As Christmas approaches, put a spin on that traditional book pressie list with something a bit more vocal. Deirdre
“a if if
Molloy picks the best of "WI pm ‘8" m d t . : 0 ng enouenten’
the latest audtobook
releases. so pious friends will love to receive
Anne Rice's spine-tingling Memnoch The Devil (Random House £12.99). The romantic vampire Lestat sweeps through modern New York. seducing both sexes in bloodsucking swoons while pursued by Memnoch - old Ned himself— who turns Biblical lore on its head when the two ﬁnally meet.
More blood is spilt in Val McDermid's The Mermaids Singing (HarperCollins £8.99) where criminal psychologist Tony Hill becomes the next target of the serial killer stalking a nonhem town. Shades of Cracker, but read with ﬁnesse by Scottish actor Alan Cumming . . . who also reads Mr Norris Changes Trains (Penguin £7.99). Christopher lsherwood's classic portrait of pre-war Berlin, where an English ingenue is drawn into the city’s seedy underbelly. Sexual and political agitation ensues.
Boyhood tragedy. Texan style. is the starting point of Cormac McCarthy’s all the pretty horses (HarperCollins £8.99). Unfolding in a ponderous vein. the pseudo-epic story of John Grady’s rough passage to manhood is uplifted
by the sultry drawl of narrator Brad Pitt.
Fortysomething spinster aunts will value Kate Atkinson’s Behind The Scenes At The Museum (HarperCollins £8.99) for its intergenerational bonding and high oestrogen count. Emotional
Disturbed characters seem to be the stock in trade of our best writers. spanning the spectrum of human psychoses with the ﬂick of a page. In The Driver’s Seat (Canongate £7.99). Muriel Spark recounts the last 24 hours of one woman‘s ﬂight from loneliness. from the unremarkable trigger of her mania to its shocking denouement.
Alasdair Gray's rendering of his masterpiece Lanarlr: A life In Four Books (Canongate £15.98. 4 cassettes) is a treat. A dystopic Glasgow and an apocalyptic underworld are the colliding cityscapes that Duncan Thaw/Lanark inhabits. This time. alienation is in the form of bodily mutation.
Body swaps reoccur in the title story of Irvine Welsh‘s The Acid House (Random House £12.99). Elsewhere ﬁtba', phantom squirrels and Boab Coyle‘s fateful encounter with God in an Edinburghpub, show Welsh on more inventive form. Novelty laughs come with the snippet of conversation recorded earlier this year between Welsh and lggy Pop. The author struggles to explain jungle music - ‘it‘s the dub plates‘ — while his idol is more concerned with ﬁnding a light for his cigarette.
Taking solace in the dark side of life is true to masochistic Christian traditions.
(it. «1;; .-"t;.i.--.i..‘-L;t.;. ” ‘ 1;. ~‘ ' i L A
L..- L. LL; L .ex
L‘ I r. 7',‘ .7 ‘11-. werungﬁ @ .
' .iﬁi’émws err ~' * wrﬂetthwm
fodder for the second sex. kind of thing.
Douglas Coupland bucks his zeitgeist- by-numbers reputation with Mlcroserts (HarperCollins £8.99). Matthew Perry — Chandler in Friends — provides the perfect tonal vehicles for Microsoft employee Dan. whose geek-with-irony narration of techie life is deadly accurate and heartfelt.
Great comic traditions are resurrected in The Paul And Pauline Cali Audio Experience (Hodder Headline £6.99) as Steve Coogan‘s celebrated siblings hold forth on such diverse topics as the Are You Paul Calf? test. and Pauline‘s lOl Celebrity Sexploits (Andrew Neil — ‘I had him in Tramps niteclub. hair like a Bn'llos pad. kept chafﬁng me thighs.’)
On an unintentionally humorous tip John Gray’s Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus (Thorsons £7.99) is a ‘practical guide for improving communications and getting what you want from relationships'. It turns on the premise of a heterosexual universe derived from cavemen and sewing circles. Don’t strain your credulity.just revel in the absurd.
Scary monsters past and present rear their heads in Great Political Speeches (Hodder/BBC £8.99). From the phonographic recording of Liberal PM Gladstone in 1889. to latterday speechifying on scroungers and the stakeholder society. it delivers up such choice lines as this from the Rev Ian
.Paisley in I985: ‘We hand this woman
Margaret Thatcher over to the devil,
that she might not blaspheme again.’ Finally. cosy up to a big log ﬁre with
Garrison Keillor‘s Prairie Home
2 Will be reading from his extraordinary autobiography
(Secker £16.99) at Waterstone's (East End) 13/14 Princes Street Edinburgh 0131 556 3034
...RESCHEDULED DATE... 5th Dec 7pm
Tickets are free. Wine will be served.
Christmas (Hodder £8.99). a selection of seasonal songs and sketches from the radio shows that tnade hint a household name in America before he turned to writing books. As Keillor says: ‘This isn't a holiday. it's a treatable illness. Instead of The Twelve Days Of Christmas. it should be The Twelve Steps OfChn'stmas.‘ Cheers.
ln Charles Willeford's New Hope For The Dead (No Exit Press £4.99). Hoke Moseley — the police sergeant star of Miami Blues — ﬁnds himself looking after his two estranged teenage daughters. a badly ﬁtting set of dentures. 50 unsolved back cases and the horny stepmum of ajunkie suicide. A sharp. unflashy lawman picked out by Willeford's sharp. unﬂashy prose: this is the hard slog as it‘s really lived on the right side of the law.
Alasdair Gray: ‘a treat’
' ' 'e feet apart seven - “we like him.
The List 29 Nov-12 Dec I996 89