I london Dbserved Doris Lessing (Flamingo £5.99) There is a great intimacy to these stories and sketches of modern London. Lessing's beady eyes are present in them all. personal and observant. as she notes everyday tragedy and comedy. From the cafe in the park to the underground or the casualty department. she is at once detached. yet forgiving of those who inhabit the city she so clearly loves.
I What the Traveller Saw Eric Neweby (Flamingo £6.99) In 1938, during the last great grain race from Australia back to Europe. Newby was a deck-hand in a square-rigged sailing ship. Since then he has travelled the world. camera in hand, finding lonely places and visiting sites of ancient habitation. all of which he has the skill to conjure up on the page. A sampler for his travel books. this leaves you wanting more.
I Warlock Jim Harrison (Flamingo £4.99) Sex. food and the great outdoors are Warlock’s passions. Newly unemployed. he deals with mid-life crisis in Michigan by indulging in all three. strapping on a gun and becoming embroiled in a fancy plot of deception and detection. Earthy, easy-reading which leaves you wondering how much Harrison resembles his heroes. Also available are A Good Day to Die, Farmer, and Wolf.
I Vested Interests: Gross-dressing and Cultural Anxiety Marjorie Garber (Penguin £12.99) From M. Butterﬂy to Tootsie, Divine and Michael Jackson, Garber examines not so much why people cross-dress. but the role they play in the culture of their time. There's not much for the prurient here. but the interested will be fascinated by a scholarly text which examines cross-dressing from a pop sociology angle. (Thom Dibdin)
DEERE- nouan musrc
I GIraIIes John McGill (Mainstream, £8.99) Like opening up the front of a dolls’ house, this debut novel lifts the lid on the inhabitants of a dilapidated tenement somewhere in 50s Glasgow; not the Glasgow of Byme or Gray, but a grim urban landscape suffused with violence, alcohol. gossip and bigotry. While most of the adults are enmeshed in unhappy relationships and grinding poverty. they see a ray of hope when two of the close’s young men become engaged to two girls from the other side
of town — a world of Sunday school, sherry and houses with gardens — even though as all the players subconsciously realise, the relationships are doomed from the start.
The narrative moves with great pace and style throughout. with voices chiming in gritty, uncompromised Glaswegian. adding dynamics and an almost musical texture to the writing. A compelling. amusing but often dark tale, Giraﬁ‘es is a brilliant accomplishment, filled with a raw energy which jumps from the page. (Beatrice Colin)
NOT SO SWEET
I Sugar Cane Paul Bailey (Bloomsbury, £l4.99) Centred around venerologist Dr Esther Potocki, Sugar Cane tells the story of her involvement with a young male prostitute. Stephen, who befriends her after one of his circle dies from AIDS. The novel’s numerous interesting strands include Esther's ﬁght against the ignorance and guilt pervading her field of expertise, her tender relationship with her lover (the eponymous subject of Bailey's Booker- shortlisted Gabriel ’s Lament). who likes to wear the occasional dress, her critical mother and difﬁcult childhood and. centrally, her curious relationship with Stephen himself. Unfortunately. these individual strands fail to weave together in any satisfying way — Stephen's rather predictable story unfolds too slowly, there is no rhyme nor reason to his interest in Esther and Gabriel, characters are less intriguing than their creator clearly intends them to be and there’s a rather precious quality overall. The story‘s potential is clear but. frustratingly. unrealised, and
the novel left this reader largely indifferent. Pretty awful title, too. (Cathy Boylan)
I Poetry at Maylest College Club. University of Glasgow. University Avenue. Details from 334 8058. £3 (£2). Fri 7. 8pm. Richard Burton. Matt Ewart. Tom Lamb and Donny O’Rourke read from their poems at this Open Circle organised event.
I Maggie Tisserand Waterstone's. 45/50 Princes Square. 221 9650. Wed 12. 7pm. Free. tickets from the branch. Demonstration (and signing) from the author of Aromatherapy for Lovers
(H rCollins £4.99). I fill-ﬂ; Cooper Waterstone’s. 45/50 Princes Square. 221 9650. Fri 14, [2.30—1.30pm. Free, no ticket required. Signing session for Ms Cooper's latest hunk-ﬁlled blockbuster: The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous (Bantam £ 14.99). I Poetry at Maylest College Club. University of Glasgow, University Avenue. Details from 334 8058. £3 (£2). Fri 14. 8pm. Tim Cloudsley. Catherine Hendrick and Alistair Paterson read from their poems at this Open Circle organised event I Glasgow Environment Book Group Renﬁeld St Stephen's Centre. 260 Bath Street. Mon I7. 7.30pm. Free. Discussion of Last Animals at the 200: How Mass Extinction Can Be Stopped by Colin Tudge. I Miriam Stoppard Waterstone's. 45/50 Princes Square. 221 9650. Tue 18. 12.30—I.30pm. Free. Ms Stoppard signs copies of her latest: Conception, Pregnancy and Birth (Borling Kindersley
I Allan Massie Waterstone's, 132 Union Street, 221 0890. Thurs 20, 6.30pm. Free tickets from branch. Leading Scottish author reads from. and signs, his latest novel Caesar (Hodder & Stoughton £14.99).
I First Friday: Poems and Pints West End Hotel, Palmerston Place. Fri 7. 8pm. 5‘ '_ ’300). Drink in a varied selection of " rid poetry (own compositions Guest author Angela . ‘ilt St Andrew’s and St George’s ' George Street. Sat 8. 10am—4pm a.... .10 I 'O-Fri l4. 10.30am-3pm. A mr rig the 30-to-40 thousand books on sale to benefit Christian Aid will be Walter Scott first editions and ephemera. The oldeSt Scottish book on sale is likely to be a 1777 History of Glasgow. I Bobble Coltrane Waterstone’s. 83 George Street. 225 3436. Sat 8. 5pm. Free. no ticket required. Signing session with the Big One, to launch his Coltrane in a Cadillac (Fourth Estate £9.99). I Adam Thorpe Waterstone’s basement. l3 Princes Street. 556 3034. Wed 12. 30pm. Free. with wine. Discussion and ~. g‘ning of Ulverton (Mandarin paperback) which is Waterstone’s book of the month. Chaired by Pat Kane. I Jilly Cooper Waterstone's. 83 George Street. 225 3436. Thurs 13, 1pm. Free. no ticket required. Signing session for Ms Cooper's latest hunk-filled blockbuster: The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous (Bantam £ 14.99). I Elizabeth luard James Thin. 53-59 South Bridge. 556 6743. Thurs 13. 7pm.
Free. with food and wine. The Scotsman's cookery correspondent presents slides and talks about her Glenfrddich award winning book Flavours of Andalucia. now out in paperback (Collins and Brown £9.99).
I Maggie Tissarand Waterstone's. 128 Princes Street, 226 2666. Thurs 13. 7pm. Free, tickets from the branch. Demonstration (and signing) from the author of Aromatherapy for Lovers (HarperCollins £4.99).
I David Maloul and Paul Bailey Waterstone’s. 128 Princes Street. 226 2666. Tue 18. 7pm. Free. tickets from the branch. These two novelists read from their latest works: Malouf’s Remembering Babylon (Chatto & Windus £l4.99) and Bailey's Sugar Cane (Bloomsbury £15.99).
I Church of Scotland Event James Thin. 53-59 South Bridge. 556 6743. Wed 19. 7pm. Free with wine. Thin’s team up with MacDonald Mitchell Associates during the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. to launch three new books: Padre Mac — The Man From Harris. Voices from the Edge. twenty essays by Scots writers and The Less Travelled Way. the autobiography of Donald MacDonald. I An Evening of Armchair Voyaglng Waterstone's basement. 13 Princes Street. 556 3034. Thurs 20. 7.30pm. Free ticket from the branch. Tony Wheeler leads a discussion with slides of the Lonely Planet Guides series. of which he is the founder and guru.
I Scottish International Children’s Festival Box Ofﬁce Waterstone’s Children’s Department. 83 George Street. 225 3436. 4-22 May. Tue—Sun. 11am—4pm.
BEFORE THE BREAK
Ilal Mcoennld, one oi Britain’s most popular contemporary crime writers whose latest novel, Illck Back, has just been published by Gollancz, tallrs to Sue Wilson about her lonner career as an idealistic tabloid journalist.
m we; . 1’. a ﬁt" ’ ‘- ~x".l
ii: "if: ‘I grew up in Kirkcaldy, where my parents lived, but I also spent a lot or time with my grandparents, who lived In a mining village, which was like all the clichés - it was a very small, very supportive community, with the downside that everybody knew everybody’s business - it people had secret lives they were very secret indeed.
‘I recognised in my teens that I wanted to expand my horizons - the tradition at llirircaldy Illgh was very much that you went to one or tour universities, Edinburgh, St Andrews, Dundee or Stirling, and alter that you came back to work. I wanted something different, and being a typical arrogant wee lassie I decided I was going to go to an English university, and thought I’d better go to the best one, so I got a place at Oxford.
‘1 was just seventeen, and my college was pretty wary about accepting me - they’d never taken anyone so young, or anyone Irom a Scottish state school. I had enormous ditlicuitles with people just not understanding a word I said, or purporting not to, but I enjoyed it enormously, I had titres extraordinary years and learned an awlul lot, academically and socially.
‘Atter college I went on the Mirror Group Newspapers training scheme, ending up working tor a paper in Devon. It was the nuts and bolts of local journalism - parish councils, magistrates’ courts. We used to cover all the villages strung round Dartmoor, and being too poor to run a car, we all had to get around by bus. They were all Methodist villages, so there was no pub to go to; you’d end up freezing In bus-shelters on December evenings, waiting tor the parish council meeting to start - serioust unglamorous stuff.
‘Some time later I was at the People in Manchester lor twelve years, and ran the Ilorthern Bureau tor the last three. When I went there in 1979 It was a very different paper from what it is now - it did a lot or hard investigation and human Interest stories; It became much more showbiz-sleaze-and-glltz In the mid- 80s. Eventually I was having great ditiiculty getting up In the momlng and feeling comrortable with what I was doing. My first book was published in 1987, so I’d started to build a base on which I could earn a living, and In 1991 I decided to jump In the dark and ask for voluntary redundancy - luckily I managed to get my hands on the money just belore Iiobert Maxwell went over the side.’
The List 7-20 May 1993 83