I Bloody Margaret .\Iark Law son (Picador £5.99) Three needle-sharp comedies from the Independent columnist v- not to be confused with son-of-Nigcl. 'l‘he lovingly re-created detail of life under'I‘hatcher. from early Slls dinner-party conversations to restaurant trcndsol I99”. make his savage satires of l’ooterish young SDI’ supporters and Yankophile stockbrokcrs all the more hilarious.
I Saint Maybe Anne 'I'y ler ( Vintage £5.99) Tyler again exercises her extraordinary gift for conjuring the magical from the mundane. I Iumour and emotional insight turn this tale of an :\ll-:\lllL‘I'lCtlll boy dri\en by guilt to look after three orphaned children into a small masterpiece.
I Fond and Foolish Lovers Richard Burns (Flamingo £5.99) Multi-layered no\ cl taking off from a literary critic's luneral to explore a profusion of \ icw points and styles. Past and present. disparate \ oices and the detritus of people‘s li\ cs - letters. poems and essays -- are cley crl_\ stitched together into one neat whole.
I The Lay of SirTristam l’aul ( iriffiths (Picador £4.99) Impenetrable and sell-conscioust poetic reworking of the Tristan and Isolde legend. in which the original story is interwoven with a modern-day performance of the opera. Plenty of post-modernist authorial reflection thrown in. (l-rances(‘ornford)
| REME- l HIGHERTHINGS
.‘ I Metaphysics As a Guide to Morals ' Iris Murdoch (Chatto & Windus £20) In this worthy tome. philosopher-novelist Murdoch attempts to rescue moral philosophy from the likes ofJacques Derrida. In an age when technology and science increasingly prevail. and structuralists have reduced the discussion of morality to explanations of behaviourism or conditioning. Murdoch enlists the aid of her old friend Plato to question. through an examination of art and literature. why morals still exist. Pointing to our transcendental responses to beauty or suffering. she argues that. despite our godless state and rejection of the supernatural. we retain a sense ofspirituality or mysticism. The individual continues to recognise virtue and struggle against evil — a theme which dominates her fiction. A suitath lengthy book for such a vast and troublesome subject. it nevertheless reads like an eloquent conversation. reassuring in its appraisal of the human spirit. (Charlie Llewellyn)
of A was Once an Apple Pie.
one Scot’s epic adVenture.
$9.?ar49a17.z§efetdeiz§lgsteess Scottish BOOK Fortnight 1992
A CELEBRATION of Scottish Books
MARTIN MILLAR Thursday 22 October 7.15pm Meet the great punk novelist and hear the weird and wonderful story of The Good Fairies of New York..
John Smith & Son Ltd, 252 Byres Road, Glasgow (041 334 2769) MACNUS LINKLATER AND ANDREW MARR Friday 23 October 7pm The co-editor of Anatomy of Scotland and political journalist
Marr discuss The Battle for Scotland - When will it end? James Thin, 53—59 South Bridge, Edinburgh (031 556 6743) JULIE LACOME Monday 26 October 10.30-11.15am Collage workshop for young readers Nith the illustrator
Waterstone’s, 13 Princes Street, Edinburgh (031 556 3034) ALASTAIR SCOTT Monday 26 October 7.15pm Tracks Across Alaska - hear the extraordinary account of
Stockbridge Library, Hamilton Place, Edinburgh (031 332 2173)
0 WIN AN ISLAND WEEKEND FOR TWO! 0 Pick up your free copy of Book News (the complete guide to SBF l 1992) from any participating bookshop or library and you could win a great weekend for two on the Isle of Islay.
l Information on books in SBF 1992 is available from the SBMG, 137 Dundee Street, Edinburgh EH11 186 Telephone: 031 228 6866
88 The List 23 October— 5 November 1992
I anhtener: The Glasgow Ice-Cream Wars Douglas Skelton and Lisa Brownlie (Mainstream £7.99) Bill Paterson fans will remember Glasgow’s ice-cream wars: as Dickie Bird, in Bill Forsyth’s Comfort and
Joy, he found himself caught in the
middle of bizarre battles over sales territory and van runs. The film was fun, the reality deadly serious. The ‘war’ ended in Scotland’s biggest mass murder— six members of the Doyle family, including an eighteen-month-old baby, were killed — and in life sentences for two
of the four accused.
In Frightener, Skelton and Brownlie re-examine the crime, trials and convictions. producing a strong, balanced and objective case to suggest that Thomas Campbell and Joseph Steele deserve at least a retrial. Key witness Billy Love retracts his testimony as the authors reveal a world of macho feuding and casual violence. The Mr Whippy Two may not have the same ring as the Birmingham Six. but the book raises serious questions about Scottish justice. which should be answered. (Stephen Fraser)
I The Tale of the Body Thlet Anne Rice (Chatto & Windus £14.99) The current resurgence of interest in the beguiling fictional vampire is partly, if not wholly, due to the ongoing success of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and the only true inheritor of Dracula’s fangs, The Vampire Lestat. This, the fourth of the Chronicles, finds the seducer seduced: Lestat, eager to have a taste of mortality once more, strikes a body swap deal with a devious being who has the ability to transfer soul and consciousness from one corporeal shell to another.
Lestat is one of the greatest creations in horror fiction. When retelling his tales, his distinctive voice balances confident swagger,
old-fashioned dignity, selfishness and pathos. The Tale of the Body Thief masterfully captures the sense of the vampire as the most tragic of monsters. It is not only a finely written addition to an increasingly rich series, it is simply one of the best vampire novels ever written. (Alan Morrison)
WORDS OF WARNING
I The Call of the Toad (iiinter Grass (Seeker & Warburg £14.99) A
widow and widower meet in Gdansk.
Poland. on All Souls' Day. 1989. It is a fortuitous encounter — both were born in the city. where she still resides; he is a German art historian. she a gilder. They share a passion for tombs and. wandering through a graveyard. conceive the idea of a ‘cemetery of reconciliation‘ in which those scattered by war can find a
final resting-place in their homeland.
A quiet tale of unlikely love. the
snowballing cemetery project and a bizarre ecological subplot. seamlessly translated by Ralph Manheim. enable (irass to demonstrate his skill at transforming the gentle and humane into scathing satire. ()ne of the few (ierman intellectuals to argue cogently against reunification. he lambasts his country for her increasing dominance ofeastern Europe. The eroaking complaint of an old man it maybe. but it is equally a bell-clear harbinger ofcalarnity. ('I’hom Dibdin)
PEAKS AND TROUGHS ‘ l .i 7 5
s. 93%) f
I Electric Brae Andrew Greig (Canongate £14.95) On one level, this debut novel by an established Scottish poet is a movineg written, pain-drenched, but ultimately affirming love story, communicating the joys and agonies of human relationships with rare delicacy and lyricism. Thirtyish rig-worker Jimmy, climbing near Glencoe, meets Glasgow
teacher-socialist-painter Graeme; six months later he bumps into a young, would-be artist, Kim, in an Aberdeen bar. These two encounters are to shape the course of all three‘s lives. and those ofseveral others, throughout the novel’s decade-long span, as they struggle to negotiate the minefields oflove, passion, (in)dependence. friendship and rivalry.
At the same time. Elecric Brae sets out to map the cultural-emotional landscape of 805 Scotland, employing an effective mixture of archeological and mountaineering metaphors— tracing the summits and digging for the bedrock. Greig‘s realistic, honest delineation of the
’ dilemmas which face the thoughtful
Scottish male battling with his conditioning is particularly impressive, with a refreshing absence ofself—indulgent New Man breast-beating. No space for more detail — suffice to say this is a beautiful, heart-tugging read, one of the best and bravest Scottish novels to see print this year. (Sue Wilson)