new titles Donna And The Fatman

Helen Zahayi (Anchor £9.99)

Bev. are the begudihg f;rst cht pter -~ the one you ifl‘lSli in the bookshop and buy the book for lt may stru and preen with riangerou aggression, slip casually up to a (mete of ultra-violence and calmly face it (loyah, but be Sure, it ain't the

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tr‘e strength and

s .ck assuredr‘ess you (i expect from the author of Dirty l‘v’eekerid, as filmed by Michael Winner, but she loses her sense of pace once she has to keep the plot bub ‘ling along Driving round London is no substitute Her characters .hcluohg the sad:stic gangster Fatman and the tough and tarty Donna -- hint at strength but are ultimately all Surface and no depth Having sprung them upon you \‘y'liii such ei’an in the first chapter, she can do nothing more than reiterate their characteristics in the ensued pa:‘.es \\t‘ to makes this a". exceler‘t short sIt"‘y but a rather

poor novel (TC‘

Intimacy Hanif Kureishi (Faber £9.99) e w Jay's girth is expanding and when urinating he strains to 'send a respectable semicircle into the pan ' His relationship'h Susan is dead, though they continue to dot-.n \'yll‘iC together and muse over the pro: able survival rate of friends' harriages And as Jay ponders on his partners looks, he dithers and d >bates about leaving her and thezr hue young k.ds

Cr‘ce, Ha'tzf Ku'e sh: :iaye us stories

ot a::oies;erit apt ts, ter\er‘t sexual encounters from. the, y.ey' ot

value-eyed, young suburbanites Now, you get the sense that his own girth has expanded This latest novel deals more in nostalgia and aspirational sexual fantasies while its talk is of CD collections and the Thatcherisation of the soul The grit has gone Instead it is middle-aged debate on love, the side- effects of abandoning a partner and the relevance of a therapist Gentle and so very 9Cs, Kureish: may have lost l‘zs youthfu' \ (tour but not .".lS verve to y‘..".1(‘ 233‘

Elvis Over England

Barry nines (\tichaei Joseph £75.99)

When hrs mother's funeral prompts 55- year-old northern English dreamer Eddie to blow the dust off his old teddy-boy get-up and buy a Cadillac convertible with fOrged banknotes, it leads him on the road to coming to terms with a long- Suppressed past This pivots around the lingering shadow of let, Eddie's long- dead pal who was the first kid on the block to wear his hair in a DA Jet's passng, \‘.liliC stiil young and beautiful, is the nearest thing to a rock 'n' roll death a coo-'th estate can provide

Barry runes rr‘eat-ar‘d-tv.o-‘.eg p'ose stye is peppered \'.|l.'l seif—deprecatory one-liners that are close to Roddy Doyle's The Van in tone Though it is a little misogynist, not to say sentimental, this is a moving portrait of an ageing Elvis- fixated Billy Liar v.ho does the unthinkable, and makes fantasy real lNCl

Low Rider Philip Reed (Hodder 8. Stop-glared £l699) a w

For his second novel, Philip Reed has reactivated Bird Dog's hero, Ha'old Dodge An ex-used car salesrrzan closing in on 50, Dodge makes an unlikely addition to the parit'teer‘. o‘ A cr 'r‘e- genre protagonists Sorrxethrnt; c‘.‘ average guy, he contsriaaiiy stumbles into mess after mess, so'rteltev‘. treat" the impression he has thnos af floured out, only (‘1‘.2illii0i a plan

ln Low Rider, Cur hero hopes to help a woma ‘. collect on the insurance for her murdered husband, a simple enough plan which soon leads him into the dark, filthy world of used cars Even if the plotting is ridiculously convoluted and contrived, it's nice to read a boo-c where the central character's greatest

strength is dumb luck (DL‘

Tourist Matt Thorne (Sceptre £73? Cawal sex and seaside shabbness what (Culd be more Bet'sl“ 7);, debut novel of Matt Theme, 23 i,tv~.erity'-bloody-three' ' i, has pfenty at both Luckily, this is some d'stahce from the leery, beery lingua franca Of most male novelists under 40

Sarah Patton is coasting through her late 20s in Weston-Super-Mare Two low-grade Jobs and two lovers relieve her dread of 'empty moments ' But past and present gang up On her ‘.'.lit,‘li a new bOyfriend and an old girlirxend come to town

Much of the de‘ight is .n t“e data! but the bigger picture is sert‘etimes out of fOCus Thorne's jump-cuttng beta-.een time frames can be b'tita', w". 'e Sarah's stery :s less than; Totsteyia". r‘ e=;:h:

till, Tourist has a sfoxz, sad tioai pt.- . to it that marks :ts young write“ out as more than promisrng (Til

The Collected Martin Millar

Martin Millar (Fourth Estate £9.99) FOrget Welsh or Legge, this is the definitive voice of the Scottish underground albeit one transported from Broxburh to Brixton htllar s beautifully crafted urban ‘airy ta'es have appeared over the course of a decade in five novels, three of \.-.h»ch appear here Aside from his CO'iiflbUilOf‘iS to the Disco BisCuits and Disco ZOOO collections, :t 5 been more than three years since his last work, the typically sweet and surreal Dreams Of Sex And Stage Drying

The publication of this 'greatest hits' from his ex-publishers is timely The author is striving to find a home for his new novel, Love And Peace \\ ith Melody Paradise, and if yOu want to see his {EJCCIIOH letters, read clips of his hey. stuff, or jUSi contact the man with messages of support, his web site can be f0und at http //dspace dial pipex com tot-.nrstreetx kbh38/ mmindex shtrnl

Imagine Kurt \"onhegut read'ng Marvel Comics \‘ylih The Clash thrasinng in the backgrOund FOr the deceptively simple poetry of the everyday, nobody does it better. Just check out Cynthia the disaffected werewolf or the Highlands- bred, New York Dolls-obsessed fairies for yOurself (RE)

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