Book Reviews continued

Namedropper Emma Forrest (Arrow £5.99) at w i:

More eyebrow than highbrow, more chocolate than Charlie, more iconography than, ooh, the Byzantine Empire But it's thirteen lines into page one before the author can engage in her first act of wanton famedropping, With Lauren Bacall the (langer in question. Fear not though, for by page two Buddy Holly, ElVis Presley, Lenny Bruce, Mel Brooks, Jimmy Dean, Monty Cliff, Seinfeld, Woodstock and Ava Gardner have all succumbed

Suffice to say that the debut from this precooous hackette is every bit as referential and reverential to Liz Taylor and the Joys of confectionery as Hornby c0u|d ever be With Arsenal and


bookstop cafe

drink the latte eat the muffin read the book

chew the cud

never has retail been so good for the soul

4 teviot' place. edinburgh 0131 - 225 5298

opening times 10 - 8 mon - sat 12 - 8 sun

N O W O P E N Open Tues-Sat IO-8, Sun-Mon

fi‘wc vi \ in“. I {lilt‘it

‘J’luuftlfl{TleICi’Eiiy’ itisri'atcd books

second-hand record shops. The narrator, Viva Cohen, is a solipsistic teenager With friends in low places music Journalists, rock stars and sexpots. She's an eXistential Bridget

Jones if y0u Will, but then that w0u|d

Just be namedropping. (RE)

Ghost Country

Sara Paretsky (Hamish Hamilton £15.99) at *r



“m Guam -- .

Packing V.|. Warshawski off on a short- term holiday, Paretsky branches out from the crime genre With an ambitious allegorical novel about contemporary America.

The plot travels upwards from the streets of Chicago to the cultured home of a pre-eminent surgeon, taking in an alcoholic ex-diva, an overworked doctor and an unloved orphan. As the separate levels of American society collapse together, the novel never otiite manages the satirical bite of Bonfire Of The Vanities, but does expose the hypocrisy of the self-righteous.

The sexuality of women is at the centre of the book, whether in the shape of a homeless woman’s Vision of the Virgin Mary bleeding through a crack in a wall (the menstrual image is obVious) or the Earth Mother appeal of the enigmatic character, Starr. Paretsky's success here is to give mice to a simmering female anger, allowmg it to build to righteous fury as the novel nears its climax, (AM)


Susanna Beaumont, Andrew Burnet, Rodger Evans, Deirdre Molloy, Alan Morrison, Claire Prentice, Peter Ross.

Pandora's Box

Alice Thompson (Little, Brown £12.99) it Ar

Receiving a bed-time visit from a naked female stranger sounds like the stuff of wet dreams. But the night- caller in Alice Thompson’s second novel Pandora's Box, arrives in a ball of flames and devoid of identity, unleashing a nightmare of epic proportions for respected plastic surgeon Noah Close.

After rebuilding the woman's scorched body into a perfect specimen. the doctor - intrigued by the mute, Goddess-like Pandora - takes her in as his wife. Domestic, if peculiar, bliss is destroyed on awaking one night to find her murdered in

Alice Thompson


what becomes an unfathomable case. The body disappears and Close must track it down to prove his innocence and uncover the truth about his mystery lady. The result is a journey through Las Vegas into a bizarre half- world peopled by freaks and aberrations of nature.

Fusing myth, odyssey and fairy tale, Thompson has created a strange and strangely compelling world, exploring issues of humanity and mortality. There are glimmers of genuine talent but it comes on like a poor imitation of Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy as Close forgoes his ordered existence in the village to lose and then find himself in the anonymity of the city. Arguably, it’s over-ambition which undermines the action while the heavy- handed descriptions and metaphors get in the way of a plot that ultimately

runs out of steam. (Claire Prentice)


* it * it * Unmissable

* 1k * at Very ood

* t a Wort a shot

at it Below average

* You’ve been warned



~st st- L‘LIILJ‘ of photographic


42-44 Cockburn Street,

Edinburgh EH'I


Tel: Ol3l- 226 6636

94 THE LIST 25 Jun—9 Jul 1998





Gerard Murray Waterstone's. 153-157 Sauchiehall Street. 332 9l05. 3pm. Murrav signs copies of his new book John flame And 771050115 Impact And Sun‘it‘al In Northern Ireland (Irish Academic Press £37).



The Spoken Word Java Internet Cafe. [52 Park Road. 337 68 l4. 8 m. £3. Tickets from venue and Bre . A multi- media event with guests Stuart David from Belle & Sebastian. Karn David. Viv Gee and Algorhythm.


Gerard Murra James Thin. 53—59 South Bridge. 55667 3. 2pm. See Thti 25.



Sunday Rhymes .Brel. 39 Ashton Lane.

342 4966. 3pm. Viv Gee hosts this popular

Eoetry afternoon With speCial guests. dinburgh

The Shore Poets I-‘ruitmarket Gallery.

45 Market Street. 225 2383. 8pm. An

evening of poetrv with Jim Glen and

music mm The Tartan.



Roger Black Waterstone's. 153—157 Sauchiehall Street. 332 9l05. 7pm. £2 (£1). Top athlete Roger Black talks about his triumph over illness as told in his new book How Long 3‘ The ('ourse.’ (Deutsch U599).


Edinburgh Roger Black Waterstone's. George Street. 225 3436. 7.30pm. See Mon 29.


Sauchiehall Street Readin Grou aterstone s. 153—157 Sauc iiehall . treet. 3329105. 7.30pm. The group discuss


Rose Tremain‘s novel The Way I .l’otutd Her. All welcome. for more details contact Tessa Bowler on 3329105.


Gordon Legge \h'aterstone‘s. I3—l-l Princes Street. 556 3034. 7pm. Scottish author Gordon Legge reads from his latest book Near Neighbours ((‘ape £9.99).



Margaret Thomson Davis John Smith. 57 St Vincent Street. 221 7472. 7pm. The author discusses and si yns copies of her new book (iallac/iers (Tiandom House

£ I699).


Jack Hi gins Waterstone's. I28 Princes Street. ._._6 2666. 7pm. The master of international suspense and author of The Eagle Has landed. reads from his new novel ()n Dangerous Ground (Michael Joseph 9: 15.99).


J.K. Rowling Dillons. I74 Argyle Street. 248 48H. 3pm. See Kids listings. page 1"? Edinburgh

LK. Rowlin Waterstone's. l28 Princes Street. 226 -666. 7pm. See Kids listings.

age 83.

oems 8r Pints The West End Hotel. Palmerston Place. 225 3656. 7.30pm. £1.50 (£1). Iidinburgh Writers Association present an evening of poetry and music.



Marsha Hunt Waterstone's. George Street. 225 3436. 7.30pm. The actress. singer and acclaimed novelist chats about her new book Like Venus Fading (HarperC‘ollins £l6.99).


James McCarth Waterstone's. l3—l4 Princes Street. 5. 6 3034. 7pm. The author chats about his latest books An Inhabited Solitude: Scotland, Land And People (Luath £6.99) and Wild Scotland (Luath £7.50).



Gordon Legge Waterstone's. 153—l57 Sauchiehall . treet. 332 9l05. 7pm. See Wed l.