FICTION i That Other Lifetime Mark Maxwell (Sceptre EIO) ‘k‘kir
Ex-President of the United States, the disgraced Richard Nixon, meets revered poet and master storyteller Raymond Carver on a Californian beach and strikes up a friendship. Of course, this didn't ever happen, but in his debut novel Maxwell asks what if .?
Each man relates episodes in his life to the other, we glimpse snatches of childhood in poor rural backwaters, first loves, poetry, the Presidency and, ultimately, Illness and decline.
Nixon dominates and Maxwell has great fun wrth Tricky Dicky — or Iron Butt Nixon as he is known to his merCiless classmates; his pasSionate encounter wrth a tractor and some lingerie is relayed with relish.
Carver is much more subdued, hangs around the periphery, burdened wrth teenage marriage, Laundromats and which doughnut to choose when completely stoned.
It almost works — not qurte, but well worth a read. A must for all those Nixon fans out there. (AM)
Father and Son Larry Brown (Anchor £6.99) ‘k‘k
Returning home after being incarcerated for, and this makes a change, a crime he most certainly did commit, Glen Davrs is seeking vengeance. The prinCipal ODJGCI for this is hrs pop whom he hates for mrstreatrng the memory of hrs mom. Or Freud! Enough already. His many acts of brutality include the savage slaying
of a chimp and the rape of a young girl wrth bloody slaughter never too ‘a' from the surface,
Ex-frrefighter Larry Brown has had a‘l manner of plaudits thrust upon this work wrth comparisons varying from Faulkner and Dostoevsky He rnay have the rawness of the former but he has none of the latter's imagination 'He lay there alone in his black bed in the blackness of the house wrth the dark walls around him,’ is presomably an attempt at grvrng us a penetrating
i inSight into a man's tortured eXistenre
Contender for this year's 'writer who shouldn't have given up the day-Job' award. (80)
The Music In My Head
Mark Hudson (Jonathan Cape £12.99) ****
In the howling mayhem of a West African Cliy, Andrew 'Litch' Lrtchfield is havrng a bad time. The aging, fiaCCld mUSIC PR man has gone there to Visit Saiar Jopp, the singer wrth the golden vorce who Lrtch discovered and revealed to the Western World. But no one wants to know. Worse, the musiCians all think he's ripped them off and he's paranord everyone is out to rip him off.
Mark Hudson’s first novel after two works of non-fiction can't quite work out whether it's ab0ut the music busrness, African music or Africa itself
As the platted strands vre for prominence, though, you realise he has the knowledge and ability to bring each into the glare of the sun even if he softens his often vrvrd writing With interminable IISIS. In Lrtch he has written a character who is strong enough for you to love, hate and feel desperately sorry for (TD)
Continued over page
Toward The End Of Time
John Updike (Hamish Hamilton £16.99) *‘k'k‘k
In his eighteenth novel, John Updike straps his consciousness to time‘s headlong arrow and studies the whorls in its wake.
The year is 2020; as Ben mrnbull the 66-year-old protagonist observes, the numbers once denoted perfect vision. Ben‘s. though, is splintered. A war between America and China has broken civilisation's veneer - but the new dystopia impinges only slightly on the familiar edges of Turnbull's awareness: golf-courses are open; his wife gardens obsessively and runs her gift shop; there are still child/grandparent days in schools.
Fascinated by the Many Universes theory, the infinity of parallel possibilities, Updike's hero is a metaphysical Walter Mitty - his
journal. 3 hyperreal throng of beauty and sex. becomes a place of cosmic shifts and rents - recording other lives as an Egyptian tomb-raider, a Nazi death-camp attendant and the Apostle Mark.
Amid these wrinkles. everything and nothing is real - the other lives, the sex. the golf and even the War itself - beyond the fact that Turnbull is edging towards his death. Updike moves forward to look back and one day, beyond the edges, the universe itself will start to withdraw. (DL)
THU 7.00 PM TUE 7.00 PM WED 7.00 PM THU
All these events are free, tickets available from appropriate branch.
Waterstone’s in February
EHMOTHY GOOD '
Eaber Eiction Eirsts with JEREMY POOLMAN and KEITH RIDGWAY
at the Queens Hall, 24th ()prril, (£3/£1.5() cones.)
Boo/z arm) for
83 George Street. Edinburgh
tel: ()131 225 3436
West End, 128 Princes Street. Edinburgh tel: ()131 226 2666
East End, 13-14 Princes Street. Edinburgh tel: ()131 556 3034/5
6—19 Feb 1998 THELIST103