sees there and his route back into the darkness of his home.

This is how yOu are drawn into the world of Farchar MacNab. And it's a tormented world where madness is always on the edge of your consoousness. told in a manner which demands intense concentration. But as the story of MacNab's traipses around Glasgow and the hike back to his Highland roots unfolds, the dark incident which sent him spiralling out of control begins to loom in the narrative. just as MacDonald's writing loosens and gains pace.

lf MacNab's reminiscences of early adulthood in the stench of Thatcherism are just a little too shaggy dog. and the true awfulness of the denouement could be better finessed. this is a powerfully evo- cative and compellineg constructed tale.

(Thom Dibdin)


Mark Morris: A Celebration (Robert Hale C35) 0...

Any book attempting to recreate the magic of the live arena has its work cut out. The whole point of theatre and dance is that it's there in front of you. performing a visual and aural assault on the senses. So to come even halfway close to capturing the splendour of Mark Morris' magnum

opus /'allegro, i/ penseroso ed // moderate is no mean feat.

First performed in Belgium thirteen years ago. the two-hour dance epic draws on Milton‘s poem, Handel's score and William Blake's paintings of the same name. Comprising 32 short sections. the sheer scale and cost of the production means live performances are rare. And since no video recording has ever been made. this glossy collection of photographs. essays. poetry extracts. paintings and critiques is the closest many dance fans will get to enjoying Morris' joyous Baroque masterpiece. Although at £35 a shot. a trip to the library may be in order. (Kelly Apter)

SOCIAL STUDY DENNIS SEWELL Catholics (Viking E20) 0...

‘Scottish society remains in denial on the issue of anti-Catholic prejudice.‘ writes broadcaster-cum-author Dennis Sewell. 'It would rather the charge not be brought at all; and when events force a consideration of the evidence. Scotland always returns the third verdict.‘ The verdict: not proven.

Sewell‘s study. subtitled 'Britain's Largest Minority'. examines the cultural, social and intellectual influence of Catholicism through the last century and more. It hops from aesthetics and politics to the dangerously poisonous. taking in 19th century architecture, the Bloomsbury set and the words to ‘The Billy Boys' on the way. Not to mention the tragic tale of what became of Cromwell's head.

And depressing though it is to underline the chapter on sectarianism north of the border. it‘s an issue that we’ve ducked for far too long. We're living in a New Scotland with a New Parliament and a New Identity. Or so we're told. Isn‘t it about time we addressed an old problem?

(Rodger Evans)


GEORG KLEIN Libidissi (Picador £18 000.

Georg Klein has been highly acclaimed in his native Germany. and this rather unsettling novel should give him a WlClCT international audience. His protagonist Spaik is a German diplomat in an unnamed Eastern city whose methods. like those of Conrad's Kurtz. have become Suspect.

The two cold. self- satisfied men sent to end his influence, however. have none of Marlow's virtues. Their game of hide-and-seek takes place across a country that alternately simmers With decadence and boils with discontent.

Klein's sparse. bland prose recalls Kafka. and does not dabble much in specifics. or paint a coherent background to contextualize the enigmatic tale it presents. This vagueness makes his novel all the more chilling. as well as hinting that a globalised world. with its uniformly shiny malls and shabby shanties. has no need for a specific context. because there is no longer any real difference.

This depressmg message is offset by occasional sparks of humanity. but LibidiSSi remains a compelling portrait of a cold world. (James Smart)


Kate Grenville The Idea Of Perfection (Picador 536.99) Aussie author's Orange-shortlisted tale of a traditional community fighting tourism.

Clive James Even As We Speak (Picador C10) Aussie critic's new collection of illuminating and witty essays. Isabella Tree Sliced Iguana (Hamish Hamilton 5:17.99) Travels around the nooks and crannies of a hidden Mexico. Nick Duerden Spin Cycle (Flame 9:10.99) Oddball take on contemporary life from O writer.

The Situationists Beneath The Paving Stones (AK Press 529) Guy Debord and his mates anthologise their spectaCUlar thoughts.



HAMMER OF THE GODS no.2 Michael Avon Oeming and Mark Obie Wheatley :lSG: 000

Best known as the Powers comic series artist. Oeming tries his hand at scripting and pencilling With this lively take on Norse gods mythology. The five— issue series charts the guest of a yOung hero named Modi. out to avenge the death of his beloved parents who were crushed by marauding giants. However. it's the gods whom Modi holds responsible. Odin, Thor et al havrng turned their backs on humankind. So Modi heads for Valhalla armed With super strength and a stubborn resolve. Oeming adds plenty of humour Via some anachronistic dialogue. but the rOugh-hewn black and white artwork is what impresses. (Miles Fielder)

COMEDY MYSTERY HARUM SCARUM Lewis Trondheim (Fantagrapl‘iics) CO.

A dog. cat and rabbit jaunt around yesteryear Europe embroiled in a time travel/monster murder plot and still find time for a nice bottle of red and a chat. Harurn Scari/m is dry but Silly stuff. Frenchman Tronheim fills this animal world With Sinister.

C(‘l'lSDi'lf‘t; tjt'f‘ml‘ :l‘

trencnixtats and l)t:llltlf;t?(l l>ut trienlll. crocodiles :n hats Cutesy dranawngs contrast wth ir‘uteil colouring g.\ii‘.g ths collection a peculiar dark. but still (:hiidisl: edge. Mo'e Grin‘n‘. than grim. the story is frustratingly slight. trading in orie»lirier‘t; rather that: cliff hanger twasts, but it has enough of a Woody Allen caper movie feel to keep the attention.

(Mark Rober'tsoiii

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TOP 10

Alan Moore, Gene Ha and Zander Cannon (America's Best Coii‘ics. O...


This new collection by the pagan genius writer of V For Vendetta. The l’t/i’itc/imen and From Hell is another piece of brilliant historical reViSIOnism couched in the deliciously absurd world of mutant superheroes. Just after World War ll the ritassive multi-layered Neopolis is built in order to house the grotving number of


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Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Allred Mama, .0.

Marvel continues to overhaul some of its

most popular titles. this time tip it's fiendis, whose wort nave-"re praised on these pages many times liefore. penning l".,4arvei’ lea/ii Up and this issue lf; the first of a Spider

Man Iron Man two parter. Allrei is art is superh as always and seeing his take on such well known characters lends it a slightly siirreal cartoon quality. the story. while intelligently written. is siriiplistio speridnig pretty much the entire issue just bringing the two superheroes together. Quit the next issue promises far more excitement as the villains attack on the final few pages leading to the :nevfiahle cliff hanger ending.

lHenry Northinorei


' .a'v’; THE LIST 101