CONTEMPORARY FICTION Will Self
How The Dead Live (Bloomsbury £15.99) at. at a:
Most coverage of Will Self's latest book has concentrated upon his sobriety during its creation, leaVing little room to discuss whether it is actually any good. And, as ever with the former enfant terrible and John lvlaior's flight mate, How The Dead Live dazzles and bamboozles in eaual measure.
Lin Bloom :s dyrng of cancer. An anti- Semitic Jew, she has a family filled with woe and a heart rammed with indifference. As her life ends in a morphine-infused demise, she makes a hallucinatory trip to the other Side,
Self may be in a state of abstinence but it hasn't blunted hrs ability to create a darkly unfeasible world; one where foetuses attach themselves to their owners and sing 705 hits or a character is haunted by three ghostly fat verSions of themselves. This won't win Will Self any new friends or fans, but you sense that he barely cares. (Brian Donaldson)
Ross Leckie Carthage (Canongate £14.99)
The final instalment of Ross Leckie's Punic Wars trilogy, Carthage is every bit as engrossing as Hannibal and Scipio. The future of Carthage lies with. Hanno, the bastard son of Hannibal, who must protect it against Rome. It is Scipio's own bastard son, Scipio lvlinor, who is chosen to lead the attack against Carthage That these two young men are fated to follow in the footsteps of their fathers is part of what makes this story so tragic.
As always, Leckie COITJUTE‘S up an age long gone in such a way that it once more becomes alive. lvleticulous attention to detail heightens the verisimilitude, and rt is tempting to believe that what yOu’re reading is not a work of fiction, but an eyewitness account. The way in which the novel is put together adds to this effect, made up as rt is of letters and memOirs from various different satirces Thoroughly convrncmg. (KITSLV Knaggsi
Paul Beatty Tuff (Secker &VVarburg £10) w Paul Beatty's second novel is based very firmly in the bleak and desolate landstape of the black community of inner city New York Ti/ff is based around irir‘eteen-year-old Winst0n ‘Tuffy’ Foshay, a 22-stone hard man and player on the streets of a brutal Harlem full of drug addicts and gun- toting criminals After almost dying in a rival gang drug raid he deCides to change hrs ways, and with the encouragement of an old friend, ends up as an unlikely candidate in the election for city (.ourtcil
Beatty tends to play this Juxtaposmon for laughs much of the time, but too often this falls flat. Also, too many of the characters appear to be lifted straight out of a Spike Lee film, except .'.'lllt litt‘e or no life to them This,
alongside Beatty’s tendency to show off wrth irritatineg clever metaphors and wordplay makes Tuff nothing to shout about. (Doug Johnstone)
(Quartet Books £12) it t it i
As a door-to-door vacuum salesman in late 50s California, Don Van Vliet once found himself at Ald0us Huxley's door. Introducing himself, the artist who was to become known as Captain Beefheart announced: ‘Sir, this thing sucks/
lvlike Barnes' biography of the one- time Hoover man is strong on fact and critique of Beefheart's work but also packed wrth such fab skyscraper tales. When you enter Vliet’s world, anything is possible. He wanted his mUSlC to act as an irritant, ’like sandpaper on a shr:mp'. And anyone who has wrestled with the Trout Mask Replica LP, Will understand what he meant.
A self-mythologiser and a master of the one-liner that blended abSurdity with the profound, Beefheart gave up the vagaries of rock ‘n’ roll in the early 80s to pursue hrs first love, art. Yet, there's SIIII a great deal of love for the Captain and his music, and this eloquently thorOugh work helps explarn Just why. (Rodger Evanst
Lawrence Donegan No News At Throat Lake (Penguin £6.99) ‘47 gr a» tr
rm rims AT THBGATIAKE
Ordinarily, the tale of a Journalist Ieavmg London for rural Ireland w0u|d be a cue for hyperbolic descriptions of picture-postcard landscapes and stories about supping Guinness with salt-of- the-earth Oirish folk.
Lawrence Donegan's acc0unt of his time in Cresslough, Caunty Donegal embraces some of these things, but it is much more than 250 pages filled with a string of patroniSing CIIChéS. Lloyd Cole’s former bassist also steers clear of extolling the vrrtues of pastoral life at the expense of metropolitan Iivmg
Instead, with the aid of a relentless stream of wry, colourful one-liners, he treats us to a warts-and-all slice of his cauntryside exrstence, from working on the Tirconai/l Tribune (the local paper which 'always takes the side of the people whether the peOple are right or not’) and wrtnessrng a cow being relieved of its horns, to the terror of a Daniel O’Donnell concert. Honest, cynical and fun. (Dawn Kofie‘i
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7PM TUESDAY 25TH JULY
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Come and learn the principles of this art of balancing your environment.
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A DEER FOR LIFE: A DEER VET TELLS HIS STORY AND THEIRS
7PM TUESDAY 22ND AUGUST - NEW DATE
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THE STONE WOMAN
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2c .2; »—3 sea 2003 THE LIST 115