DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF The Bull (Sceptre £10.99i 0000
To understand what this book is about, you need to understand the title. A financial bull is a speculator who buys in anticipation of rising prices, making a profit on resale. Don’t worry though, this book is less financial guidebook, more Microserfs for the new millennium.
In a nice twist on the current culture of self-analysis, Douglas Rushkoff has produced a brilliant study of the stock market and the internet but presented it with cutting explanatory footnotes added 100 years later when the manuscript was discovered. Giving us a behind-the- scenes look at e-commerce in the 21st century, he expertly talks through the bull-market economy of dot.coms and online traders as they float ideas for cash and get out before they collapse, using highly readable language. The information
and examples given of some of the ideas, such as a company who launches their software for free and then invests in anyone who takes it, presents a very fragile picture of a bubble that could burst at any time. However, this book is more than just a study of our current obsession, but rather the effect it has on those involved. Jamie Cohen, through whose eyes you see this world, splendidly illustrates the lack of ethics in the dog- eat-dog world of high finance and e-commerce. His Rabbi father and general Jewish background lay on enough guilt to trouble the Pope and his conscience regularly butts in to add its weight to the resultant inner turmoil. The scary thing is, this is all happening at a stock exchange near
you. (Aly Burt)
Rushkoff palnts a fraglle picture
PAUL LAITY (ED) Left Book Club Anthology (Gollancz £20) 0...
Say what you like about lefties. but they knew a ripsnorting title when they saw one. ‘The Town That Was Murdered', ‘Why Capitalism Means War' and 'Where's That Bomb?‘ were some of the attention-snagging titles the Left Book Club posted its members. Formed in 1936 to galvanise the British left. the LBC had 57,000 members by 1939; it was an early flowering of radical chic and shaped a generation. yet many of the titles it published are dust magnets today. Paul Laity has harvested segments of these forgotten firestarters.
preceded by an essay which evokes a lost era of earnest young men planning to change the world over warm beer and cress sandwiches. Contributors include Arthur Koestler. Stephen Spender and George Orwell, who recommended the middle classes of the world unite with the proles because ‘We have nothing to lose but our aitches'. (Colin Waters)
DOMESTIC DRAMA MARK BARROWCLIFFE Infidelity For First-Time
Fathers (Headline £9.99) 00.
The Modern Male: shallow. blundering, groin-centred. emotionally confused. and here, presented anew by Mark Barrowcliffe. Infidelity For First-Time Fathers is a domestic drama. narrated by a man in his mid 305. and balanced With eoual doses of humour and heartache. Stewart Dagman is in a fix: his fiancee's pregnant. but so is his girlfriend. Where do his true loyalties lie? Can he trust his best mate?
What is it about the lollipop Iady’? Barrowcliffe's style is frank, lively and occasionally hilarious and his observations of contemporary relationships and sexuality are spot on. We find it's only the women who seem sure of their identities, while the men drift helplessly between the roles offered them by society. This is all depressingly familiar, however. Dag's rather feeble laddishness and puerile banter are more pathetic than endearing. and the narrative plods in places. If you don't mind trawling through a catalogue of stock male impulses. /nfide/i'ty is engaging enough. (Alastair Mucklow)
POETRY TRACEY HERD Dead Redhead (Bloodaxe £7.95) OOOO
This is a slender but very fine collection of poetry from this very fine yOung poet who plays fast and loose With form and rhythm to winning effect. Refreshingly for a Scottish-based poet. Tracey Herd is less
ioteresteo by the dynamics cf the Vernacuiar and mOre intrigued in her Subject rhatter which ranges frOrh Joan Craivard and Hoily Golightly to Ophelia and Nancy Drew. all dead yet somehow still alive in Herd's b0uncy. Witty verse.
Though consistently good. this lovingly realised Book Of The Dead contains a few real corkers. ‘The First Blonde' virtually leaps off the page and suffocates y0u with the ghost of Jean Harlow while “The River Runs' reeks of Seamus Heaney. ‘Oueen Victoria's Painting' almost succeeds in imbuing itself with the funereal rhythm of Chopin's saddest works and “God's Drawing' gives Herd 's obvious equine obsession a gentle. clever tweak. Very fine. indeed.
FAMILY DRAMA STEPHEN KNIGHT
Mr Schnitzel (Penguin £6.99) .00.
To most people, the footnote is a brief and annoying interruption to a story. Rather like a big fat puddle in the middle of your path, it is something to glance at. sigh, and pick your way across. However, in Mr Schnitzel. to do this w0uld be to miss out over half the book and to ignore its substantial core.
Set in dual worlds of fantasy and autobiography. recounted bedtime stories provide the basis for revealing a family's histOry. Not only are the tales' wonder conveyed. but also the depth of love felt between father and son is embedded in their telling. However, beneath their dreamlike
security. lie the more betvildering and painful footnotes of their llVeS
Two strands of narrative are expertly intertwmed. and if yOu don‘t mind flicking back and fonn, Stephen Knight's first novel Sh0uld prove itself a real treaswe. Never again Will you dismiss a footnote; puddles. after all, can be giant lakes if you're only an ant. (Ruth Hedges)
COMEDY STEWART LEE The Perfect Fool (Fourth Estate £10) OOO
Following in the footsteps of such comedic luminaries as Stephen Fry and Ben Elton, Stewart Lee has gone and written a novel. And. like his successful contemporaries. the main character is not solely based on himself. Whilst there are two characters. Sid and Danny, who at times bear an uncanny resemblance to Lee and
‘. his partner Richard
Herring, the tale really revolves round several dysfunctional misfits and their journey to the same place. a disused US Army base in Arizona. All these people appear completely unrelated but this soon changes.
UnfOrtunately. like the characters in The Perfect Fool, for the first few chapters you are left to wander aimlessly. Gradually though, the stOry takes shape and
you begin to follow each
individual's progress. As the plot jumps randomly from person to person you get the impression of a giant lasso slowly being drawn in, gathering its catch in an ever-smaller area and by the end. this is an impressive debut.
RELATIONSHIP DRAMA TONY PARSONS One For My Baby
(F 'arperCollins £15.99) OOO '
Well, the tabloid
columnists have been
out in force this 'summer', and hot on the heels of Littleiohn
and Bushell comes Late
Review stalwart. Tony
Parsons. None of the
three seem particularly
19 Jul—2 Aug
rebuised oi, homosexua s \m: BUY} immigrants och. , 3.." Tone s i“ore CO"C€""€C o; the drunken. unreconstr..cteo E" .oieurgl‘i
Tony's pro: go'i st Azfie. in between avcoing hs touts" cotintrymen are. ignoring the ‘act that his dad's a successful author with a beautif... yOung girlfriend. teaches English to foreign students at a LCDOO" college. He's Sl‘aggen his way rotino most of the student DOCty. DUI still mourns his dead wife.
tony pamm one for my hob}
Parsons" novel centres on his need to move 0n and find a meaningful relationship. But it is a Curiously empty centre; we never get to know his dead Wife. so can hardly miss her. and the result IS that this otherWise entertaining novel ends up feeling rather flat.
Elizabeth George A Traitor To MemOry (Hodder & St0ughton £14.99) A classic detective stony With paSSion and balls. Wole Soyinka lbadan (Methuen £7.99) Further memories from Nigerian Nobel Winner.
Andrew Hussey The Game Of War (Jonathan Cape £18.99) The Crazy life and death of Situationist International leader Guy Debord. Maggie Gibson Blah. Blah Black Sheep (Orion £9.99) An escapist. slapstick tale ab0ut intrepid reponer Drew Looney.
Yuri Buida The Zero Train (Dedalus £6.99) Erotic. brutal. Dostoevskyian drama.
9C1 THE LIST 103