BOOKS REVIEW continued
Manjula Padmanabhan Getting There (Picador £9.99)
Novels that deal with a journey of self- discovery are invariably cliched affairs with trite explorations of insecurities and imagined obstacles to happiness.
In contrast, Manjula Padmanabhan's debut novel, a semi-autobiographical account of her spiritual and physical journey towards contentment, has enough wit and honesty to both engage and challenge the reader.
Set in the late I970s, the story locates the narrator in her mid-
twenties and desperately trying to escape her chaotic and oppressive life in Bombay for an intellectual eXistence in Europe. PriViIeged and pampered to the extent of being an overweight woman in a third world c0untry (an anomaly dissected With much humour), we follow our unliker heroine as she attempts diets, sexual liaisons and various experimental acts.
By treating her younger more idealistic self as a rather ridiculous but nonetheless endearing character, Padmanabhan transcends formulaic fiction to instead produce an honest and frequently funny book. (Catherine Bromley)
DRUG NOVELLA Péter Nédas Love: A Novel (Jonathan Cape £10)
Peter Nadas has done a remarkable thing. He has recreated the paranora induced by smoking too much strong grass, perfectly on the page. The problem is that all the inane introspection, banal self-examination and interminany IOOping time-warps are so well described that the result is, itself, inane, banal and interminable.
There is but a single page which is worth reading; on page 113 (should you chance upon a copy) he describes the way in which music becomes solid and can be ’seen’ by someone who is stoned. Otherwise, this story of a man who visits his lover with the intention of dumping her but gets too ripped on a strong spliff to do anything about it, is merely tedious. And certainly not
worth the main metaphor of the infinitesmial loops in a stoner's mind for the dull repetitions of life and love Don't buy this book, get some skunk instead. iThom Dibdini
CHILDHOOD FICTION Kris Kenway
Too Small For Basketball (Sceptre £10.99)
TOO SMALL FOR BASKEJBALL
In his second novel, Kris Kenway has produced a wonderfully evocative tale of modern famin life. It charts the tumultuous childhood, adolescence and early adult years of Marlow, a typical, everyday kid trying to get through life Without too much emotional damage.
The story is split into heights rather
than years — from \\ hen Marlon was 4ft Gin up to 6ft Sin - and focuses On his relationship tuith his flan‘boxant, yOunger sister Cress as they both experience the regular iand not so regulari neurOses and traumas or growing up Throughout, Kenway s style is preCise and punchy, tightly arranged and wonderfully exact, with his portrayal of Marion s bullying at school (both receiving and dishing out being unerringly accurate and disturbing
From start to finish, Too Srr:a’/ for Basketba/l is a captivating react, at times wryly an‘iusing, at others desperately heartbreaking A bit like life then, really iDouct JohnstoneI
RELATIONSHIP DRAMA Adele Parks Game Over (Penguin £5.99)
As scathineg sarcastic as Dorothy Parker, as fashionable as Stella McCartney's Autumn collection and yet as reliable as a Mills 8‘ Boon, Adele Parks has created a chocolate box romance One that is flavoured With barbed Wire and exploding \yith l'eaii— de-razoue
TV producer (as is bursting through the upper echelons of Channel Six, as her ratings-boosting show, Sex With An Ex catches the nation's sordid imagination Her love life is a string of one-night stands and discarded men In fact, she has everything a modern, thirtysomething London girl could ever need. Until she meets hunky but princrpled Darren.
Parks steers that delicate track
2 years (52 Issues) at £80 Save 20% 1 year (26 Issues) at £45 Save 10% 6 months (13 Issues) at £24 Save 5%
Mr/Mrs/Ivls Forename Surname Ad dress.
I enclose a cheque/postal order for £ .......... ..
Made payable to The List Ltd Or please debit my
Visa DMastercard ':|
106 THE “81' 1—15 Feb 2001