The Last King of Scotland Giles Foden (Faber £9.99) *ﬁrt
*‘ a I If, m o
1,/ I If, I
/',.’ Q a
The subject of Giles Foden's first novel has been labelled as both cartoon bogeyrnan and eVil tyrant? Such descriptions have been thrown at the moustachioed nutter currently being blamed for bringing the world to the brink of destruction but, in this case, it is the much loathed former dictator of Uganda, ldi Amin.
The genume hero of this semi- fictional tale is young doctor Nicholas Garrigan who inexplicany finds himself as Amin's right hand man and eventually has the opportunity to change the course of a bloody history — Ishiguro’s The Remains Of The Day immediately springs to mind.
While Foden, through Garrigan, carries a sense of pity and affection for the man, the reader knows that he was unable to recall the names of his many offspring and more than capable of
v savagely disposing of government
members who riled him. Fun, funny and funereal. (BD)
The Whereabouts Of Eneas McNulty
Sebastian Barry (Picador £12.99)
* it at k
This is a story of longing, of innocents abroad driven from home by forces they cannot comprehend.
Eneas McNulty returns to Sligo after serVing in the British Merchant Navy during World War I. Childhood friends snub him for busying himself in an English affair, work is scarce, and not really understanding the other conflict unfolding before him, he makes the fateful deCision to jOliT the Royal Irish Constabulary. A death threat is issued, and Eneas leaves Ireland on the understanding that, should he ever return, sentence will be carried out.
From the ravages of Dunkirk to a living hell in Lagos, Eneas is filled With an unbearable yearning for home. Denied a life, he veers between naive optimism, puzzlement and the belief that he is somehow deservmg of his late. He is silent, haunted and exhausted by being Eneas lvlcNulty.
A pOignant stOry, written With tenderness and compassion, one of friendship formed in exile and alliance in abandonment. (AM)
I See also Theatre preview, page 67
King Con Stephen J. Cannell (Michael Joseph £9.99) * * a:
In crime parlance, this is an author with previous. He’s worked on The Rockford Files (wow!) and The A Team (oh dear), and his last novel was a bestselling psycho cyberthriller (eh?)
King Con, thankfully a Mr T-free zone, is one Beano X Bates, a grifter who finds himself on the wrong end of a nine iron after an expensive poker scam goes Del Monte shaped. Beano plots revenge in the form of the mother-in-law of all cons against his Mafiosi assailant, a plan he activates with the help of a beautiful (naturally) ex-FBI prosecutor and a terrier called Sir Anthony of Aquitane (don't ask).
Things don’t go exactly to plan, though, and Mr Shit soon becomes acquainted with Mr Fan. It’s fast, funky, shamelessly corny and the film rights having been bought by John Travolta for a million bucks. Let’s hope there's a part for James Garner. (RE)
Todd McEwen (Jonathan Cape £9.99) at ‘k
This book is great, but has absolutely no plot. Or, to put it another way — a complete waste of time, but beautifully written.
McEwen's tale of Joe Lake's childhood in Orange County, California, has no real beginning or end, and is a sort of series of stream of consCiousness set pieces. Some, such as a rant about the failings of cowboy movies, are very funny. Others cover class tensions in suburban America, arithmetic and learning about girls, but don't really go anywhere.
The use of capitals to highlight the INTENSITY of the CRAPPY FEELINGS of growing up is reminiscent of John Irving's A Prayer For Owen Meany, but the comparison is not beneficial to McEwen. Irving’s book is movrng, packed with incident and, in parts, is quite philosophical. This however is a slow plod through nothing, and leaves the reader unmoved. (SN)
Rupert Thomson (Bloomsbury £12.99) ‘k**
A sinister hidden campaign of subliminal advertising wraps two lost souls in murder and removes the SOul from a third. Thomson's book clicks along to a contemporary London backing track — art galleries, advertising, clubs, cocaine — but is aware of the forgotten spaces between and behind bUildings, places where things can happen.
With its setting and theme, Soft s0unds the sort of book Ballard might have written 20-plus years ago. Which is where the problem lies — the idea isn't particularly new and the prose lacks the relentless Visionary quality of a Ballard.
A surfeit of simile drags the writing down; everything is like something else, something does something as though it were another thing. The reader is bludgeoned, the writing becomes apparent. Slightly fewer words, some Credit given to the reader as being able to do some of the work, and Thomson could have fabricated a stronger, more poetic system of evocation. As it is, good for a longish train ride. (DL)
MAR 7.00PM SAT MAR
MAR 7.00 PM
All ticket prices redeemable against the price of the relevant book. PLUS special discounted promotions on a wide range of subject headings including Gay Writing, Alternative Health
new titles BOOKS
Waterstone’s in March
“HE AND SHE”
By JACK VAN DER SPUY Free
and many more...
TI CKE T5 AND MORE INFORMATION
152-157 Sauchiehall Street 0141 332 9105
6—19 Mar 1998 THE U3T99