CHRISTMAS SPECIAL BOOKS
Humanity and lnhumanity (Phaidon £45). From the giant of reportage photography. George Rodger who was one of the founders of Magnum photo- -agency along with Henri Cartier- Bresson. This collection spans his career as a ‘stringer ' for Life magazine. photographing the Blitz. to the phenomenal portraits of the Nuba Tribe in Africa. Sleeping with Ghosts (Jonathon Cape £25) is a photographic chronicle ofthe life of the supreme master of photojoumalism. Don McCullin. It’s difﬁcult to think of more powerful images of war than McCullin's staggering photographs of Vietnam and Cambodia. His images speak volumes while retaining a simplicity and power that gives your goose pimples goose pimples. His more recent landscape photographs are full ofbrooding intensity and his still lifes (reminiscent of the photographs of Edwin Smith) show his sensitivity to form and composition as well as drama. Style guru Albert Watson's work would seem at ﬁrst glance to have little in common with McCullin‘s hard hitting photographs. What they do share however is a strong passion for the look of ‘things.’ In Watson's beautiful book Cyclops (Pavilion £40).
the Scottish-bom imagist shows just how he came to be one of the most sought after magazine photographers in the world. From Hollywood celebrities to standing stones on Orkney. Watson imbues his subjects with a heroic quality that is both impressive and intriguing. The most exquisitely printed photography book of the year. Cyclops is guaranteed to bring Watson the international recognition he deserves.
One more for those fond of the David Lynch perspective of inbred Americana is Susan Leiper‘s Grapevine (Comerhouse £25). Leiper stayed in the West Virginian town ofGrapevine for two years and produced these frankly
: disturbing portraits of a Budweiser-
swigging, shotgun-wielding community. The dead deer stuffed through the basketball hoop on the cover says it all. The Beverly Hillbillies were never like this.
Following the interest in the rediscovered work of Glasgow-based photographer Margaret Watkins. the city’s Street Level gallery has published the catalogue of the show — Margaret Watkins, Her Life and Photographic Work (Street Level £7.95). A contemporary of Stieglitz in New York, Watkins came to Scotland in 1928 and never went home. Her subjects — a
mixture of landscape portraiture and still lifes — are invested with a visual simplicity and sense of stillness that give the photographs their resonance. A subtle seduction for bleary. over- indulged Christmas eyes. (Lila Rawlings)
Eamonn McCabe. photographer and picture editor for The Guardian: Photographs and Words by Wright Mom's. ‘The photographs are about people and places and ﬁnding a beauty in domestic, often very ordinary things. Morris’s pictures say so much about the people without them being there.‘
' GRAPHIC NOVELS
The graphic novel has leapt forward years by merging comic art with graphics and photography. If you doubt it. then pick up Neil Gaiman‘s Mr Punch (VG Graphics £8.99). It is the very superior intertwining of the story of a young boy. packed off to his grandparents by the sea, with the ancient tale of Punch and Judy. Dave McKean’s irresistible design and illustrations perfectly capture the dreamlike quality of memory and the mystique of the adult world. Gilbert Hemandez's Poison River (Fantagraphics £1 1.95) may be in the
more usual black and white strip format. but the highly stylised and minimalist artwork is still miles from the superhero idiom. It is a bold book. unafraid to include politics. racism. sex and brutality. which has been best described as the graphic equivalent of magical realism. In Sin City (Titan £8.99). Frank Miller also makes excellent use of black and white to create a lushly textured artwork which drives the brazenly unreconstructed storyline forward with the punch ofa piledn'ver. Marv is an ugly macho blast of ultraviolence compelled to avenge the death of a prostitute with —
gratuitously bloody results. 1 must
confess to never having been a fan of the X Men. The Greatest Battles of the X Men (Marvel Comics £1 1.50) does nothing to alter my memory of incomprehensible sci-fr plotting exacerbated by poor drawing. The full subversive force ofcomics is felt in a more than welcome reprint of Breaking Free (Attack International £3.99). a Tintin adventure like no other. He‘s back. He’s bad. And he‘s a frilly tooled— up member of Class War. This pirate edition sees Tintin and The Captain take on the full force of the State and win. Pure escapism. (Thom Dibdin) Thanks to Forbidden Plane! and AK Press for providing review eopies.
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Graphic pore fro- Bermuda:
Grant Morrison. graphic novelist: Rogangosh by Peter Milligan and Brendan MCarthy. ‘lt's about a guy that goes for an Indian meal and ends up meeting a ‘karmanaut‘ and gets bound up in the whole life. death and rebirth cycle. They cover these massive philosophical topics in this 48-page Joycean comic in a very funny and very clever way.’
I A History Maker Alasdair Gray (Canongate £13.99) Billed as ‘a kilted sci-ti yam full of poetry. porridge. courage and sex’ Gray employs the idiosyncratic and colourful Scots vocabulary to conjure up a rapid-ﬁre story set in the 23rd century.
I Debatable Land Candia McWilliam (Bloomsbury £14.99) ()ne of the most energising and innovative novels published this year. McWilliam succeeds in interweaving the bold narrative of the sea with subtle references on our origins via her six sea-worthy characters sailing a yacht from Tahiti to New Zealand.
I Reef Romein Gunesekera (Granta £9.99) A stunning debut novel that made it to the Booker shortlist. only to be pipped at the post by our own Mr Kclman. Part love story. part rites-of- passage it's the story ofeleven-year-old Triton whose transition from houseboy to man is parallelled with a world stumbling on the brink ofchaos.
I Original Sin PD. James (Faber £14.99) A classic from the grand dame of the genre where her maverick poet/detective Adam Dalgleish becomes embroiled in some death and dodgy business within the publishing world. A soaring imagination produces a novel brimming with suspense.
I Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Louis de Bernicres (Seeker & Warburg £14.99) Set on a Greek island this tale ofa young Italian ofﬁcer and four generations of islanders is part love story. part comedy and part no-holds barred tragedy with a whiff of historical saga thrown in.
I Who Will Run The Frog Hospital? Lorrie Moore (Faber £14.99) Shockingly overlooked American novelist who specialises in quirky. arresting and often lingering prose that ﬁnds voice in this latest poignant rites- of—passage tale about Paris. frog- kissing and adolescent friendship.
I Various Miracles Carol Shields (Fourth Estate £9.99) Seventeen short stories compose this very female dominated novel where cosmic coincidences and daily mundanity are swirled together to conjure up totally engaging personal histories that often border on the absurd.
I How Late It Was, How Late James Kclman (Seeker & Warburg £14.99) A deserved Booker prize winner this is a searing and occasionally comic tale of paranoia. the bruising existence of life compressed within a lost weekend.
I The Haralish Naguib Mahfouz (Doubleday £14.99) This is a wonderful fairy tale for adults from a Nobel Literature Prize winner whose name is mentioned in the same breath as Proust. Balzac and Tolstoy. Here. a Cairo folk hero and his less than perfect ~(lescendents are wrapped up in a beguiling myth so complex and puzzling that it could pass for history. I East West Salman Rushdie (Jonathon Cape £9.99) The intimacy and distance of the two worlds straddled by Rushdie embrace a shared history and shared misunderstandings. Both comic and tragic by turn we move from the vacuous thoughts of Hollywood icons to the dreams of Bombay rickshaw drivers. ‘
The List 2-15 December 1994 15