FICTION RE-ISSUE Martin Millar
Milk, Sulphate And Alby Starvation (IMP £6.99) t i
' . :tarvation is a paranoid burn '2 tip in his Brixton flat He collects ' a ), sells speed, listens to The Fall . ': .'.orries about his health Written 67, this welcome re-issue is a n ~terful work that goes straight to the heart of a spurned generation, alive and not so well in Thatcher's revolting ‘III both meanings of the word Britain l‘.lLICh of this novel is pontification brought alive by a particularly Visceral strain of urban angst and, as Such, pre- dates Jarnes Kelnian’s How Late It Was, How Late Alby Starvation is a wonderful creation that Millar never really surpassed in later works Such as Farr/es Of New York, a character solidified from the blood that ran down the streets of Brixton during the I‘IOIS A work of rare genius and truly cult, it deserves a place on your bookshelf next to Hubert Selby Jr's Last but To Brooklyn (Paul Dale)
The Book Of The Die (HarperCollins £9.99) -
the book of the die
In I971, the publication of Luke Rhinehart's The Dice Man became the stuff of instant cult legend His self- help tale of giving your dull, drifting life up to the laws of chance appealed
92 THE LIST T—ZI Sep 2000
MILK. SULPHATE AJIB ALB-l S’iﬁﬁiviéllﬂll _
to fans of Carlos Castaneda and Robert M. Pirsig, ie. philosophy students and/or metaphysical stoners. Quite how Rhinehart got from there to being Loaded’s favourite author is another universal mystery but he is back With another chapter of do or die random philosophy. The Book Of The Die has stuff which Will have you sitting up and taking serious notice of its deep conceptual homilies one minute and giggling uncontrollany at the cod kiddy profundities the next. In his preface, Rhinehart admits that giVing up your life to the vagaries of the dice is ’bullshit', 'nonsense’ and 'huinbug'. You said it, mate Roll With it or throw it in the bin. (Brian Donaldson)
CRIME FICTION David Peace
Nineteen Seventy Seven (Serpent's Tail £8.99) . «v
The follow-up to Nineteen Seventy Four sees DaVid Peace digging ever deeper into the filth and corruption surrounding the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper The result is an almost completely harroWing nOir thriller.
Set incongruoust against the backgrOund of the Silver Jubilee celebrations, two narrators — veteran JOurnalist Jack Whitehead and copper Bob Fraser separately try to unravel a series of murders and assaults, but instead Just sink further and further into a murky, moral-free Quagmire where nightmares intertWine With miserable reality
Peacje's prose style is relentlessly bleak, both the physical description of Yorkshire in the 70s and the minds and actions of Virtually every character in the book. And, although well written, this is one of the flaws of Nineteen Seventy Seven, Without any redeeming features to latch onto, the reader remains slightly detached throughout, the increasingly horrific plot revelations eventually becoming routine (Doug Johnstone)
URBAN HORROR Vicky Allan Stray (Fourth Estate £6.99) t. 2
Animal Hospital meets Repu/Sion in this debut from Scotland on Sunday contributor Vicky Allan. IVIilla is a lonely cat therapist With a seeming preference for feline company until she meets dog-lovmg dentist Josh over the slobbering chops of a big, soppy Weimariner
So far so 707 Dal/nations. But JUSI when you’ve settled into a .strc'iightforward portrait of urban love with an animal tWist, the author shifts gear, leaVing her herOine retreating into a horrifying world of dark, kinky fantasies and destruction
Without Wishing to give too much away, the cat-alyst (sorry) for these macabre gOings-on is a manipulative albino inoggy named Purrl Who conspires to wreck the developing relationship between Josh and the increasingly disturbed lVlilla
Allan's novel walks a fine line between the insightful and the silly throughout but there are some chillingly disturbing moments. In particular, the portrayal of lvlilla’s
gradual mental disintegration is skilfully handled, the author clearly enJOying messing With our expectations. (Allan Radcliffe)
VISUAL ART Andy Goldsworthy
Time (Thames & Hudson £35) ****
’Real change is understood by staying in one place.’ British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy is world-renowned for his inspired use of natural materials and understanding of impermanence. This gorgeous coffee-table tome is a photographic record, supplemented by diary entries, of the Dumfriesshire- based artist’s various working locations in recent years; from the semi-desert of Santa Fe to a geological reserve in southern France.
There’s something both anCient and new-found in Goldsworthy's quest; he writes about his artistic process With the eXCited wonder of a boy and the matter-of-fact perseverance of a SCientist. The work is full of startling delicacy, resonance and texture and it’s fun knOWing that he's out there, somewhere, raptly obserVing hand- made ice cairns sink in an incoming tide, wrapping a trea5ure trove of wet gold leaves round a stone or making damp, compacted sand snake up tree trunks. The book may not be cheap but it is deeply satisfying.
PSYCHOLOGICAL NOVELLAS Banana Yoshimoto Asleep (Faber £9.99) a: air ‘k a *
Using light but descriptive prose for deceptively heavy subject matter, Asleep is a female evocation of lethargy, grief and love. It captures the inexplicable weirdness of life, where ghosts and clairvoyants make seamless entry into complex emotions.
Three herOines in three stories struggle through a loss. The first muses over the death of her enigmatic brother while her true love seems unable to bring her back to reality. The second realises her love for a dead woman when she calls to her in sleep The third can’t seem to do anything but snooze while struggling With her best friend’s suicide and her love for a man whose Wife is in a coma.
Thirty-Six-year-old Banana Yoshimoto is to Japan What Jeanette Winterson is
to Northern England. Her words are both refreshing and disturbing and her stories, novels and essays have won her numerous prizes. This, her fifth book, translates beautifully into a compact collection of stories.
COLOURFUL NON-FICTION Simon Garfield Mauve (Faber £9.99) ir a
This is one story where purple prose would have been acceptable. William Perkin was a 19th century chemist who, in an attempt to produce guinine by artifiCiaI means, accidentally ended up With a reddish powder. Instead of giVing up, he investigated further, refined his technique and produced a black substance which, With further tweaking, he made up into a dye The colour of the dye was mauve and the implications of its discovery were profound,
Anyone expecting a popular history of mauve from the author of The True Adventures Of Radio One Will be disappomted. At his best, Garfield locates Perkin's discovery in the broad context of the industrial revolution, revealing its importance ~- to everything from fashion to medicine — for us today
But too often, Mauve lapses into dry textbookness, paying impressive, but obsessive attention to the ins and outs of Victorian chemistry and commerce, and too rarely allowmg the story to resonate across the intervening years. (Mark Fisher)
COMIC THRILLER Christopher Brookmyre
Boiling A Frog (Little, Brown £9.99) wiit
With his fifth novel, Christopher Brookmyre has successfully transcended the ’crime writer' tag With this blackly comic thriller,
His investigative hack anti-hero Jack Parlabane has returned, but this time he’s in choky for breaking and entering. With Jack as less the narrative driVing force, and more a hapless reactionary to it (he is the metaphorical boiled frog of the title) this is a more rounded story than before, as the tale of corruption, spin doctoring and lies is woven.