disappoint. And then. this remarkable novel transforms itself into a serious addiction. Chiah lives in the gap between East and West. Chased by Singaporean family expectations. she dumps a research post at Oxford and heads fOr Mammon corporation: the fathers of the master race. Can she make it as

a cultural adapter for the trans-national elite? Transform her dim sister into a posh undergrad? Or pass herself off as an Uber-woman in the hottest club in New York?

Hwee Hwee Tan jauntily manipulates references to the Spice Girls and dot.coms and dextrously interweaves Greek myth. Bible stories and Chinese tradition. Her words pepper your brain like a barrage of bullets. stunning their targets with perceptive precision and anyone familiar with Bourdieu and Foucault will chuckle knowingly at their brilliant application. But all who enter Mammon Inc. will see life wittily reflected in a fun-house mirror. (Heather Walmsley)



The Pig (Duckbacks $26.99) 000



Nothing is more likely to cause a vegetarian to revert than the smell of bacon in the morning. But avowed carnivores should avoid this history

of pig breeding if they don't want to eat pulses for the rest of their lives. It's not so much ‘four legs good. two legs bad' as ‘four inches good. two inches bad'. Of fat. that is. on the bloated and broken- backed animals. which were bred for size and

looks in the 19th

century. Modern pig breeding is clean and scientific, but

back then it made eugenics look positively liberal. Yet it seems that

contemporary breeders

have still not learned

from these mistakes. The aim. according to

Wiseman. should be to breed for diversity of

genes. not fashion.

I’ However. it is his

revelation of the

fashions in food and

looks with which this othen~ise dry book provides intriguing new perspectives to British society. both ancient and modern. (Thom Dibdin)

HISTORICAL DRAMA ANNE BARNETT The Largest Baby In Ireland After The Famine (Virago £6.99) .0.

Sarah-Ann O'Malloran. distinguished by her extraordinary birth- weight and taste for the colour purple. walks by one Sunday and enters the dream-world of Felix Campbell. In his mid- Ulster community. where men meet each week by the bridge to discuss their crops and the war. she rises above their scorn. He cannot forget her. and conspires to meet up once again.

They go on to form an

enduring relationship. * one complicated by

many factors; she is a Catholic war-widow. mother of fourteen children. a dweller of Cookstown and in the

a lonely Protestant farmer. unloved but for the secret pining of his washer-woman. Their struggles with each

other and their

communities are drawn out against the distant noises of World War I

and the struggle for Home Rule.

The drama in this novel

is muted but the spare. hypnotic narrative is

strangely engaging.

(Kath Murphy)


CHUCK PALAHNIUK Choke (Jonathan Cape £10) 0..

If Kurt Vonnegut has an heir apparent. it's Chuck Palahniuk (pronounced ‘Paula- Nick'). His vicious. black comedies Fight Club. Survivor and Invisible Monsters have established Palahniuk as the pre-eminent satirist of our messed- up times. The method to his madness lies in attending therapy groups. purely for research purposes. of course. And here. he is getting down his observations on sexaholics.

Thus Choke's protagonist. Victor Mancini. is a recovering

sex addict experiencing

temptation via his Alzheimer-suffering mother's doctor: 'fuck me and I'll extend your

mother's life'. Luckily for

an on-the-wagon

Victor. he doesn't want his mother to live. Still, he takes time off from his Colonial heritage centre day job to visit mom and play out her fellow patient's fantasies: bad son.

z good son. lover. etc. All very Oedipal.

Choke's not a bad way of losing your

. virginity to Chuck. If,

however, you've had his other three books. you may find number four a bit of a come down. Still. as sick fuck's go . . .

(Miles Fielder)


Phil Hogan Groow'ng Up Slow/y (Abacus £6. 99) Observer columnist's acute tale of midlife crisis. Kevin MacNeil Be Wise Be Otherwise

: (Canongate £4.99) thrall of a bigamist. He is

Arresting antithesis of Little Book Of Calm. Lorna Sage Bad Blood (Fourth Estate £6.99) Acclaimed memoir centring on

three generations of

women. Alvin Gibbs Neighbowhood Threat (Codex E7 2.95) On the road with Iggy Pop. Kevin Wignall People Die (Hodder 8 Stoughton £70) Minimalist hitman





Where to start? Chris Ware's quarterly periodical pays homage to, while cleverly lampooning. newspaper cartoon strips circa the 40s The construction of each edition, which have varied in size from tiny pocketbook to giant picturebook. is as complex in draughtsmanship and typographics as a Swiss watch reading a single page can occupy a full hour. And Ware's stories are deeply disturbing, though shot through with the blackest humour. No 14 concludes the ongoing story of Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid On Earth. which he ain't. He's a middle-aged mommie's boy who defines dysfunction. The

whole brilliantly sorry tale

has just been hardback bound and printed. (Miles Fielder)



Edited by Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)

Still unconvinced comics

aren't just for adolescent boys? This academic- style publication of comic news and criticism Ought to put pay to that. thOUgh it

might well alienate

comics sceptics in a

different way. Among the

topics addressed in this

ISSUE are. the deaf" 3‘ a creatu-oisw :2 :cr“ic imprint. the indust", 's self-perpetuation 3’ t c aOOIescent reade' stereotype. the end c‘


_ It»

the industry's self» regulating Comics Cont; Authority. comics anal the internet. Donald

Duck creator Carl Barks.

graphic novel DIOIIGCI' Will Eisner. mini—comics (the MPSS of the comic world). plus lengthy reviews of non- mainstream comics, High brow and interesting. though somewhat hermetic. (Miles Fielder)



Brian Michael Bendis (Image) 000

The last of Bendis' repackaging and reprinting of his early work is also the comic which first secured him the Critical attention that's been heaped upon him ever since. As with his better known books. Goldfish and Jinx. Bendis bases his


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Lewis Trondhiem (Fantagraphics) COO.

From the (Jim of Freiiigliinzin I‘m-xix Trondhiem. It SUI'I‘B") of strips; conteinj‘ilziting Ili(:, (loath Eillli our IUZVLIIUIIFS to them. Wliili: the first ISSLK,‘ If) flint)“: (I()lllf:(i/, number il‘.’(é is. I); contrast. vim, rlark Employing {I xiiiiiilr; Sixteen fiziiiit‘: page NIH) iiiininial text, licixlliie'n contcinjilzitu> the evoliitioil of iiiziii mail the uniztzisna TII‘; xiii.» lir: deals .‘Jliil such enormous; (iliil'ifmjiliicnl issues iii with (1!. apigareiitl, slight NH,‘ is absolutely fascinating. Touching. sad. funny and ir'iCredibl/ thought- ithi/oking, The lliriiro'l is an iii'irlerstateri work of genius. Trondl’iiein leaves you i.r;.r/ilrlerr_;rl, feeling like a very small part Of a very big universe. llviark Robertsoni

ACME Novelty Library’s Jimmy Corrigan

4% J. 27/. THE LIST 97