I Shadow Dance Angela Caner (Virago £9.99) In this long-awaited reprint of her ﬁrst novel. Carter‘s sublime descriptions veer from the heavenly to the grotesque. In a biting tale ofa reality where love is transient and treacherous. everyone dances to the ﬁckle tune of the slush- happy. insanely grinning Honeybuzzard. Mundanity juxtaposed with fantasy and cutting-edge characterisation make for an interesting read.
I Complicity Iain Banks (Abacus £6.99) This mind-racing tale of one man's gruesome crusade against ‘global barbarism‘ has all the hallmarks of the greatest whodunnits and more. Political corruption. capitalist greed and seedy sex scandals described with economical granite realism are the vortex in which this slick thriller spins.
I Passing Places Amanda MacAndrew (Arrow £5.99) l960s bourgeois Edinburgh is the setting for MacAndrew‘s ﬁrst novel of teenage growing pains. Plump. awkward Andrea wants a teenage Helen Shapiro hairstyle and magical spot cure while feeling obliged to love her coldly monarchist parents. On a year-long journey to enlightened semi-adulthood she encounters bulimia. death and divorce in this fatniliarly simple tale. brimming with no-nonsense jolly-hockeysticks caricatures.
I Shipping News E. Annie Proulx (Fourth Estate £5.99) Proulx’s salty. tangible descriptions of a fog-enshrouded Newfoundland make Scotland seem like the Costa Brava in comparison. One family‘s bleak tragedy transformed into a windswept comedy on the sea-battered northern coast of this island of isolation. The ﬁnal sage realisation is that ‘water may be older than light‘ and ‘love
sometimes occurs without pain or misery‘.
I Sean’s Book Sean Hughes (Pavillion £4.99) Quietly uninspiring poems and quirky prose pieces divulging the laconic comedian‘s innermost musings on such die-hard themes as life. love. death and the 20th century's fatalistic spiralling of humanity. Poetry aside. the ruminations can be succinctly funny and on-the-ball without being overbearing. (Katy Lironi)
DERE- FISHY STORIES
I How To Travel With A Salmon Umberto Eco (Seeker & Warburg £9.99) Nipping in to make a quick buck. Seeker & Warburg has published this rag-bag collection ofessays by Umberto the polyrnath. who ranges over the little absurdities and curiosities of modem life with characteristic Mediterranean ebullience. But whereas : the earlier Misremlings packed some punch. here we meet those cast-offs
which should have remained in the bottom drawer.
In the author's own words. these are divertissements. written with no critical or moral intention in mind. The result is an overpriced volume of occasional pieces that fails to satisfy. Eco considers parody his sacred duty. btrt he comes uncomfortably close to parodying himself. Still. ifyou were wondering ‘How To Become A Knight Of Malta‘ or ‘How To Recognise A Pom Movie‘ (which is trickier than you
5 may imagine). this onc‘s for you. (Marc
V UNDER THE COVERS
Colin lane, half of the Perrier award- winning slapstick duo Lano and Woodley, talks about his bedtime reading.
BLACK AND WHITE
I None To Accompany Me Nadine Gordimer (Bloomsbury £ l 5.99) The latest novel frotn the writer considered to be the chief representative of civilised South African writing tells the story of Vera Stark. a lawyer representing blacks attempting to reclaim their land. As the country hurtles towards majority rule. Vera discovers the need to transform her own life. She collides with Didymus Maqoma. an activist making way for his wife‘s emergence as a political ﬁgure and a new man ofthe times.
OBSEBVINC NEWMAN :
I Dependence Day Robert Newman (Century £8.99) Yup. it is he of The Mary White/rouse Experience fame. Fans ofthe show will not be ' disappointed by Newman's ﬁrst literary i offering as it has much in common with ? his routines. His writing style is similar to his comedy delivery — short. staccato bursts of one-liners contrasting with rambling. shaggy-dog digressions and inner musings. all bound up in gritty. i acute observations on the mundane minutiae of modem life.
Written as a tapestry. for all its brittle intelligence this novel reads more like journalesc than ﬁction. its icy detachment reminiscent of Kate Adie‘s reports frorn the battlefields. Vera should be a fascinating protagonist. but there is little access to her character. She remains almost as shadowy as the other characters: name-tagged embodiments of sexual and political situations. Here. Gordimer‘s view is
j eerily, ifappropriately black and white. 3 There is little subtlety or depth. (Paul ' Haughton)
The plot follows the adventures of
t several tenuously connected characters who are never fully fleshed out but just T manage to retain enough detail for the
reader to point them out to their friends
and say: ‘That's you. that is.‘ Pursuing multiple story lines allows Newman to sustain a relatively fast narrative drive.
- but the resulting fragmentary view
point is vaguely unsatisfying. Still. his legions of fans won‘t care and copies of this will ﬁnd their way onto the
bookshelves of countless. ironic é twenty-somethings. (Jonathan Trew)
NEW HAMPSHIRE’S CLOWN
I A Son Of The Circus John Irving (Bloomsbury £l5.99) Turning the glare of his caustic wit from small-town America to the heady confusion of lndia. lrving casts this tale with a
colourful assortment of dwarfs. circus
performers. hippies and lndian movie
The plot circles. backllips and hangs dangerously loosely around central character Dr Daruwalla. an orthopaedic doctor who is also a hack screenwriter.
He secretly writes scripts for the
j Inspector [)har movies. a sort of Hindu : 'laggart. starring his adopted nephew
i John. When reality begins overlapping with ﬁction. a series of mistaken
s identities unfolds with tragic and
; farcical consequences.
With too many characters and barely a central thread to pull it through. this
novel jangles with too much clatter. Although it doesn‘t quite add tip. the ‘ writer‘s cynical. perverse and wild
imagination makes it immenser
readable. if not particularly satisfying. (Beatrice Colin)
I Dick Francis Fri 9. l2.30—l.30pm. John Smith & Son. 57 St Vincent Street. 221 7472. Another equestrian thriller from the ever-popular author here to promote Wild Horses (Michael Joseph £14.99).
I Michael Kelly Sat 10.
l l.30am—-l2.30pm. John Smith 8: Son. 57 St Vincent Street. 22l 7472. An exposé from the former Lord Provost on what really happened behind the scenes at Celtic Park in his book Paradise Lost — The Lost Struggle for Celtic '3 Soul (Canongate £7.99).
I Duncan Mclean and Maggie Graham Tue l3. 7pm. John Smith & Son. 252 Byres Road. 334 2769. Glasgow writer Graham and Orkney-based McLean read from their work. McLean‘s wonderful novel Blue/alert (Seeker & Warburg £9.99) is a deﬁnite contender in any Book Of The Year Awards. See feature.
I Mary Daly Tue 13. 7pm. Waterstones.
' Princes Square. 221 9650. The major-
league feminist sweeps out man-made language and wickedly ushers in a new and vital version in her book lVe/M‘tet".v First New Integrated ll’it'lt'etlrv (If/ing/ix/r language (Women‘s Press £8.95).
I Peter Garey Thttrs 8. 7.30pm. Waterstones. 83 George Street. 225 3436.The Booker prizewinner reads from his latest witty tome 'l'lte Unusual Life Of Tristan Smith (Faber £14.99). See Preview.
I Norman Sherry Thurs 8. 7pm. Waterstones. 128 Princes Street. 226 2666. The esteemed biographer reads from his latest work The Life ()fGra/ram Greene — Volume 1], [939—55 (Cape £20). I Dick Francis Fri 9. 7.30pm. Waterstones. 83 George Street. 225 3436. A rare visit from the equestrian literary king. who is signing copies of his new book Wild Horses (Michael Joseph £14.99).
I Bose Elliot Sat 10. l—3pm.
Waterstones. l3 Princes Street. 556 3034. The culinary queen will be giving a
. demonstration to promote her latest book. Vegetarian Fast Food ( llarperCollins
. I Environmental Book Group Mon I4.
7.30pm. James Thin. 53—59 Southbridgc. 556 6743. The group will discuss Helena
2 Norberg-Hodge's book Ancient Futures.
I Cyberia Wed 2 l. 7pm. Waterstones. l3 Princes Street. 556 3034. A must for all
g Techno-Shamanism fans apparently. the 5 guru of this clan. Douglas Rushkosf reads
from his novel (ii‘fﬂ’l'tll (HarperCollins £l5.99).
I Duncan Mclean Wed 14. 7.30pm. Waterstones. 83 George Street. 225 3436. The rising young star of the literary scene proves miles ahead of his peers with his latest novel Blue/(den (Seeker & Warburg £9.99). See Feature.
I Ian Botham Fri l6. lpm. Waterstones. 83 George Street. 225 3436. The controversial man ofcricket comes clean with his autobiography. Ian [tot/tam (HarperCollins £ 1 5.99).
“a; ‘ Ms, .: Q2.» -
‘Well, what’s currently on my bedside table is the Doctor Zeus trilogy: Cat In The flat, Fox In The Sox and Ardvaark In The Carpark. Frank is currently reading The Sticky Book, which he’s finding very difficult to put down.
I think I’m speaking for both of us when I say Frank and I aren’t the world’s greatest readers. I got as far as mastering the Snoopy Book in grade four at school and it’s still one of my favourites. I think Frank once had to write a book review for his school test, but he cheated. I think he read the blurb at the back, the first chapter and the last chapter and that was him. ; Actually, come to think of it, he could ' probably get a job as a full-time reviewer because that’s all they do isn’t it?
There’s this Australian guy Peter Carey. I can’t understand him at all, though Frank and I have been reading this great new book that is very similar to Carey’s books Bliss and Illywacker. We call this book the flyer book and it's something that has given us a great deal of entertainment over the last few weeks. Mind you, I think it should have been a bit more rigorously ; edited. The plot is very thin, so it’s very easy to read. Anyway, what it . consists of is all the flyers from the I Fringe all stapled together and we’re thinking of making a lot of money by publishing it. i
There is one book Frank carries with him at all times — Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History Of Time. He can’t understand it, but he likes to look intellectual and impress the girls.
I guess on the whole that I gave up all serious reading after high school and started reading more ‘intellectual’ books such as the cartoon character ‘ Doonesbury, which I think gives a . pretty good indication of my reading ’ abilities. Really, when I go to bed I I
sleep. (Ann Donald)
The List 9 22 September I994 71