Sawdust Caesar

Howard Baker (Mainstream £7.99) * *i‘k

There's a real rawness about this novel of Mods and Rockers and a vital naiveté which could only come from someone who was actually there. It's not simply that Howard Baker creates a strong understanding for his cool, suede- coated. pill-popping villain of an anti-hero and his gang. It’s the passion of this book which, every so often, bypasses subtlety and gets

on with revealing the matter-of-fact '


What you don't get is titillation; just a feeling of what it must have been like to be a teenager, speeding out of your brains. dressed up to the nines with a pile of stolen cash as you smashed your bare knuckles into a Rocker. This was post-war Britain, where the kids were open to

Mods and Rockers. They came. They saw. They smashed the place up. . .



A novel of youth rebellion


Ska culture: Sawdust Caesar

new ideas, to ska, to bright clothes. to rejecting their parents big time, and

to staying up all night and dancing.

Not for nothing does Baker call his protagonist Tommy. But this Mod was there before The Who stole the dress sense and dragged it out into the arms of the waiting teenage population. He hits the wave on the last days of school and follows it for two years in which he grows from innocent

South London kid to proper rogue.

Occasionally, Baker's 20-20 hindsight gets in the way as he goes off on a philosophical jaunt. but on the whole. this is a speeding yarn which entertainineg documents a generation who could teach the ravers a thing or two about staying out late. (Thom Dibdin)


BORDERS. Highlights


PULP FICTION The House Of Whacks

Matthew Branton (Bloomsbury £6.99) ivki'

Take Goodfe/las, Pulp Fiction, anything from the pen of Elmore Leonard, a smattering of Barry Gifford and a brief history of McCarthyism, and you have The House Of Whacks. All highly entertaining and interesting stuff, to be sure; but at no point is it wildly original.

Everything from the subject matter to the shared narrative style of prose has been gleaned from the most popular films of the past twenty or so years; one suspects that Mr Branton was envisaging his name on the big screen all along.

The story revolves around three very different sets of people planning the perfect heist. The fatal flaw is that none of them know the others will be hitting the same place at the same time. It would make a corking film - there are enough wisecracks, guns and semi-naked women to ensure a reserved screen at multiplexes around the world - but the problem remains. popularity doesn't always equal quality. (KK)

FAMILY FARCE Sisteria Sue Margolis (Headline £9.99) *

They are dunces, these people. They should be writing Mills and Boons, or captions for the Home Shopping Network. But since the day when Bridget Jones crawled out of the primeval. as-though-feminism-never- happened swamp and started lurching about spraying her foul jets of slime all

over British publishing, they have acquired the dismal misapprehension that the world of boisterous knockabout comedy fiction needs them.

They wrap their books in migraine- inducing colours, they market them to ‘chicks', they make their fortunes, and they spare nary a thought for the fact that they face eternal damnation for crimes against taste.

This is a crude, clumsy satire on television chat shows. pregnancy and Jewish parenting, centring upon a surrogacy deal struck up between two fortysomething sisters. It's stuffed with horrible stereotypes (class, race, gender, you name it), laboured jokes and the least erotic sex scenes ever committed to paper. Writing for people who don't like reading. (HM)

INTELLECTUAL THRILLER A Closed Book Gilbert Adair (Faber £9.99) ** **

A famous writer, disfigured and blinded in a car accident, seeks an amanuensis to assist him in researching and writing his memoirs. A young man takes up the post but, to no one's surprise, he's not what he seems.

So commences a black-humoured meditationupon creativity and imagination that builds stealthin into a lurid revenge fantasy. Composed almost entirely of dialogue and

Continued over page

Sat 9th Stuart Scott signs copies of his new Oct 2pm history of the WWII No. 105 Mosquito Squadron. "Dues 12th Best-selling author Marian Keyes Oct 7pm signs copies of her new novel Last Chance Saloon. ch 13th Geri Halliwell will be appearing at Oct 1pm The Glasgow Royal Concert to discuss her autobiography, If Only. SCOTTISH EXCLUSIVE. Thurs 14th Join wine writer and broadcaster Oct 7pm Jancis Robinson and taste wine with the master! Mon 18th General Sir Michael Rose tells Oct 7pm the inside story of one of the toughest challenges of his career, as Commander of the UN Protection Force in Bosnia in 1994. Wed 20th Launch of 1999’s New Writing Scotland Oct 7pm which includes contributions from Angus Calder, David Cunningham, Hamish Whyte and Valerie Thornton. Thurs 21$t Launch of Doon the Watter by Oct 7pm Robert Jeffrey and Ian Watson.

A unique collection of photographs from the archives of The Herald. A nostalgic look at the way we used to live, as well as a fascinating journey around the seaside towns of the Clyde.

Plus National Poetry Day (7th Oct), Neal Stephenson, Glasgay! discussion groups, children’s events,

live music and much, much more . . .

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