CRIME THRILLER Asking For It
Anonymous (Hodder & Stoughton £16.99) *"ki' *
In a maze of heinous crimes, a headmaster is fatally stabbed. A teacher visiting London is gang raped by the same juvenile gangsters. All the while, the systems of justice seem to protect those from whom we need protection.
The life of the rape victim will never be the same again, with the press accusing her of ’asking for it'. The view that she is forever soiled suggests our author is a man. ’He’ remains literally anonymous although his
brutal presentation of legal aid law firms hungry for fees suggest that the author may actually be a lawyer embittered by experience.
Asking For It is a powerful novel, albeit one that begins more upbeat and compelling than it ends. But it certainly puts over its point by mirroring actual crimes, and for those interested in law or politics, it is a must-read. (AH)
AMBIENT HYPERFICTION Digital Leatherette Steve Beard (Codex £8.95) *
It appears that Steve Beard — essayist, databyter and i-D contributor — has become so concerned with creating a piece of fiction that was unlike anything else that he overlooked one basic fact; in essence, a work of literature should be readable. It should not be so up its own arse that the reader cringes with embarrassment at its contrived nature, no matter how original it may be - or rather, think it IS.
Comprising e-mails, screenplay excerpts, interview transcripts and, occasionally, real text, Digital Leatherette is a morass of out-takes from popular culture, assembled in such a way that the plot is all but obscured.
Which is a shame, because there are some aspects of the story which have the potential to be very interesting. However, the focus on stylistics overshadows these all too brief windows of relief, and all that is left is one question: ’How on earth did this ever get published?’ (KK)
Britain’s favourite White Witch brings her magic back to Glasgow. Join her for an informal afternoon of white magic, spell
Reknowned Egyptologist, Robert Bauval explores the science and mysteries sur- rounding the quest for the Hall Of Records
November THU Titania Hardic 1 1 Enchanted NOV 2.00 PM workshops and fun. WED Robert Bauval 2 4 Secret Chamber NOV 7.00 PM at Giza.
174— l 76 Argyle Street
108 THE U81 4—18 Nov 1999
The Boy Who Kicked Pigs
Tom Baker (Faber £12.99) A six 4x- The second finest Time Lord takes a trip into fantasy land with this mildly disturbing look at one boy’s loathing of all living forms and the tricks and mistreatments he gets up to in the name of hatred.
Robert Caligari is the wicked anti- hero of Tom Baker’s illustrated novella. His reign of terror begins with him drop-kicking his sister’s piggy bank into the telly before forcing a horse off a motorway bridge, setting thirteen vicars on fire and leading a kindly blind man to a bloody demise. Still, it all ends happily enough with Robert being trapped inside an old oak tree and devoured alive by a couple of pissed-off rats.
You could read something darkly allegorical into The Boy Who Kicked Pigs but, at its deadly end of the day, this is just a rollicking brute of a tale you could pass on to your offspring without fear that they will turn into anti-social deviants. (BD)
Robert Newman (Penguin £6.99) kink
Back in the halcyon days when comedy was the new rock 'n' roll, Rob Newman, as he was known back then, was nothing short of a leather- trousered demi-god. That seems a very long time ago now, and Newman has since turned author and shuffled out a second novel — this time about coppers.
PC John Manners is suspended from duty after allegedly killing a suspect, something which not even he is sure he is innocent of. Stripped of his job and, to a greater extent, his identity, he wanders the streets in his plod uniform and trainers. After overhearing a conversation using a
phone scanner, he sets out on a mission to prevent a murder.
Manners is a confused and confusing hero; his motivations are admirable but his actions are often just irritating. The story is engaging enough, but tends to meander somewhat with promising subplots fizzling out disappointingly, leaving an overall sense of disjointedness and frustration. (MR)
Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance
Robert M. Pirsig (Vinta e £7.99) tie it The 1974 release of R0 ert M. Pirsig's novel proved that philosophical enquiry could be sexy. Millions confused by the concepts of existence rushed out to snap up Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance, believing that this quasi-fiction would offer them the key to life. Most ended up in further disarray by the book's end.
A man and his son are crossing America on a motorbike, the father hunted and haunted by fundamental issues of science, art, reason, aesthetics and such. Enlightenment is his goal but insanity appears on the verge of victory.
This 25th anniversary edition seeks to clear up certain issues. Unfortunately, exposing secrets within what is essentially a mystery story rather defeats any purpose it may have had. As for the new book jacket, the swirly LSD garishness is something your embarrassing hippie uncle would dream up. A once mildly fascinating journey into a few of the universe's mysteries has detoured into a decidedly bad trip. (80)
REVIEWERS THIS ISSUE:
Susanna Beaumont, Catherine Bromley, Thom Dibdin, Brian Donaldson, Ally Hardy, Moira Jeffrey, Kirsty Knaggs, Hannah McGill, Mark Robertson
Making a sinister phonecall: The Boy Who Kicked Pigs