and satire that his work is peppered with, and his ability to create comedy out of tragedy. (Kirsty Knaggs)
, ADDICTIVE ANTHOLOGY
_ James Walton ed
The Faber Book Of Smoking (Faber £17.50) it wk *
Forget Allen Carr, this is all you need. Like the threat yOur parents made to Sit you down and make you smoke until you're green, this book goes overboard on Lady Nicotine.
At first it stimulates, excites, pleases and enc0urages you to read on. Eventually you have to put it down, if only for a cigarette, the guilt of your own habit still around the corner. But constantly you’re drawn back to the book's comfy shell, its world of smoking cool and the self-satisfying feeling of being part of this world-wide culture.
The now laughable mixed health messages of the early 20th century, are beaten into submission by piece upon piece of pro-smoking prose from such luminaries as Mark Twain through Martin Amis to Raymond Carver's smoke-addled landscapes. There are too many pieces, in fact, which can't fail to leave you feeling Just a little nauseous by the end. lAIy Burt)
GENERATIONAL NOVEL Patrick Gale
Rough Music (Flamingo £9.99) *iit
Will, a 40-ish gay man, is conducting a secret affair with his butch brother-in- law Sandy. Confused, he escapes to Cornwall for a holiday with his parents, only to find that the beach house they've rented for the fortnight is the very same one where his folks enacted an emotional drama 30 years preVIoust. Sandy comes down With his sons -- sans Wife —- and interrupts Will’s liaison With Roly, a local artist.
Patrick Gale's latest novel intercuts between the contemporary holiday and the one 30 years before, where Will's prison governor father is called away after a Ronnie Biggs manque escapes, and his mother has an affair With her American drug-taking hippie novelist of a brother-in-law.
There's a touch of Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse in the holiday house tensions, both past and present, but the story is pretty predictable. What makes Rough Music compelling is Gale’s detailed observation of his cast's emotional and psychosexual nuances. (Steve Cramer)
TEENAGE RECOLLECTION Michael Turner
The Pornographer’s Poem (Sceptre £12) * t i it
Inspired to make films by a school proiect, the unnamed sixteen-year-old narrator accidentally captures his neigthurs on film in a canine menage a trois. This footage finds him catapulted into Vancouver's sex underworld and he is thrust into a career as a maker of that very specific genre of mOVie: pornography.
This could have been a rosy, Wonder Years-style rites of passage tale of one boy's sexual and sooal awakening. And
it would have also been interminany dull. Instead, late 705 Canada is a me’lange of drugs, sexual
experimentation, bestiality, paedophilia and pornography, making South Park
appear heartily wholesome. Thankfully,
none of these elements are the sole
focus or drive behind the narrative, they merely serve to give a context to the events portrayed.
The Pornographer’s Poem is honest,
1 funny and extremely black at times and Michael Turner’s prose is economical
and a pleasure to read, conveying both how thrilling and painful growing up can be. (Mark Robertson)
Black Girl In Paris
(Women’s Press £9.99) t it i
As declared by the title, Shay Youngblood’s second novel chronicles the exploits of an American negress in the French capital. Set in 1986, against a backdrop of Civil unrest and terrorist
- bombings, it describes footloose Eden’s
escape from the Deep South to Europe’s most romantic and snobbish
- city, where she follows her heroes
James Baldwin, Langston Hughes and Billie Holiday, seeking freedom from racial prejudice, literary inspiration and, ideally, an encounter with Baldwin.
These are ambitious goals, but she does accomplish them, to some degree. On her pilgrimage, she drifts thr0ugh JODS, friendships and romances, discovering Jazz and affirming her racial pride in the face of bigotry.
Though Eden describes her progress as ’map-making’, this largely autobiographical tale is meandering and inconclusive. Influenced by Jazz, YOungblood’s style is fluid, sensual and VIVId, though its riffs tend towards the over-ripe. Nonetheless, Black Girl is an absorbing read; and a harsh expose of raCism’s casual cruelties.
HISTORICAL DRAMA Michael Chabon
The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay (Fourth Estate £12) t a: 1k at
As examples of the great American novel go, this is a damn fine specimen. Even more so, because Michael Chabon has taken the comic strip as the central fulcrum to his narrative. Low art the comic might be, but its populist appeal prowdes a solid foundation against which to push ideas of sexuality, monopoly, capitalism and an ingrained American guilt for letting the Victims langUish in Hitler’s concentration camps.
The artists of the title, Jews from Prague and New York respectively, first meet as teenagers in 1939. Kavalier's urgent need for finance to bring his family over to America exactly complements Clay’s compuISion to create great comics and a life-long friendship is born With their first super- hero.
Chabon depends rather too much on the feelgood factor of a decent yarn to maintain his narrative drive. But there's more than enough meat here to nourish the intellect of all but the hungriest of readers. (Thom Dibdin)
BOOKS NOVEMBER HIGHLIGHTS
7PM THURSDAY 2ND NOVEMBER
‘.'.’lII be siriiiinci rooms of his new HOVOI
THE CLOUD MACHINERY
12.3OPM MONDAY 6TH NOVEMBER
will be signmr; copies of I)IS(II(1I.(?S
7PM MONDAY 6TH NOVEMBER
will In: IriIkiiig ribout his new novel
STRANGER HERE MYSELF 7PM TUESDAY 7TH NOVEMBER
-.-.,II he (Ii§-’ tissing 'iiis ((HQOI' (is St otIriiirI's frivoiiiae box-e:
7PM THURSDAY 9TH NOVEMBER
GAY FICTION BOOK OF SHORT STORIES
THE LIST/BORDERS EVENT 7PM FRIDAY IOTH NOVEMBER
The ciuflioi 0" Fight CIub will be discussing his wriik (ind new navel
7PM TUESDAY 14TH NOVEMBER
Will be cooking from IlIS new (.OIIer lion
EAFOOD LOVERS GUID :
4.30PM WEDNESDAY 15TH NOVEMBER
w'II be signing the 75th I).sc~.'.'0iI<I II()‘.'(?I
1PM THURSDAY 16TH NOVEMBER
NANCY CARTWRIGHT - BART SIMPSON
‘.'.’III In? signing rooms of her (,iulolyogrcipiiy
98 BUCHANAN STREET, GLASGOW GI 38A TEL10141222 7700 80m to I Ipm, Monday to Saturday, IOom to 9pm Sunday www.bordersstores.com/slores/283
2 -- 16 Nov 2000 THE lIST115