new titles


The Dumb House John Burnside (Jonathan Cape £9.99) ****

A Normal Skin

John Burnside (Jonathan Cape £7) *‘A'ir

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Heaven help the Jehovah's Witness who raps on the door of The Dumb House. Not a dozen words in and Burnside’s debut novel plays host to a double infanticide. Morbid? Iain Banks eat your heart out With chopsticks and a well chosen Chianti, for surely not Since The Wasp Factory has amoralin been so deftly observed. Never mind casual brutality, clinical destruction,

and, most upsetting of all, fiendish designs on furry wee creatures (domestic and otherwise). When not playing operation with the living in his attempt to divine the mysteries of the soul, Burnside’s anonymous protagonist is haunted by ghosts of the past and the spectre of his own mortality. It's a book that leaves the reader numbed by both the vainglory and banality of evil. The Fifer’s latest collection of poetry is somewhat less sanguinary but similarly concerned with nature, language, dreams, and, of course, that old devil called love. (RE)

Seahorses Bidisha (Flamingo £9.99) * air H

Having been published in the NME and The Big Issue by her sixteenth summer, it’s hardly surprising that Bidisha is being touted as the next big thing by the country's literati. In Seahorses, she weaves the tale of London types with as many hang-ups as there are stops on the Northern Line. Will Corrin’s shallow existence revolves around making films and rough sex until he bumps into schoolgirl Pale Jesson -- surely that name belongs in an airport novella who makes him see his life afresh. Meanwhile, his only friends composer Juliane and the under- achieving lan meet by chance and everyone’s world is turned upside down. While Bidisha may strive too hard to build the perfect metaphor or

florid image, more often than not the page is set alight by some stirring writing. Young, beautiful, talented and soon to be very, very rich. (BD)


John Wayne: The Politics Of Celebrity Gary Wills (Faber And Faber £20).

In 1930, director Raoul Walsh was looking to cast a hero for his film The Big Trail. Among the scene shifters moving heavy props around the lot of Twentieth Century Fox studios, one figure in particular caught his eye, lifting the bulky equipment With a combination of easy grace and thoughtless strength. 'The son of a bitch,’ Walsh said, 'looked like a man.’ In 1995, some sixteen years after the Son of a Bitch the world came to know as John Wayne had against type upped and died, the American public voted him their favourite star. Wills’s book takes this poll as a starting point in assessing the socio-cultural afterlife of the Duke. Neither a biography nor an examination of his legacy to the world of cinema, the book stalks Wayne’s shadow as it strides through the American psyche, tripping itself up occasionally, but elsewhere freewheeling out a combination of insight and bravado. (DL)


The Princessa: Machiavelli For Women Harriet Rubin (Bloomsbury £12.99) ink

A 905 Princessa‘s accessories are tears, a canyon-like cleavage, big hair, even bigger jewels, clothes, posture and nice make-up. Ah, so that's where I've

been gong wrong, silly me.

American business publisher Rubin has a philosophy to ply. It is this - 'settle for nothing less than greatness'. And from this sensible phrase does our confused and confusing evangelical pour hundreds of lines of self-help Buddhist babble. ’Women and power' is not a new concept for anyone familiar with the F-word - and according to the author we are indeed the oestrogenised victims of ‘power anorexia'. But Rubin's earthquake spinaroo on this weak feminine state lies within the cool and canny princess lurking

deep inside us all, apparently.

Oh, yes, delve deep, deeper ladies. For the strategician, the tactician, the feminine combat soldier of life is there in YOU. Words like 'deploy', ‘battle' and 'tough’ litter the same pages that command this unknown Princessa to don a pair of Jackie O shades and a nice wide-brimmed hat when the going

gets tough.

Invoking a ream of historical figures from Joan of Arc to Hilary Clinton, Rubin's contradictory treatise is a mush of Thatcherite selfishness, titillation masquerading as feminine wiles masquerading as Gurl Power and tip top

beauty tips. (Ann Donald)

STAR RATINGS at r it t it Outstanding * * ‘k * Recommended t i t Worth a try it * So-so * Poor

reading from and discussing

Sko’ring To Antor’rioo

(Granta Books ii I 5.99)


Rogue Trader Nick Leeson (Warner £5.99) ****

The man who broke the band at Baring's became an overnight media sensation, his rise and fall a real-life John Grisham novel. Currently serving six and a half years in Singapore’s notorious penal system, Leeson‘s literary attempt at financial salvation exposes him as an arrogant, unrepentant smartarse. (SM)

The Sweet Smell of Psychosrs

Will Self (Bloomsbury £4.99) it'ka * Following the post traumatic shock brought on by My Idea of Fun, ease yourself back into Self-indulgent fiction with this fine, illustrated novella. As pervy as anticipated, with buckets of Charlie, it's the tale of Richard Hermes. A haphazard hack at affected listings rag Rendezvous, his heart, body and soul is going to the dogs. (SM)


Paul Gallagher and Terry Christian (Virgin £5.99) 9: * * ’From childhood to Oasis the real story'. Yawn. ’Fully updated'. Bird's Eye pea queen Patsy Kensit we presume. ’. . and Terry Christian' Oh, joy. ls Gallagher elder, the piece of space junk orbiting his star siblings, cashing in? You bet. And he admits It. Good lad. Told in part by their mother, this is, surprisingly, c0mprehensive and heartfelt. (SM) continued over page

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Her extraordinary new memoir on Thursday 5 June at 7.30pm

30 May—12 Jun 1997 TNEUSTOl