GRAPHIC HISTORY old Scotland, new
Scotland Jeff Fallow (Luath Press £6.99)
On the agenda of this self-confessed 'radical history’ of the nation is the debunking of the tartan myth; as well as a call for renewed national optimism and self-confidence as the shiny happy dawn of a Scottish Parliament approaches
With 450 million years to cover, the maiority of the book is a history lesson. At least half comprises traditional tales of kings and queens, wars and battles, but as the 18th century arrives, a
CHANGE THE PLOT
A story of complete unpredictability involving you, some good friends and a pair of dice. Throw the dice to decide where to drink your bottles of Rolling Rock beer.
'people's history’ takes over and the storytelling slows down, with a quarter of the book being devoted to the last two decades. Which is fair enough -- this is sOCialist history and Thatcherrsm, yet what lies beyond is most relevant to the reader.
Worthy as old Scot/and, new Scotland is, it's sorely let down by crude Visuals and an unimaginative narrative somewhat ironic: considering the flourishing of the graphic novel while the Tories were busy attempting to dismantle a nation iMFi
Edited by Simon Winder (Penguin £2.99) ~ *
Curiously, perhaps, for a slim selection of extracts about food and drink, the vast majority of these descriptions of gluttony and hunger and feast and fast are taken from books that were written before the 20th century lots of Dickens, Swrift and Milton, for example.
Maybe this is because food has been relatively plentiful this century and, as rt has become less scarce, has lost some of its status and consequently some of the attraction that writing ab0ut rt once held But then the last 90 years have also seen the exponential rise of the gOurmet write" and a fascination wrth culinary exotica which doesn't really explain the omissions
Still, The Feast doesn't claim to be encyclopaedic and works better as a snack selection rather than a sit-clown meal. Grazrng on a spot of Chaucer makes it a lot more easy to digest than
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trying to devour all of The Canterbury Tales in one sitting, (IT)
The Last Manly Man Sparkle Hayter (No Exit £10)
Tablord TV producer Robin. Hudson's thrrd achenture finds her stumblrng -nto the line of fire iike the Jinxec: offspring of Sam Spade and Kate Adie Th s tzme, an investigation into what the future holds for the male of the spec‘es brings her into contact with anrrna= rrghts activists, radical TG'TIITTISES, loony big businessmen and at least one killer
Former CNN war correspondent and part-time stand-up comedienne Sparkle Hayter puts the action on fast- foriaard as Robin flaps and flirts her way through the mystery. Funnier than its predecessors, The Last Man/y Mari also contains more insight on the male- female divide than countless other po- faced pieces of serious literature,
Hayter has created a heroine whose bitchy, brainy and babe-like qualities allow her to come Out tops in a world of testosterone-driven egotists, withocrt rt feeling like a bitter rant, Everyone frOm Janet Evanovrch to Andrea Dworkin should give her a standing ovation .AM-
PR SON DIARIES Trial By Ordeal — One Nurse's Hell In A Saudi Jail Lucy lilCLauchlan with William Paul (Mainstream £9.99) The photo on the front 0" Lucy i‘vlCLclllCi‘id’TS book 's one that is all too familiar from the bianket coverage of her incarceration anci subsequent trial tor the murder of fellow nurse Yvonne G-ifoi'ci‘ Her somewhat (}I)()LlilS.". air may or may not be a direct resin! of our KIT()\‘.|E‘(1Q0 that she is a convicted murderer
Her (ildl'IC‘S, naturally, IO'I a clif‘ei‘em story lr‘. this detailed iociirrag Mc Lauc hIan describes ".()\‘. she chose false confession over gang-rape and endured barbaric [art conditions for seventeen months for a crime 0‘ wnrc h she claims innocence
There's no (iOliyll‘Q it's coirrpelling stuff but you can’t help wondering how much ‘rne-tuning or, ilTCiCCd, "e- tiinrng has been clone by ghost-writer Wirlram Paul Still, it has the ring of
truth and if McLauchlan really is guilty, she has a feverish imagination and a callous nature rare in wee nurses from Dundee IECI
GANGLAND FICTION What About Me? Alan Smith (Review £6.99)
,: .i'-i' 'l‘ .
Lrvei‘pooi poet Adria." Henr: :s cicroted on the cover of What About Me? as Insisting that tlvs, Alan Smith's second novei, does for lvlerseyside \Arltat Get Carter did for Tyneside ' The grtty real.s‘iri and the outburstrngs of frenetic vioiei‘cje may be there, bu. none of the characters has any of the urban 'tie'TdCE‘ o‘ the saith-of" \.'."(-?l(lliig Michael Cane
The four central characters .n Smith's follow-up to last year's acclaimed Big Soft Lads are embroiled in an on-gomg gang feud involving dark memories, some dodgy photographs and a Suitcase full of dough.
For those who have spent any time in the City, they will appreciate the geographical landmarks but in the mind's ear, the dialogue is more Runcorn than anything approaching a radge Scouse. Pacy, witty and humane it may be, a Cult classic recalled it most certainly isn't iBD‘r
SOCIAL HISTORY Sweet Talk: The Secret History Of
Confectionery Nicholas Whittaker (Gollancz £16.99)