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JOHN GILMORE Laid Bare iAmok Books 3‘) 1.9"» 0...
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if '.'.rhat t'ines your radio is bizarre true crime.
I irllly .ycod sleaze and Ellis cos; West Coast cool ia//. then Laid Bare is for yf)“, The (lo/en tracks hi) this spoken word ‘.'.‘Illl music CD -- culled from three of John Ciliiiore's crime’ expose books lay on you a series of seedy snapshots Irorn the ironicallynamed City of Angels.
Read by Gilmore himself. and accom- panied by Skip Heller's evocative soundtrack. you'll find such unusual suspects as actors Lli/abcth Short — aka murder Victim the Black Dahlia ~ and Tom Neal — best known for the film noir‘ [)etour'. better known for putting se\eral bulle s in his wife. Plus. there is the Z- grade cross—dressing filmmaker Ed Wood. Jack Nicholson. Charles Manson and Janis Joplin. Cult and cool. IMiles HOidOfl
(it )MIC SAT IRE RUPERT MORGAN
Let There Be Lite (Bantam 556.99) .0.
In Rupert Morgan's satisfying first novel. the presidential election of his fictional United States of Atlantis introduces us to the inhabitants of Entropolis. Incoi‘r.)orating an election soap opera. a genius software sguillion-aire. a have-ago-hero in a hostage situation and tabloid Journalism. among other narrative deVices. Morgan takes unabating satirical swipes in an episodic interweaving of varied characterisation that takes in the Information Age. politics and love. Easily accessible anaIySis of morality iS tinged With religion and spirituality. yet the author's sterytelling is conSistently witty. smart
94 THE LIST 1—15 Mar 2001
SE‘r/ENTIES SATIRE JONATHAN COE
The Rotters' Club (Viking £14.99) 0000
Promising to do for the 705 what his satirical novel What A Carve Up! did for the 805, Jonathan Coe’s The Rotters’ Club revolves around that fateful moment in British politics: the collapse of ‘Old Labour’.
Thankfully, there’s no need to get your coats, no need at all to run screaming from the infinite tedium of union meetings, ‘centralised bargaining arrangements’ and seemingly endless strike action. Coe instead negotiates his political subtext with a sophisticated grasp of storytelling and offsets the dramas at the local Birmingham car manufacturing factory with the trials and tribulations of his leading protagonist, schoolboy Ben
Young Ben’s got a lot on his plate, bless him. Not least that his sister falls victim to an IRA bombing, his younger brother is an irritating child genius and his best friend has lost his virginity while Ben is still chasing the school’s unattainable goddess. To make matters worse, Ben’s a die-hard prog rock
enthusiast at the birth of punk. Oh dear.
Written with a tender heart and an enormous capacity for humour, The Rotters’ Club reads - in screen terms - like a
cross between The Wonder Years and Gregory’s Girl. By concentrating on ‘curtailed narratives’ - stories that stop short before we can learn all the facts - Coe teases us with a number of moments in people’s lives and instead of leaving us with the frustration of an open-ended story (a sequel that takes up the story in the 19905 is set to follow), he makes us relish the isolated moments in political and personal history. (Catherine Bromley)
and clever. It's all tied up in a neat denouement that's somewhat affecting and testament to Morgan's comic capabilities.
CHILDHOOD HORROR TOBY LITT Deadkidsongs (Hamish Hamilton £39.99) 000.
Rural middle England in the mid-708 and a quartet of war- obsessed teen-agers. Andrew. Matthew. Peter and Paul. are zealously preparing for the ‘Russki' invasion. From its Opening. Deadkidsongs seems a dreamy ‘best summer of my life-type boyhood memoir and the innocent adventures of a gang of blonde. Anglo-Saxon, khaki- clad bootboys. However. the stOry takes on a disarming twist when one member dies - apparently due to parental stupidity — and the 'Gang‘ mantra of
‘live to kill. kill to live' manifests itself in a prolonged and ghastly revenge. Original and brutally compelling. Toby Litt perfectly captures the sense of teenage selfhatred that can lead to bloody violence.
BIOGRAPHY ANTHONY HAYWARD
In The Name Of Justice (Bloomsbury £16.99) 000
John Pilger's name must make the blood of tin-pot tyrants. corporate Charlatans and media monsters run very cold indeed. For over 30 years. he has been exposing their devious and/or murderous ways in some of the most Jaw- dropping and moving investigative journalism ever to hit Our small screens.
In this tracing of the Australian's telly career. Anthony Hayward (previOLisly the biographer of such disparate talents as Julie Christie and Michael Crawford) tells the tale of one man's mission to highlight the plight of Cambodians. Aborigines and Pepsi drinkers. But it is told in such a dry way that more insight would have been gained from the
man's diaries. For the real deal. try and see Pilger's stuff on screen or in print.
AUTOBIOGRAPHY CHRISTINE KEELER
The Truth At Last: My Story (Sidiick 8. Jackson $316.99) 000
In these days of sleeve and scandal. With nuclear war a distant threat — despite Dubya's best efforts — the Profumo Affair seems a little quaint. Yet the storm that met the revelation that Christine Keeler had slept With both the Seeretary of State for War and Russian agent Eugene Ivanov could not be contained by the teacup of high society. Keeler's version
lthrough JOLIFRO DOugIas Thompson) has her as a used and abused innocent caught in a web spun by artist. osteopath and spy Stephen Ward. It
Coe analyses Old Labour’s fall
makes for a readable. honest memoir that hrims With the pungent odours of corruption and priVilege. (James Smart)
SIBLING DRAMA ANNE ENRIGHT What Are You Like? iVintage €6.99) 00.
In this highly lyrical and often edgy. impenetrable novel. Anne Enright tells the story of two twrns' formative years. haying been separated at birth when their mother dies. The tale leaps about both in time and place. from Duinn to London to New York. as the girls — Maria and Rose — grow up ODIIVIOUS to each other's e><istence. but With subconscious feelings of dislocation. loss and pain. This feeling is high- lighted by Enright's use of staccato. almost poetic structures; and while this occasionally descends into the irritatineg esoteric. it mostly serves to drive home the confLiSion of the girls' lives. lDoug Johnstone)
SHORT STORIES ALICE WALKER
The Way Forward ls With A Broken Heart lWomen's Press €14.99) 0...
Despite the gloomy title. Alice Walker welcomes us between the pages With arms as warm and com- forting as ever. The pain of the eponymous heart
Book events are now in City Life; Glasgow 86-87, Edinburgh 88-89
.s there ii) men line. but sainenev. Hes buried beneath an tintlagging faith that life o‘fers ena‘iess opportunities for reirt\.el‘.tit‘,').
Starting wth a senil- aatehimiiaphical letter to her ex—hushand, Walker coasts wstfullt down ir‘iemon, lane. questioning their marriage and its ultimate failure. The scene is set for an exploraton, trawl through human relationships; loxers Ihoth straight and gay I. sisters. parents and friends are each representtxl in a series of short stories.
The), may be un- connected on the surface. but the tales are all gently scented by Walker's own life. Racial tension in the deep south. political actiVism. inter-racial marriages. divorce. lesbianism. professional creatrvrty; they all play a part. And although few of the fictional tales capture the emotional strength of that opening letter. Walker's ever-wrse story—telling still touches deeper than most. lKelly Apter)
Jon A. Jackson Dead Folks (Canongate £39.99) Cat and mouse thrills from hip nOir writer. Simon Bond Complete Uses of A Dead Cat (Methuen 99/ Celebrating twenty years of tasteless fun.
Andrea Dworkin Scapegoat (Virago fit/1.99) Controversial analysis of Israel's attitude to women. Andrew Motion Wa/newright The Personer (Faber f.“ 7. 99) Poet Laureates semi- fictional pertrait of a killer. Carol Shields Jane Austen (Werdenfe/d 8 Nico/son £7 2.99) Canadian writer's take on literary heavyweight. I