. Johnny. . .

1 I Jonny Cot


I The Official Slacker Handbook Sarah Dunn (Abacus £6.99) Praised by Slacker King Richard l.inklater. this puerile but entertaining rnish mash of lists. quizzes. anecdotes and advice covers all aspects of life in the slow lane. The American bias and quirky. snappy. fan/.ine-look layout creates the perfect stocking-tiller for Seattle-struck. seventeen-year-old siblings -— or anyone whojust doesn't want to grow up.

I No Limits - Urban Short Stories Variorrs (Crocus £6.50) Publications by tron-profit-makirrg. comrrrunity publishing cooperatives are often. unfortunately. mince. Crocus and No limits. therefore. is a rare delight. Promoting writers in the North West of lingland this showcase of sixteen new and often young writers is diverse. considered and accomplished. the whole pulled together by the central theme of city life.

I Heroes and Villains Introduced by John Walsh (Gollancz £7.99) Fifty-four pieces represent the cream of the enduring Int/epenr/ent illagan'ne column which invites prominent scribes to nominate and justify their choice of idol or bugbear. From the informative and profound to the witty and irreverent. the spotlight passes from Pope John Paul 11 to Aleister Crowley to Noele Gordon providing illuminating insights to the minds of the authors.

His Cun Dalton Trumbo (Touchstone £5.99) First published in 1939 and largely responsible for Trumbo‘s subsequent targetting by the HUAAC.

is a remarkable and disturbing

j testament to the futility of war. Rendered i limbless and faceless. a young soldier

must come to terms with his monumental maiming while reflecting on the glory of

his lost life and loves and re-assessing his future. Compelling. emotive and. sadly.

; still very relevant.

'5 I Dr Johnson and Mr Savage Richard

7 Homes (Flamingo £6.99) Biography

i meets careful extrapolation in this highly

praised study of the unlikely 18th century

friendship between the then unknown

‘- Samuel Johnson. later to become a literary 1 polyrrrath and Richard Savage. writer.

I criminal and sleazy bon viveur. examining the effects of this liaison. Although occasionally dry and demanding. this is

nonetheless a fascinating. meticulous and

rnesrrrerising tale. (Susan Mackenzie)

I Crey Area Will Self (Bloomsbury £9.99) Not so much spellbinding as

spiral bound. this Filofax computer

manual turns out to be Self's new

collection of short stories in which

waiters turn out to be aspiring novelists

and a professor gets it on with one of his students in a strange room.

Chest is about little more than phlegm and Scale is little more than an account

of how odd it is to live next door to a

model village. Nothing new there then. although it's presented as being so.



Certainly the skin of Self‘s writing can be impressive but there is no underbelly and certainly no heart: strangeness has never been so superficial. There is no insight into character throughout the entire collection. a trait which may have worked for conceptual fiction brrt the ideas here are far too weak and gimmicky. Most of these pieces are in the first person and there is much Self- preoccrrpation with being a writer and taking drugs. even an appropriately tired piece about the decline of the English novel.

This is merely a style manual for

those who don't know their arse from . their elbow. Brry the novel instead.

(Paul Horrghton)


I Love is the Drug Ed John Aizlewood (Penguin £8.99) This is the kind of book which rnrrst seem like a good idea when first pitched to the publisher but falls flat when it reaches the public. The idea is sound: ask a group of musicians. music writers and music biz people to relate the story of their personal obsessions with their favourite bands and explain the effect they had on their lives. Yet by the very selfish nature of the obsession it is extremely

difficult to convey to the detached reader the emotions and fanaticism that a band can produce.

A few of the writers manage it. notably Stuart Maconie on his Elvis Costello fixation and Steve Lamva with his tales of touring with Kingmaker. For the most part. the individual observations hold only a fraction of the interest of the general conclusions cultish devotion ends upon meeting a member of the opposite sex and death is the ultimate career move. (Jonathan Trew)


I Fresh Girls Evelyn Lau (Minerva £4.99) The world of ‘women caught on the wrong side of Er‘os' is how the

i blurb rornanticises these short stories drowning in sado-masochism. The first

work of fiction by 23-year-old Canadian Lau. it owes more than a passing nod to her own raw biography of teenage years rooted in prostitution and drug addiction. Yet it also possesses an overwhelming poetic prose that explains her award-winning status as a national poet.

Here. the dynamics of power are bound up in the essential apparel of the Fresh Girls: leather cuffs that smack against bone. rubber masks and spiked stilettos. The cliched pleasure pursuits and transgressions of married men who favour the cat-o‘-nine-tails rather than the family tabby are documented by

i Lari with the same tiny detail and detached emotion as the painful

caresses dealt out by the teenage girls. 1! is this beautiful and understated style that intensifies the crushing and debilitating sadness that leaks from every story. (Ann Donald)


I Bitches, Bastards, Angels & Saints Michael Robinson (Ringpull £8.99) Pulp Friction: a fast moving. intellectually. unchallenging urban thriller and/or a deviant soap opera- type novel which has the ability to rub the reader in both a sensuous and

. irritating way.

Such a book is this. With a glowing

recommendation from Julie Burchill plus a suitably lurid cover the book starts the way it means to go on. Amidst the ubiquitous. metropolitan melee a whole host of characters such as Royston Bone. Dexter Hurnpage and Lickie Loose weave their own Private Idaho's until the book throws them all together for a jamboree of predictable coincidences and isn’t-this-shocking- sex. Not really. (Toni Davidson)


I Neil Caiman and Dave McKean Fri 18. 1—3pm. Forbidden Planet. 168 Buchanan Street. 331 1215. A signing with the author and illustrator of the fab graphic novel Mr Punch (Gollancz £8.99).

I Maurice Smith Wed 23. 12.30pm. John Smith 8; Son. 57 St Vincent Street. 221 7472. Smith gives a lively overview of the politics. rivalries and tabloid wars in Paper Lions: The .S'curtish Press and National Identity (Polygon £8.99).

I Marie Pierre Moine Thurs 24. 6.30pm. John Smith 8; Son. 57 St Vincent Street.

221 7472. A taste ofGallic cooking with a

demonstration and tasting to promote the renowned chef's new book The Secrets of French Hmne Can/ting (Conran Octopus

o3 Trorrgate. 552 4267. Tire journalist and award-winning author performs ‘his experimental prose work. Scale. that spans 7()()() years of human history and every single literary form ever invented.‘ or so the publicity blurb boasts. if you don‘t witness the theatrical piece then buy the book Grey Area and Other Stories (Bloomsbury £9.99).

I Cavin Hastings Wed 30. 1—2pm. John Smith & Son. 57 St Vincent Street. 221 7472. Tire Scottish rugby star has recorded his rise to fame and fortune in his autobiography titled High Balls and Happy Hours (Mainstream £14.99).

j Edinburgh

I Maggie Furey Tue 22. lprn. James

informal lunch with the fantasy author to promote her two most recent titles Aurian

Netherbow Theatre. High Street. Call 557 8861 for details. A rare reading from the renowned poet. performer and playwright who came to the fore with collections like Dreaming Frankenstein. True Cmrjessians and Bagpipe Muzak.

I A Taste Of Polygon Wed 23. 7pm. Waterstone's. 128 Princes Street. 226 2666. A best of selection with last year's Booker nominee Tibor Fischer. local authors Gordon Legge and Margaret Elphinstone and poets Graham Fulton and David Kinloch all reading from their work.

I Edmund White Thurs 1. 7pm.

4 Waterstone's. 128 Princes Street. 226

2666. The celebrated gay author will be reading and talking about his elegant and honest collection of essays The Burning Library (Chatto £20) and his latest. gently

satirical look at the people of Paris. written in conjunction with Hubert Sorin.


Janice Galloway, the McVities shortlisted author of Foreign Parts, talks about feminist psychoanalysis and the literary establishment’s phallic prejudices.

1r}?! J

a r Land: > if!

‘l’m reading two books at the moment: the first one is The Dance of Deception by Harriet Coldher Lerner. She’s a feminist psychoanalyst - and there are precious bloody few of them about - and it’s basically about the existential concept of mauvais fois rendered into simple Americanese. It asks questions such as ‘What is the difference between privacy and lies and patriarchy and lies?’ For example with privacy: what things have women been pressurised into keeping private or secret because they actually keep them down? Also about the importance of coming out as it were, trying to find the truth inside the terrible tissue of lies.’

‘If I was reading Sartre on the subject it might be heavy going but lerner is one of these women a bit like Kay Carmichael - who can write about heavily psychological subiects without having to use heavily psychological language. It could be looked upon in one way as a kind of self-help book because there are suggestions on stuff to do. But I must confess that I’d normally leave those chapters out.

‘The other book is Raymond Carver’s llo Heroics Please. It’s the one that no one seems to know about and is a collection of essays, early stories and prefaces. I’m a big fan of Carver’s and this is the only one I’ve not read so Christ knows what I’m going to read for pointers of style once that’s finished.

‘A lot of contemporary writers have taken things from Carver without knowing that they have. He’s one of these writers like Pinter who have filtered into the language. In fact modern Scottish literature wouldn’t be what it is without Carver. Elephant was the first book I read and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t heard of him before. The reason of course was because he wrote short stories rather than novels and there’s still that hellish phallic thing that you have to write the big stiffy before the

and Harp 0f Winds both published by Legend at £5.99. I liz Lochhead Wed 23. 7.45pm. £3/£2.


. t ' Ti 5' .’ I Will Self Tue 29. 7.30pm. Tron Theatre. esmbhsnment takes you $8 on y

(Ann Donald)

in Sketches From Memory (Picador and

i Thin. 53—59 South Bridge. 556 6743. An 1 1 Chatto & Windus £7.99)

The List 18 November—1 December129575