THE WRITE STUFF
Billed as the Damien Hirst of literature, author Stewart Home‘s latest novel sees a gang of ' skinheads running riot through London’s art world. Ann Donald ducks.
Name Stewart Ramsay Hume. or Ilotue as it‘s translated down here. My fttll name is due to my grandmother‘s
appears. there‘s a genttinely strong
enables them to dive into the rotten
In pulp crime fiction. there's a certain enjoyment to he had stepping onto the wrong side of the moral tracks. Elmore Leonard's depraved domain is Miami. and Riding The Rap (Pengtrin £5.99) brings some of the writer's lowlifes together for the Beirut-style kidnapping of a bookie. As ever. the plot is less important than the way Leonard rounds tip his oddball crew. plugs them into the mains and sits back to watch the sparks fly.
A few years back. in Savage Season. Joe R. Lansdale introduced us to Hap ("ollins. white and straight. and his best buddy Leonard Pine. black and gay. In Mucho Moio (Indigo £5.99) they lend their wisecracking banter to a tale of racism. homophobia. drug peddling. child abuse and murder in East Texas.
Having caught the crime-solving bug in that book. IIap and Leonard return in Two Bear Mambo ((iollancl. £8.99) to check otrt the disappearance of Ilap's former girlfriend in Klan country. It's the funniest book of the series. crafting a steady flow of dialogue and insult into an attform. But no tnatter how flippant Lansdale's surface prose
bond between his protagonists that
heart of America. Mark Timlin prefers to walk a London
BACK OFF BEBKOFF
I Free Association Steven Berkoff (Faber 6’; Faber E l 5.99) ‘I would not easily be bullied again. I had found myself.‘ A childhood reminiscence of Steven Berkoff which has carved both his own defiance and the public perception of him as a bovver boy from the East End. In fact it is Berkoff who has had to continually fend off spiteful critics. In his autobiography l’ree Assm'iuumi. his hate—hate relationship with theatre scribes is laid before trs as he recounts his anger with their srnall-mindedness. The stun total of a review for (Ireek was one word: ‘yuk’.
The Iiltu world. too. suffers his wrath. ‘Ilollywood is an industry that has succeeded in lowering critical and
literary standards throughout the entire civilised world.‘ And this is one of his kinder comments. Thankfully. relief from the bile is provided by his memories of a childhood spent flitting between Stamford Hill and New York. Respite. indeed. (Brian Donaldson)
WRITING IN RIOOLES
I D’Alembert's Principle Andrew ('rumey (Dedalus £7.99) Whether
I) 'xI/em/ierl 's l’rrm'i/i/e is a philosophical treatise disguised as fiction or a work of fantasy that dabbles in scientific speculation. its young author Andrew (‘rumey undoubtedly has the capacity to tease and intrigue.
D‘Alembeit's themes -— memory. reason and imagination as the foundation of his tales. lle delights in blurring our notions of fact and fiction. questioning where dreams begin and truth ends. a thematic trait which won him the I994 Saltire Best l’irst Book Award for .Ilusit'. In .‘I I'urelt’n Language.
The reader becomes part of the experiment in the nature of human knowledge -- the author makes trs
beat in Find My Way Home ((lollanc'l. £15.99). and here plot is king and characters cliched. More Isle of Dogs than [reservoir l)ugs. this is his twelfth novel featuring ’hentish' ex-cop turned PI Nick Sharman. who‘s investigating the nasty murder of a former colleague. Sexism is passed off as anti-pc ftrn as the hero indulges in macho bullshit not seen since The .S'tt'eeney hung up their flares. (Alan Morrison)
Scottiin identity obsession. but I’m also adopted with Irish roots. so I don't suppose Ilorne is my real name
any way I
Previous jobs Apart from writing. I had a few factory jobs when I left school. I had a job assembling and testing hydraulic valves. then I progressed to bonded products like making the floors of buses. I also signed on the dole for
This enchanting. beguiling novel consists of three stories rooted in the thinking of the French 18th century philosopher D'Alembert. Glasgow- born Crumey takes three of
question what we believe. including the very substance of the book itself. (’rumey's Principle is to let answers fortn frotn riddles. leaving us unsure of our perceptions. (Paul Smith)
descriptive prose. king of similies (‘nipples like kitten‘s noses‘). This is a glutted work. crammed with information. bttt I’pdike is always
I In The Beauty Of The Lilies John Updike (Hamish Hamilton £lo) (iod.
about ten years. Route to becoming a writer I think it was all by accident. I use to blag my way into concerts by writing music reviews for fan/.ines in the late 70s then I started writing art features for Art .IlmiI/r/y. In I985 I brought otrt my book of short stories and then my first novel Pure Mania in I988 because it seemed to be a good way to satirise people I didn‘t like. Daily routine ()ne week I get up at 5am. have a shower and breakfast then work until Sam the next morning. The next week I get tip at midday. have a cold shower and breakfast. piss about. then work from 5pm to midnight. Inﬂuences I‘ve always tried to combine the low-brow like Mickey Spillane and Richard Allen with high- brow culture theorising from Mars and Roland Barthes to Foucault and other less obvious candidates. Musically I like hundreds and hundreds of bands from trashy girl groups like Shampoo and Sinitta to Stereolab and Zion Train. Ambitions I want to be the first man to commit adultery on Mars. Fears My girlfriend discovering that I had actually been the first man to commit adultery on Mars. Income I have about £100 a week. I could earn more but I don't. I'm in a council flat so I spend less than half on my rent. | shop at Kwiksave and only at Tesco’s if I get a big fat royalty cheque. S/(itt‘ Deal/r /)_\' .Sileu‘rll'l Home I.\‘ pub/islterl Irv .S'erpenls 7211/ (ll [8. 99
Stepping over the tracks: Elmore Leonard
sex. celebrity. death - Updike's habitual riddles - coalesce in this sprawling. episodic narrative beginning with the apostasy of a presbyterian minister in 19 It) and ending in the l99()s with the obsessive faith of an apocalyptic sect. In between. Updike marshals a history of the American cinema from its silent. flickering genesis to its eventual dissolution in the indiscriminate mulch of TV.
Connecting the two strands ~ film and faith -- is the Protestant article of election: both the believer and the star seek it through their notions ofexalted vision. the former struggling to see. the latter to be seen.
L'pdike is the undisputed master of
reassurineg present. putting the best words in the best places. (Adrian Hunter)
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The List l9 Apr-2 May I996 89