hidden under a rock halfway up a pyramid, and gets on his friend’s nerves.

The rhyming poetry certainly got on mine, but his story is witty, perceptive, ridiculous. So much so that under the sea, in this techno pagan messiah’s garden, is no bad place to be. (RE)



: Oxherding Tale

Charles Johnson (Canongate £6.99) *ttt

()xherding Tale

Oxherdi’ng Tale might be Charles Dickens writing Toni Morrison, filtered through Herman Hesse an impossible conceit of course, in terms

I of the authors’ time lines, but the

postmodernism of it might appeal to


This is the thoughtful, very funny tale of Andrew Hawkins who was born in the ante-bellum south of

America to an African—American

servant and a slave-owner’s Wife. Through his encounters with various

eccentrics a philosopher, a

nymphomaniac, an undertaker, a murderer, a wife Hawkins attempts to make sense of the two worlds his life spans: black and white. His journey from ignorance to knowledge, spiritual poverty to

' enlightenment, is reminiscent of both

Great Expectations and Siddhartha. Apparently, Johnson’s impetus for

1 writing Oxherdi'ng Tale was to see

what Buddhism had to say about the African-American experience. And it’s perhaps too much. Johnson wears his philosophy and his postmodernism a

little too openly on his sleeve. (MF)

GRAPHIC NOVEL Strange Weather Lately Metaphrog (Metaphrog £6.25) Hut

The mysterious Glasgow-based comic artists known only as Metaphrog present a collection of tales featuring protagonist Martin Nitram. His is a strange world or should that be worlds, since a trip to a cafe tOiIet sees Martin transported into another universe? Whatever the dimension, this is a work characterised by an all pervaSive sense of paranOia and social disconnection. In fact, such is the skill of the tWin creators that the book

makes for uncomfortable reading at times its oppressiveness is unbearable.

3 You should certainly read this, but j probably not in one sitting.

Glasgow residents will be particularly intrigued to see characters roaming along Great Western Road: the illustrations instantly recognisable

, but at the same time disconcertingly

off kilter. The final pages of the collection even feature tributes to the

authors’ favourite haunts such hot I spots as Nice ’n’ Sleazy, The 13th Note, and A1 Books and Comics. (RF)


The Last Of The Hippies C.J. Stone (Faber £9.99) it it

"2) need a; .i -. " -:'2i',r.i lntlcpondcn



C.J. Stone eVidently thinks there’s room for another Hornbyesque autobiographical non-fiction novel set in 19705 suburbia. Wrong, C.J.; this last resort is fully booked. Replace ’Hippies’ With ’Arsenal’ or 'Music’ and you have the gist of it. Stone gets a commisSion from Faber (Within the story) to track down Piss- Off Pete to write his story of innocent

; hippiedom turning to craziness. This

search becomes the story itself as Stone meets up With old hippy friends, recalling their adventures in

LSD and free love.

The conditions are set for Stone to place an ironic, superior distance between himself and who he was then a tired, tiresome narrative mode best executed by Joyce 75 years ago. The message of this

amateurish, padded semi-novel is

fully contained in chapter one, the rest is redundant. We lived in better times when the highly subjective, chatty memOir was mere vanity publishing. (GM)

CONTRIBUTORS THIS ISSUE: Thom Dibdin, Brian Donaldson, Clark

I Dunn, Rodger Evans, Miles Fielder, Rob Fraser, Kirsty Knaggs, Gerry McLean,

Mark Robertson


I i t t t * Outstanding

; t t * * Recommended i it t it Worth a try

5 at * 50-50

. .. ._ ,. a _ “9.399! .,


‘A feisty new crime-

writing voice’ Scotland on Sunday




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l3--2/ May 1999 THELIST 97