BOOKS REVIEW continued
Tania Glyde Junk DNA (Codex £7.95) 1'! t 1» t
Set in a future parked somewhere between Philip K. Dick’s early speedfreak fantaSies and Orwell’s 7984, this iS a world where the Human Genome Project iS about to be launched on a rabid computer and c0unsel|ing obsessed SOCiety. Regina is a failed performance artist and unconventional sex therapist who incorporates stolen pharmaceuticals into her work. When her clients start developing terrifying phobias to
children, Regina turns to her twelve- year-old, dysleXic neighbour LUCy for help, With disastrous reSuItS.
There's much wrong With Tania Glyde's second novel, not least her thesaurus-gobbling style which puts her in a class With Will Self in terms of ability to distance the reader from the narrative. But ultimately, Glyde's breadth of ViSion and invention really impresses and a picture of the future begins to emerge that is both plaUSible and thrilling
There are few writers working today that can make such an intelligent link between art and cod therapy With SCience and mingided technology. (Paul Dale)
Alison Hennegan ed
The Lesbian Pillow Book (Fourth Estate £15) a. it
Regular readers of lesbian fiction will find little ground being br0ken in this collection of poetry, manuscripts, diaries and letters, With Sapphic references that range throughout the ages detailing love and sexuality. They go from the bizarre -— Abbe De Brantomes' comparison between lesbians and female weasels — to the familiar —- firm gay faves such as Virginia Woolf and Hennegan herself. Though it is exceptionally well- written and researched, the Significance of documenting lesbian works as an anthology is not apparent. Hennegan states: 'Young lesbian readers in the 50S and 605 had to work hard to catch glimpses of other
And save up to 20%
lesbians in bookS'. Clearly this is not
5 still the case With brilliant writers such ' as Jeanette Winterson and Kathy
Acker dealing directly With lesbian issues rather than making a succession of oblique references. In a SOCiety
i where Ellen and Big Brother’s Anna
have become as popular on TV as
Anthea Turner, is there such a need to
specialise historically in lesbian writing? iJustine Watt)
, COMIC MEMOIR i Jonathan Rendall
Twelve Grand (Yellow Jersey Press £7) * t ‘k
The idea behind this book is great. In a perhaps autobiographical tale, an
, alcoholic writer is given £12,000 by
Yellow Jersey Press on the condition that he gambles it all any way he likes, then writes a book ab0ut it. Sadly, Twelve Grand fails to live up to the idea, With Jonathan Rendall
' serVing up what amounts to a _’ passable piece of gonzo Journalism mixed With some fairly tedious
flashback to childhood Stuff.
As the author’s life, gambling and alcoholic abuse Spiral out of control, his prose style becomes an incred. irritat. bnch. of abbrev, mking it Virt. imposs. to read. All very clever in a postmodern way I’m sure, but if the intention of this is to portray some kind of breakdown, it fails, succeeding only in distanCing the reader from the narrator. Twelve
: Grand isn’t a bad book, it Just
could’ve been a Whole lot better.
CONSUMER HISTORY Rachel Bowlby
Carried Away: The Invention Of Modern
1 Shopping (Faber £12.99) it
We are all consumers This we know and recognise and, to some extent, we are aware of the marketing tricks producers (be it of soap or supermarkets) use to get us Shopping. Rachel Bowlby has taken it upon herself to discover the events which have seen uS arrive at this world of 24-hour supermarkets.
Covering pivotal events and shifts in consumer behaViOur, from the role of the salesman thrOugh to the popularity of self-serVice — taking in Window displays, packaging and computer failures at the checkout along the way —‘ this is an unashamedly comprehensive hISiOI'y She regularly quotes from historical novels to illustrate her pOints, which IITJE‘CIS a little coloor into the proceedings, but essentially it reads like a textbook.
If you’re dOing a degree course in consumerism, this book might be invaluable, With its detailed references to other texts and studies, but in arguing both sides of every argument, Bowlby leaves the reader little to get fired up abOut.
t t t t 1: Outstanding
* t t 1: Recommended * it it Worth a try
* * So-SO
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112 THE llST 16—30 Nov 2000