new titles

Every Secret Thing

**** Gillian Slovo (Little, Brown £16.99)

What's it like being the daughter of legendary revolutionaries? Pretty tough, it seems. Novelist and crime writer Gillian Slovo knows better than most. Her parents were Ruth First and Joe Slovo, communists and anti- apartheid's most famous white activists. For more than 30 years they were key players in the ANC, she as an intellectual and propagandist, he as the commander of its military arm. Only he lived to see apartheid’s collapse. She was murdered in 1982. Slovo traces their lives from middle- class affluence through outright resistance and imprisonment to exile. But this is more than the story of political actiVism spanning the continents between Johannesburg and Moscow. In her guest to understand her parents, Slovo shows us the revolution from a different angle, from inside the family An amazing story of political commitment and perseverance against the odds, this is also an intimate history of a family rendered dysfunctional through Circumstance. (Marc Lambert)

I Gillian Slovo is at Waterstone’s, 13/14 Princes Street, Edinburgh, Tue 25 Feb, 7pm

I Need More

Iggy Pop (2.13.61 £13) ***

That Naughty Little Doggy, Mr Pop or little James Osterberg from Ann Arbor as his parents affectionately called him has bOunced off the padded walls once more With this reissue-for-fans- only by Henry Rollins’s publishing company. This book spurts forth with photos, lyrics and 50 spiky monologues direct from the lascwious mouth of King Stooge himself. With qunky chapter headings like First Fuck, Asthma Pills and Who’s Who In Parasites, you get the gist that these entertaining chunks of regurgitated autobiography are culled from colourful scenes in the life of Pop as Mid-west teen, Pop as wanton rawk animal and Pop as the thinking man With enlightening brain to flaunt. For as this cross-breed publication reveals, and any self-respecting Raw Power fan is aware, behind the iron-stomach


iconoclast who has lasted 1000 deaths, Iggy Pop is a perceptive man of excess and one-time inspiration to generations of punk spawn. (Ann Donald)


The Cure For Death By Lightning

Gail Anderson Dargatz (Virago £9.99) at ** at *

Rarely does a debut novel grab you by the hand on page one and sustain the pull on the imagination with a tension and sense of awe, right through to the final page. Happily, this beautifully engaging offering from Canadian Dargatz does just that. The book is set in the Canadian backwoods during World War II. Its young protagonist Beth Weeks is at the centre of a magical, sad and emotional tale where a ghostly 'shape shifter’ invades the lives of a troubled family and their truly weird town. There, a perfectly realised portrait of forbidden love evokes admiration. Woven seamlessly throughout are scraps of one woman’s life and thoughts, imparted via a biblical cook-book-cum-household manual. Dargatz’s talent lies in the ability to connect implicitly with her reader. Restraint, atmosphere and powerful writing are at the core of this extraordinary novel. (Ann Donald)

Ingenious Pain

Andrew Miller (Sceptre £14.99) * ‘k * *

Andrew Miller

Debut novels don't come much bolder than this. Miller charts the tale of James Dyer, an 18th century surgeon with the peculiar inability to feel neither pain nor emotion hardly the kind of reassurance which would soothe patients. At no point does Dyer proclaim his trustworthiness. With his childhood spent flitting between home and freak show, East and West, Dyer's beliefs in medicine quickly become tarnished by his experiences at the hands of fake medics such as Gummer, who uses him as a tool to sell a fraudulent pain-relieVing potion. Bristol-based Miller’s rich use of language is deeply satisfying and his uncanny knack of conjuring up images both horrific and beautiful (Ann and Anna the Siamese twins or the bloody autopsy which opens the book) helps to illuminate Miller's themes - ethics, manipulation and guilt. Quite how he follows this is anyone's guess. (Brian Donaldson)


John L. Williams (Serpent's Tail £8.99) *‘k‘k'k

On the cusp of becoming a planetary magnet fer Doc Marten types, Camden 1983 is the setting for Faithless, a parable of 80s naiveté and its vicious repercussions. At 23, Jeff has already flunked the amateur rock circuit where egos bite hard, when he downsizes to’working in a record shop. An old flame turns up - another band cast-off - and something sparks. A shared ‘history‘ incites them to minor blackmailing and a non-committal relationship. Their modest scheme becomes mired in scarier events when a friend is murdered. Over the next three months London metamorphosises and along with Mac - which rhymes with his habit, smack - they get a bitter taste of the rough end of the property and music-biz boom. Forgettable fads, regrettable Kraftwerk tracks 'danced' to at powder-flecked parties, and Blue Rondo A La Turk figure in Williams's pared-down prose. But it is the decade's sense V g” of promise that comes off worst as it dawns on Jeff that the times stink .- L '1' severely. The shoddy pretence that hype and marketeering could unite a is briskly demolished and the 1994 postscript adds to the novel's patent” - requiem feel. Faithless puts the hollow heart of Brit-hype into perspective. Bet you never see that on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. (Deirdre ~ Molloy)


Lying In Bed

J. D. Landis (Indigo £5.99)

A strange and entrancing debut novel branded ’erotic' and drawing comparisons with Nicholas Baker. Minutely detailed, it enters the mind of a man lying in bed, frantically awaiting his wife’s return from an evening out. Assessing the emptiness of his past against the passion of his marriage, his revelations teeter on a dark and

Kraven Images Alan lsler (Vintage £5.99)

Revisiting the drama theme of his debut novel, lsler's troubled hero Nicholas Kraven begins life in the 70s teaching Shakespeare in the Bronx. Beyond controlling his class of extremists and eccentrics, Nicholas juggles an affair with his neighbour's wife, unwanted advances from a colleague and the imminent intrusion of his family before heading for

sinister edge. England. The Tao Of Muhammad Hugh Grant All Jody Tresidder (Virgin £5.99)

Davis Miller (Vintage £7.99)

Mildly misleading in that this is an autobiography, Miller was a poorly child devastated by his mother's premature death. Inspired by Ali, both as a sportsman and spokesman, he taught himself boxing, gaining health, confidence and, ultimately, a prize- winning journalistic career. Ali and Davis are now personal friends. This is their story.

The Third Degree

Edited by Paul Duncan (No Exit Press £7.99)

Co-published with Crime Time magazine and edited by the publication’s co-editor, this is a flash, brash collection subtitled Crime Writers In Conversation. In Q and A format, appendiced with biographies and bibliographies, the focus is upon the criminal experiences of the interviewees, from Cornwell's autopsy research to Ed Bunker's shady past. The result is occasionally scrappy but generally fascinating.

Falling between the two stools of Grant Fatigue and Renewed Interest, this untimely biography is salvaged by the author's status as ex-girlfriend of Hugh, albeit in 1977. Dutifully detailing his career, Tressider is coy about their relationship but caustic concerning other girlfriends, particularly the lovely Liz. Best reserved for misguided souls who find him attractive. (Susan Mackenzie)

u’ .7. Elizabeth Hurley and Hugh Grant 21 Feb—6 Mar 1997 ‘I’IIEUSI’GS