NON FICTION Wasted
(Flamingo £12.99) at * t 9: 1r
At four years old Marya Hornbacher looked in the mirror and decided she was fat. She was bulimic by nine, anoreXic at fifteen, and hospitalised five times before she was eighteen. She is now 23 and recovering from trying to starve herself to death.
This account of her carefully constructed private hell is an attempt to stop others gomg where she went. She argues an eating disorder is not, as many believe, Just some manifestation of madness and immaturity: it's an addiction, a symptom of a generation raised on MTV culture where the glass eyed supergirl is role model.
Unflinching in its descriptions of
bingings and purgings, extraordinary
deceit, incompetent doctors, through to Hornbacher’s decrsion to literally erase herself, Wasted is brutally honest, clear and utterly compelling.
How, you silently scream, could this have gone undetected for so long? Ah . . . says Hornbacher, but there’s the rub. (AM)
Vital Signs Ian Penman (Serpent's Tail £9.99) 4r 1? t r This bumper collection of Penman’s Journalistic output, from his early NME days to big spreads in The Independent, Arena and Harpers & Queen, is subtitled ‘Music, movies and other manias'. A more truthful summary might be ’Chronicles of decline and occasional resurgence in man-made pop Culture since 1968'. 'Man-made?’ you cry in Lady Bracknell tones. Yup, and rightly so. From Oliver Stone and Nicholas Roeg
, to DaVid Lynch and Tim Buckley, the Y - chromosomes creative repert0ire is
eminently fascmating. He was every inch the peacock in his early days. Maturity has mellowed the preening
but not dimmed the critical Vigour or
Orislaughts to relish are doled out to Tarantino, Frank Zappa and, most brilliantly, the blowhard posturing of Norman Mailer. Mean Streets and
j Tricky, on the other hand, are
passionately celebrated. YOU might take exception to his arguments, but
he's entertaining and articulate. An altogether deluxe book to sample at leisure, and lend selectively. (DM)
Rick Moody (Flamingo £16.99)
* ‘k *
Cramming a day in the life into 300 pages is no mean trick. While Rick Moody, author of current box-office success The /ce Storm, may be no David Copperfield — thank blazes — he can certainly sprinkle more than a handful of magic dust over readers with the stamina and will to reach the end of his third novel Purple America.
The Raitliffe family's Connecticut home is the site for all manner of disease — the neurologically ravaged body of the mother Billie and the desecrated soul of her son, freelance publiCist Hex. He returns home when Billie’s second husband deserts her, but it is clear he has enough problems fending for himself.
The colour purple acts as both the alluSion of a bruised family in a damaged country and a warning that the reader is about to be greeted by prose of the deepest hue. Not the easiest book to plough through, but one which leaves you shattered yet satisfied. (BD)
Truth Or Dare
Sara Sheridan (Arrow £5.99) * it it
This Edinburgh writer's debut novel follows amoral and hedonistic twentysomethings Libby and Becka as they stumble over an IRA murder and undertake a series of fun-filled journeys in London, Belfast, Glasgow and Dublin to track down the perpetrators.
Like most picaresque novels, the travelling is more important than what is revealed at the final destination. Just as well since, in this case, the plot’s nuts and bolts are so loose that the women’s ad hoc investigation becomes a backdrop to the changes it sparks in their relationship and those around them.
Truth Or Dare is a colourful debut and if the plot is occaSionally clumsy, the warmth of characterisation and deft descriptions of the protagonists' emotional development makes amends. (IT)
Patricia Cornwell (Warner £5.99)
Those of us who eventually found Cornwell’s phenomenally popular pathologist, Dr Kay Scarpetta a touch tedious will approach new creation, Deputy Chief Virginia West wrth caution. A change, however, is almost as good as a rest, and this is a diverting enough yarn. Career-crazy, chain- smoking Singleton West tackles murder with a rookie reporter in tow and office politics on the Side. (SM)
Cominued over page
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20 Feb—5 Mar 1998 THE UST 99