BOOKS REVIEW continued

COMING-OF-AGE TALE John Grisham A Painted House (Century £16.99) 7 ..


A Painted House is the latest attempt by multi-uhit Shifting (if not universally acclaimed) author John Grisham to write a ’serious' novel. So, out goes maverick- southern-IegaI-eagle-versus-the-state- aiid/or-big-business and in comes the worthy dreariness of life on an Arkansas cotton farm in the early 1950s

Sadly, while the legal maestro has ditched the soapy plot IWists and dramatic urgency of his earlier works, he's foolishly retained their simplistic inoralising, cartoon characterisation and dull prose. Narrated by Luke Chandler, a seven-year-old With unnatural inSight into the adult world's workings, the semi-autobiographical tome contains the occasional intrigumg inCident, but is undermined by a lack of storyline and a pace that w0uld make dripping molasses enVious.

Also, despite the back-breaking farm work, Violent killings and beatings, there’s a whiff of pious, humourless nostalgia about the whole thing that sticks in the throat. So, while this Wlll earn the author another ton of cash, in terms of credibility, it seems that Grisham Just can’t Win. (Allan Radcliffe)


Maureen Duffy

England: The Making Of The Myth (4th Estate £13.99)

M A Ll R E li:\7 DUFFY

In this book, poet, playwright and novelist Maureen Duffy attempts to chart the development of English identity throughout history. A tall order

114 THE lIST 15 Feb—1 Mar 2001

in 253 pages, you might think, and yOu'd be right.

Tracmg the English of today back to their prehistoric roots, as a VlgOTO'clS account that clearly draws on a large body of research, but the detail is patchy in places, and there are some glaring inaccuracres In Duffy’s account, for example, 300 men rode into the valley of death for the Light Bngade's big charge.

The links Duffy identifies between today’s English and their forebears are often trite and unconvmcing, for example, she offers a spurious association between bOOZy 12th century Angles and contemporary lager lads.

The crux of her sooalist, pro-European argument is a sound one 'we’re all immigrants, apart from a few Welsh and Scots’ but it’s buried among a host of more questionable material.

(Andrew Burnetl


Mouthing The Words (William Heinemann £12.99)

mouthing the wordf

Lock the doors, take the phone off the hook and allow yourself a couple of hours undisturbed to read Camilla

Gibb's debut novel cover to cover. Although Mouthing The Words is a work of fiction, as written With such insight and clarity that it could easily be an autobiography you can immerse yourself completely in the life of its herOine, Thelma. Severely disturbed as a result of childhood sexual and emotional abuse, the story charts her battle to regain some semblance of sanity.

The narrative skips backwards and fOrwards, replaying the inCidents which have shaped her mental landscape, adding up to a full picture of her life from early childhood. Although this deVice may be a little confusing, it perfectly reflects Thelma’s state of mind as she attempts to create order from her life's chaos.

This ultimate triumph over adversity makes for an inspiring and incredibly mOVing story which deserves y0ur full attention. (Kirsty Knaggs)

STAR RATINGS v Unmissable -- 1 Very good Worth a shot Below average w You've been warned



East lothian

Lyrical Lasses :\lltll'e\\ Punt-s Memorial l.ihrary. ()rmiston. 01875 (story‘s, 7.30pm. £2 (includes \y me). Poets Janet Paisley and Kathleen Jamie read from their \york with music from all female a cappella group Stairheid (iossip in a celehration of poetry and music.



The Sunday Muse with Alan Spence Tron 'l'heatre. (i3 'l‘rongate. 552 4207.

5 7pm. [3. One til. Sc‘tlllttntl\ lllUSl accomplished literary talents reads from and discusses his \york at this inlormal Sunday afternoon session.


Sauchiehall Street Reading Group Waterstone's. l53 l57 Sauehiehall Street. 332 ‘)l05. Spin. liree. The group will discuss Michael I‘ray n's Haul/one.

THURSDAY 22 Stirling GI’OWWI! ('oyyane (‘entre. ('oyyane Street. 01786-14.“ l3. Spin. £3 (£2). l.ocal \yriters Magi (iihson and Alan Bisset haye set up this special eyening of performance literature and poetry. 'l‘onight Alan Spence and Siaii l’reece take to the stage.


Seasons Of The Heart The Hub. (‘astlehilL Royal Mile. 473 2000. 7pm. £7.50 (£6). Alan Spence reads from his collection of haiku. Written to pinpoint transient moments in the seasons of the year. the reading will he accompanied by liye performance on the Japanese l'lute played by Lindsay (’ooper.


Glasgow National Bedtime Reading Week Waterstone’s. I53 157 Sauchiehall Street. 332 9105. A week-long national campaign to highlight the importance of reading to children at home. Waterstone's/GFT Film Quiz (iltisgtm liilm 'l'heatre. l2 Rose Street. 332 S l 28. 8.45pm. 9; I. Now something of an institution. regulars knoyy the score: qui/ masters Stel'(iardiner. l’addy Kelly and Neil McI-‘arlane think up the trickiest posers they can muster and punters in teams of no more than four make them look like mince. Book early to mold disappointment. T” '3”

Alan Spence muses over his readings at Tron, Glasgow, Sun 18 Feb, Cowane Centre, Stirling, Thu 22 Feb and The Hub, Edinburgh, Fri 23 Feb


Shore Poets I'lie t‘aiions' (idll. 233 (’anongate. 55h ~l-1Sl Spin. L'l il‘reei. Izdinhui'gh's platform for ll\ e poetry and music this month has readings from Richard I’rice. ('hristine De I tica and lrlan Merchant and music from .-\rthtir 'l'iinperley on the loyy land pipes.



In Search Of Scotland \\atei'sioiie‘s. |53 l5" Sauchiehall Street. 332 ‘ll05. 7pm. l'ree. I.ocal historians ladyyard (‘oyyan and Richard l‘lllld} \\ ill talk ahotit the companion hook to the ltltt' TV series on Scotland‘s past.

James Graham Borders Books. 2S3 Buchanan Street. 222 7700. "pm. l-i'ee. .Ianies (irahaiii reads li‘om his neys collection III“ II ('i'rrtmi l-rrrrly lli'l'i' Ii’i/it' \HIll music trom .Itilian ham and l‘llltlltl) .\'apier.


Christopher Wallace \y'aiei-sioiie's.

I.3 I4 Princes Street. 550 3034. ti,3(lpni. l'i'ee. (’hristopher \Vallace reads from his third lioyel Illt' l’lltl/t' (Hamingo [IIW‘IL tyso parallel stories ahout lite on the hiin

Richard Holmes .Iaiiies llllll. 53 St) South Bridge. 02 S222. 7pm. l'l'c‘t'. Ric'llttl'tl llttlllleS. presenter til the l1l1(‘.\ liar Ila/Ax. \\ ill he talking ahout his recently ptthlished ()t/rirt/ ( ‘unr/iimrun Iii .lIr/rlury erluri' t( )l 'l’ £301.


World Book Day: Waterstone's, Glasgow \y'aiei-sitiiie‘s. I53 I57 Satichiehall Street. 332 ‘)l05. 7pm. l‘ree. Mike \Vatson MSI’ launches his recently ptihlished hook I'm/r Kern. the first insider's account of the eyents that take place hehind the \yalls ol' the neyy Scottish Parliament.


World Book Day Asst-inlin Roiiiiis. 5-1 (iL‘HI‘ge Street. 22043-19. llltllll. l‘ree. 'l‘lii‘ee local authors. .lulia Donaldson. .'\lltll'L‘\\ \Vollle and I’m In ine read from their hooks for all ages in a day of celehrations to mark World Book Day for children.

World Book Day: Waterstone's Edinburgh \Vaiersioiie's. (it-urge Street. 225 3-130. 7pm. l‘ree. BIK' foreign correspondent (iay in Bell launches .SHHIt'ii/rt'n' ()t't'l‘ (ll/It‘ It'tllII/mti' (Little. Bron n E7091. an account of his tr'ayels around South .-\Irica to mark World Book Day.