Scot Roddy Lumsden »— whose first collection Yeah, Yeah, Yeah was shortlrsted for the Forward and Saitrre prrzes whrle thrs has recerved a nominatran for the TS. Errot trophy — is a brrllrant y0ung poet who combrnes a knrfe-edge grasp of hrs language with pungent subject matter from Athena posters to Hugh McDrarmrd's bump on the head
As Lumsden wrrtes: ‘I carry my hard won sophrstrcatron lrke a knrte l'm ab0ut to throw’ But for every smartarse brt of learnrng or trrck of language :n thrs volume, there rs a melancholy reply or subtle shrft that reveals another qureter varce. Sharp, astrrngent and surprrsrngly sweet stuff. «Mo'ra Jeffrey)
CRIME DRAMA Mario Puzo Omerta (Heinemann £l6.99) t e
O M E R T A
Al Pacrno's Don Corleone was frustrated trme and agarn at being pulled back rnto the 'famrly busrness' whrle he was attemptrng to 'go legrt' rn the thrrd Godfather frlm The poor old Dan at the late Mario Puzo’s frnal novel suffers a worse rgnomrny, havrng successfully drspased of nrs crrmrna! tres and now concentratrng on hrs legrtrmate bankrng concerns, he's murdered.
A most powerful Mafra clan leader, the Don had a contrrrgency plan to safeguard nrs three beloved chrldren rn the event of his death Enter hrs adopted nephew who attempts to solve the lt‘tJTder — and thus protect the family from further harm unearthrng a consprracy rnvolvrng rrval mobs, crooked cops, corrupt bankers and the FBI.
Probrem rs once the rnvestrgatron gets underway, Omerta becomes a run-of- the-mrll thrrtler whrch raprdiy loses steam More rnterestrng rs the rnsrde rnto on Srcriran lvtafza rrtes, of whrch their code of erence g=ves the book rts title llvlrles Frelaerr
FUTURISTIC FICTION Octavia E. Butler
Parable Of The Talents
(Women’s Press £9.99) * :é t «‘r.
In thrs sequel to her 1995 bestseller Parable Of The Sower, OctaVra E Butler has created a startlrng, beautrful and drsturbrng world The trrne rs 2032, the place, Amerrca Socrer as we know rt has collapsed and one woman, Lauren Oya Olarrrrna, has a vrsron whrch she belreves can save humarrrty. Her phrrosophy, Eartlrseed, rs based on one
I Slmple prrncrple: ’God rs change'.
Begrnnrng wrth a small number of converts, she sets about nurturrng, teaching and, above all, frghtrng to keep her vrsron alrve arnrdst the chaos and devastatron around her, The tale rs told from a varrety of vreprrnts; from Olamrna's prrvate Journals, her husband’s vvrrtrngs, Earthseed’s ’Brble’ (The Book Of The Living), and from the mouth of Olamrna's estranged daughter, Larkrn.
These drfferent perspectrves combrne to create a coherent prcture of a woman obsessed rn a world gone mad; a prcture whrch rs at once terrrfyrng and compellrng. (Krrsty Knaggst
URBAN DRAMA Kent Haruf
Plainsong (Picador £10) at at at
Pray that Hollywood doesn’t get rts hands on Plainsong. Thrs saphrstrcated novel, wrrtten wrth due consrderatron that there rs such a thrng as over- sentrmentalrty, manages to gel drsparate narrative strands rnto a composed and assured account of Irfe rn mrd-West Amerrca.
Kent Haruf takes us through the prarrres and Great Plarns whrle fusrng the hrstorres of Victorra Roubrdeaux, desperate, homeless and pregnant; the McPherson brothers, rustrc cattle- farmers, and Tom Gutherre, left to brrng up hrs two sons after hrs wrfe’s unexplarnable evacuatron from sanrty.
ThOugh drfferent, they each partrcrpate rn the plarnsong, the ethereal mu5rc that unrtes and heals. But the stars of the prece are the sons Ike and Bobby, whose compassronate and compellrng rnterchanges betray therr years and unhappy famrly lrfe.
Haruf’s thoughtful, preCrse prose traces a story of anger, loneliness, grrevrng and heartbreak makrng Plainsong a feel- good novel wrth a narratrve that moves patrently to rts pargnant conclusron.
TRAVEL H STORY
The Atlantic Sound (Faber £16.99)
* t i:
Home, belongrng and roots are the core concepts at the heart of The At/antrc Sound. Caryl Phrllrps uses hrs own and other Afrrcans’ experrences of travellrng over the Atlantrc as a startrng parnt to analyse these themes.
Phrllrps' own travelogues buckle under the werght of therr own excrucratrng detarl -- hrs trrp on a banana boat from the West Indres to England rs as arduous a read as rt was a Journey — but hrs prose comes alrve when detarlrng the tales of others. He wrrtes compellrngly of traders rn the 1800s, those lrvrng rn segregated Amerrca of thrs century, and rn Lrverpool and Ghana today.
Thrs rs a fascrnatrng, rf lopsrded book wrth the good clearly outwerghrng the mundane. Phrllrps COTIJUTGS a vrvrd prcture of Irfe for the Afrrcan lrvrng under the shadow of slavery even today, and makes the pornt of guestronrng the ease at whrch we consrgn events to hrstory rn the name of progress (Mark Robertson)
* a a a 1r Outstandrng
' a t 1 Recommended t i t Worth a try
it. it So-so
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HOW THE DEAD LIVE
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