's Childhood Years —A Memoir (Flamingo £5.99) offers a disturbing picture. Tanizaki went on to become a playwright and author ofgreat distinction during the early 20th century but his childhood (apparently quite a normal one for a middle-class Japanese child at the time) was full of mother-fixations. perverse teachers and repressed sexuality. These themes are resurrected in his own literature and so we are given an intriguing portrait of the artist as a young screw-ball. More importantly we are shown that the superficial elegance and politeness ofJapanesc society was just that. superficial. And as Haruki Murakami has shown. nothing’s changed.
I HILLHEAO LIBRARY 348 Byres Road. 339 7223. Mon 21 Perilla Kinchlin. author of It’tltllltf Taste: The (i/asgo w Tea Rooms 1875—1975. will discuss her work and sign copies of her book. I JOHN SMITH AND SON 57 Vincent Street. 221 7472. Fri 11 12.30pm. Gary Glitter signs copies of The Leader (libury. £15. 99) and. who knows. sin gs a few of 'fai'oarites. Sat 12 t t .3()am. Jane Hissey— of the Little Bear books — and various cuddly animals promote Jolly Snow ( 1 lutchinson. £7.99). with storytelling and a competition. Bring your own bear. Thurs 17 1pm. Horror writer. Clive Barker. signs copies of his new book. Imajica (Harper Collins. (15.99). Tue 22 6.30pm. Jimmie MacGregor reads and signs copies of More Scottish Poetry from MacGregor's Gathering (BBC Books. £4.99). I PAISLEY CENTRAL LIBRARY 1 ligh Street. 887 3672. Wed 30 7.30pm. Anne Lorne Gillies. singer and Gaelic language activist. will talk about her life and her new book. .S‘ongof M_vself(Mainstream. £ 12.99). I 19.11. SMITH 53 Argyle Street. 321 6061. Sat 19 2pm. Anna Blair. author of More 'I‘ea at Miss Cranston 's talks about her work and signs copies. I TRON BAR 63 Trongate. info: (131 221) 65112. Fri 11 7pm—midnight. A night of readings. music and discussion is planned to launch Scottish Child's publication. New VDiCt’S. New Writing (£1 from bookshops. or £1.25 (inc p&p) from Scottish Child. 40 Shandwick Place. Edinburgh. 1:1 1241(1). including contributions from Janice (ialloway. Margaret Fulton Cook and Jim Ferguson. I WATERSTONE'S 45 5t) Princes Square. 221 9651). Tue 22 7pm. Anna Blair. author of More Tea at .lliss Cranston 's. and Perilla
Kinchlin.authorot leaanrl I'ayte: [he Glasgow 'I'ea Rooms 18".5 /‘I"'5. will discuss “The (ilasgow Tea Room 'l‘radition'. Phone to reserv e a place.
I WATERSTONE'S 132 l'nion Street. 221 118911.
Mon 21 bpm. Jimmie MacGregor reatlsantl signs copies of More Scottish l’oelrv from .llat‘Urt'g’or'y (iatherine (BBC Books. £4.99).
Tue 22 (rpm. Alan Spence reads and signs copies of ltisbooks.
I CENTRAL LIBRARY ( ieorge 1\’ Bridge. 225 5584 est 212.
Wed 2311mm. Elspeth Barker. author of () Caledonia w ill read lrom her work. and answer audience questions.
I CORNERSTONE BOOKSHOP St John‘s Church. Princes Street. 229 3770.
Wed 2 7.311pm. Michael Turnbull talksby candlelight.
I JAMES THIN 57 ( ieorge Street. 225 4-195. Mon 14 (rpm. Sir Michael Gow signs copies 01 his memoir. (it‘ltt'l'u/ Reflections. pttblislied by Souvenir.
'Tue 22 (rpm. The Wasp l‘at‘tory . Iain Banks talks about his work and signs copies of his IT()()1\'\.
Wed 23 (rpm. Jimmie MacGregor reads and signs copies of More Scottish Poetry from .Hartiregor’s (iathering ( BB( ’ Books. £4.99).
Thurs 24 opm. Tom Weir talks about his work and signs books.
I JAMES THIN 53 59 South Bridge. 550 (i743.
Sat 12 Chess internationalist .llit'liaiSaha will play twelve challengers simultaneously . The event is organised in conjunction with the publication ofSuba‘s book. Dynamic Chess Strategy. Phone the shop for details.
Tue 22 7pm. Michael Lynch. ofthe Iidinburghl'niversityllistory1)ept.talks about his book. Scotland: .-1 New History. (Century. £18.99).
Wed 23 7pm. Alan Spence reads and signs copies of [he .llagit‘ Hate ( Black Swan. £5.99).
Thurs 24 “pm. Elspeth Barker reads front () Caledonia.
I TRAVERSE THEATRE ( irassmarket . 22o 2633.
Fri 11 7.311pm. Chapman magazine Iauncltesbooks by Ellie McDonaldt lhe (iangan I'ta't ). George Gunn (Sting) and
William Soutart l'he Diary ofa Dying .llan ). Music from Hamish l lenderson and others accompany the readings.
I WATERSTONE'S 13 14 Princes Street. 556 3113-1.
Sat 12 3~- 4pm. Join Jane Hissey. with her friends Little Bear. ()ld Bear andJolly Tall. to celebrate the publication ol.lo//v .Snow(1lutchinson. £7.99). Puntersare invited to bring their own toys.
Thurs 17 5._s(L(i.3(lpm. Raymond Blanc. of Le Manoir Aux ()uat' Saisons introduces his down-to-earth cook-book. ( ‘ooking/or Friends ( 1 leadline. £25 ).
Thurs 17 7.30pm. Clive Barker currently rivalling Stephen King for the title ‘Kingof 11orror'»~ will sign copiesof his new book. lmajica ( 1 Iarper Collins. 1' 15.99).
Sal191~ 2pm. Andrew Yule and Maidie
Murray talk about The Best Way to Laugh
('I‘ransworld. £4.99). a compilation ofthe
stories. sketches and funny quips ol the
late Chic Murray.
Tue 22 (rpm. Elspeth Barker reads from her
acclaimed novel () ( ‘aledonia ( 1 Iamish
Wed 23 7.3(lpm. Howard Bheingold
explains the know-how behind the
amazingly complicated computer which is
the subject of his book. l'iriaa/ Rea/it)"
(Seeker and \‘y'arburg. £10.99).