I The Picador Book of the Beach Edited by Robert Drewe (Picador £7.99) Unashamedly aimed at the casual seaside reader, this anthology is crammed full of watery tales in large print. The selection is diverse and includes John Cheever‘s lament for the last owner of his seaside house. Ian McEwan's bleak story of childhood friendship and Raymond Carver’s deadpan account of a fishing trip and a drowned girl. A veritable fictional picnic.

I The Talisman and Other Tales Victoria Victoria Tokavera (Picador £6.99) This collection of short stories is the first to appear in English by one of Russia's most popular authors. Most take place in Moscow in the early 80s and involve bizarre incidents and sharp ironic dialogue which the author recounts in a somewhat affectionate style. Witty, wry and effortlessly engaging.

I Mothers and Other lovers Joanna Briscoe (Phoenix House £8.99) A young girl becomes obsessed by her mother's friend in an English post-hippy suburban household and this tale is one long sprawling seduction. set against a dysfunctional family saga. Although there are all the great fictional themes such as betrayal. rejection and passion, this novel rarely sparks or manages to strike up any sense of surprise.

I Gray’s Anatomy Spalding Gray (Picador £5.99) When Spalding finds his eyeball needs scraping, he embarks on a quest to prevent painful surgery by visiting a selection of the weirdest quacks around. All give their diagnosis and send him the bill in a tale of self-obsessed insanity told in the usual quick-paced and hysterically funny Spalding style. (Beatrice Colin)


I Iain M. Banks and Tom Iiolt Sat 18. 3-4pm. Dillons. 174—176 Argyle Street. 248 4814. A sci-ft signing from two of the biggies in the,genre to promote their respective new novels F eersum Endjinn (Orbit £15.99) and Faust Among Equals (Orbit £14.99).

I Bernard Maclaverty Thurs 23. 7pm. John Smith & Son. 252 Byres Road. 334 2769. A reading and signing by the local author of Walking The Dog and Other Stories (Cape £14.99).

I The Apostolic Club Fri 17. 8pm. £2/£1. 25 Blackfriars Street. 556 5204. The line- up includes author Gordon [8990, radical agit poet Rodney IIelax. psychoactive performance raver. Toni Davidson plus Kevin Williamson and Piefinger. Iain M. Banks and Tom IIolt Fri 17. 1—2pm. James Thin. 53—59 South Bridge. 556 6743. A sci-ft signing from this double bill to promote their respective new novels Seersum Endjinn (Orbit £15.99) and Faust Among Equals (Orbit £14.99). I Iain M. Banks and Tom Ilolt Fri 17. 7.30pm. Bedlam Theatre. Forrest Road. Tickets £1 from Waterstone‘s. 13 Princes Street. 556 3034. The sci-ft tour continues with both authors reading from their res tive new novels. I be Apostolic Club Sat 18. 25 Blackftiars Street, 556 5204. 3pm: Public debate on the state of new writing in Scotland with Dream Stare editor Bonny

mamm- IN one we rnusr

I Dogs of God Pinckney Benedict (Seeker & Warburg £9.99) Benedict's first novel is a crashing tension of brutality and mayhem in the backwoods mountains of West Virginia. Tannhauser is a psychotic dope grower who sucks a lawless collection of gun— runners. federal agents, comipt sheriffs, local farmers. illegal immigrants, a destitute hitch-hiker and a religious fanatic into his dangerous ambit. Drawn with them is Goody. a bare-

knuckle fighter whose innocence is as naive as he is brutal in the makeshift rings in which he plies his trade.

The power of Benedict’s writing stems from his ability to omit vivid descriptions of the carnage that litters this compelling book. leaving his readers to provide their own horror, apart from Goody‘s balletically described fights. Although his short story antecedents are clear in the tightly structured chapters which could be lifted and read individually - the whole is a thought provoking read which says as much about frailty and morality as it does about violence. (Thom Dibdin)


I Women And Ghosts Alison Lurie (Heineman £14.99) So often thematic collections of short stories are the result of a limited view of the world. Not so in this significant collection. Lurie employs her uncanny understanding of women to explore the worldliness of ghosts and apparitions to cast different coloured lights on the lives and experiences of characters. Whether they awake to the manipulations of their lovers. become uncomfortable

with their bodies. accept their childlessness or give up their greed, they all benefit in some positive way.

Yet when we realise that so many of these ghosts exist only in the minds of women it is clear that there is more than one kind of spirit being celebrated here. Throw in a close encounter with a haunted sideboard with a grudge and a Wordsworth scholar who finds contentment as a sheep and you have a remarkable collection. (Maggie Lennon)


I James Baldwin - A Biography David Leeming (Michael Joseph £20) James Baldwin was always known as Jimmy. Jimmy the writer, Jimmy the activist. Jimmy the lover or Jimmy the drinker. From the 1940s to the 1980s in New York. Paris, Istanbul and London, Jimmy was a legend and everyone wanted to claim a part of him. To Afro- Americans he was a powerful witness to their culture and a willing if unpredictable spokesman for civil rights. To white liberals he was a scintillating companion and an accessible if volatile link with black perspectives.

Lemming’s biography the fourth and probably not the last emphasises that Baldwin‘s life was a continual struggle to reconcile opposites. When a balance was achieved, the effect was extraordinary. More often, the trauma of coming to terms with poverty, racism. his sexuality and his creativity was devastating. What distinguishes this account is the use of unpublished letters and interviews with close friends and family. It serves also as a useful introduction to figures such as Richard Wright, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. However. it falls short of the insight we can expect if Baldwin‘s own private papers are ever published. (Justin Mackenzie Smith)

O’Rourke. Rebel Inc editor Kevin Williamson and Joy liendry from Chapman magazine. 8pm: Barry Graham. Bloomsbury and Serpent's Tail author with performance poets Cal King and Paul Beckie. Plus semi-acoustic band Rockville.

I Molly Hunter Mon 20. 2pm. Waterstone‘s. l3 Princes Street. 556 3034. The popular children's author does a special afternoon reading of two teen books Ghosts OfGlentroe (Canongate £2.99) and A Stranger Came Ashore (Canongate £2.99).

I Historic Scotland Series Mon 20. 7pm. James Thin. 57 George Street. 225 4495. The launch oftwo books in the Historic Scotland series: Scotland is First Settlers by Caroline Wickham-Jones (Batsford £25) and Scottish Abbeys and Priories by Richard Fawcett (Batsford £25).

I Christopher Bush Thurs 23. 7pm. James Thin, 53—59 South Bridge. 556 6743. The author and Heriot‘s school teacher launches his new book Last Lesson 0/ The Afternoon (Canongate £9.99).

I Janice Galloway Fri 24, 7pm. £3/£2. The Adult Learning Project, 184 Dairy Road. 337 5442. A women's gathering with readings. music. singers and dancing. I Shore Poets Sun 26. 8pm. Ceilidh House. The Tron Tavern. Hunter Square. A monthly poetry reading from distinguished poet Stewart Conn plus Brian Johnstone. Donal McLaughlan and banjo music from Ali Loudon and Rob Mairs.

I Alison lurie Tues 28. 7.30pm. Waterstone’s. 83 George Street. 225 3436. Author of the hauntingly beautiful Women

And Ghosts (Heinemann £ 14.99).

I Mario Vargas Llosa Wed 29. 7.30pm. One of Latin America's best-known authors reads from his autobiography A Fish In Water (Faber £15.99).

I Jeanette Winterson Thurs 30. 7.30pm. Assembly Ballroom. George Street. Tickets £2 from Waterstone’s, 13 Princes Street, 556 3034. A rare outing for the self-proclaimed best novelist of the year. The author will be reading from her literary indictment of the 20th century, Art And Lies (Cape £13.99). Please note that your ticket price is refundable if you buy a copy of the book.

- American author Louise Erdrich,

whose new novel, The Bingo Palace (Harper Collins £14.99), is the fourth instalment of her exploration of the native-American experience, takes Ann oonald on a tour of her favourite and hated fictional characters.

‘My favourite and least favourite character is Maggie Tolllver from George Eliot’s Mill On The Pics. | read this book both as a child and as an adult and I still felt the same way about her. As a child she’s my favourite because she’s such an obstreperous girl - the type of girl who hammered nails Into the heads of her dolls. Then after the great divide in the book she becomes my least favourite when she grows into this supposedly beautiful character - but, I think, slmpering young female. By the end of It I can’t stand her because she decides to die and save her virtue somehow. As a child I love her but as an adult she loses her way, her strength and her power to become a slmpering fool.

Every winter I try to read a classic and last year it was the character, Alexei from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina that made an impression upon me. To me he Is one of the best villains ever, a marvellous creation. Yet he is also one of the most wronged characters. How can Tolstoy have created such a wonderful villain yet one ends up detestlng him totally? Why doesn’t he give Anna the divorce she wants? What Is wrong with this man for standing in the way of Anna’s happiness?

As a teenager one of my favourite characters was Cordelia from Sharespeare’s King lear. When I was growing up, in the small taming community in the Great Plains, there was very little culture, so my father bought the entire plays of Shakespeare on this ten cent Reader’s Digest deal. I just liked to listen to King lear over and over so the character of Cordelia really hit home, because of course I associated the situation with myself and my father.’



Meet lain

signed copies.

and Tom Holt.

Iain M. Banks and Tom Holt will be at Dillons on Saturday 18th June, from 3.00pm signing copies of their resepective new books Feersum Endjinn and Faust Among Equals, both published by Orbit. If you can't be there, ring 041 248 4814 to reserve

One of Europe's finest bookstores is at 174 Argyle Street. Glasgow.

A Panto: Company. - _ u.

M. Banks

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