FICTIONAL MEMOIR BRADY UDALL Miracle Life Of Edgar Mint (Cape 5310) O...
Hailed as the new John Irving. the new hove from the author of Letting Loose The Hounds does not disappoint. Reading almost like a personal jOurnal, this highly inventive book charts the life of miracle boy Edgar Mint. Run over by a mailman when seven years old and left for dead by his alcoholic mother and everyone else who had ever cared about him. it charts the twist and turns of his progress from hospital through his life to his job working on the local newspaper.
The beauty of the story lies in Brady Udall's ability to show the full gamut of Edgar's emotions. conjuring up perfectly the innocence and gradual understanding of how it is growing up as the strange kid and portraying brilliantly the cruelty of youth. If you want to know what it felt like being the kid in the corner at school, this book is for you. lAly Burt)
Fury (Cape $316.99) .0
Salman Rushdie's take on the male mid-life crisis with its frustrations and irrational behavrours is presented as the ultimate Outsiders eye- view of New York. What a prospect from the writer who brought Delhi and London to life With such a flourish in previous works. And. surely there can be no better city in which to set a book about rage and all its causes than the Big Apple.
disappointing to find the first section of fury amounting to little more than a directionless rant. a iunk of references. digressions and sub- digiessiohs in which Hiishdies central character. a grumpy dollmakei'. lulminates on everything from the presidential election race to the l.ewrnsky scandal. New York has been described more sharply by Martin Arms and more poeticth by Angela Carter and by the [Hire the plot kicks in ll."i ‘.'illit,ll I! It; l)lt)lt,ttjoi if:>l
iedei r rptive affair with a beautiful Indian woman) our capacity to care has reached its limit.
MllSltlAl (:itiiKLIvat LESTER BANGS Psychotic Reactions (Serpents "lail $38.99) .0...
"l'he greatest rock 'n' roll .viiter the world has ever known' (Cree/hi. Damn right. Bangs died in 1982 at the hour of his own crucifixron aged :33 He wrote out of a fan's love and passron for the music and attitudes of the hands he really digged. A spted- iiuectihg cough mixture- gti//ling hermit. his essays on the Rock Gods of his day Iggy Pop. 'lhe Clash. John Lennon and particularly Lou Heed » were always so ii.u<,n better thaii anything else anyone Was writing or has f)lll(,t;. this anthology is an iiiipiint of an American edition that was first pubiislied in 19339 re teletistxl lien: Hi the llgftl of his car i too t(,t;tlflt;;)y of Philip beyiiroui l-t'otfiiran; in the lllll‘i Ai'riios! /-ariioiis and a recent biography. l-i'oin Greil Marcus' unusually humble preface to some untitled notes. this is pure dynamite. l-uck M W; Bangs iuies UK! HJ(Ill|[)(1|(;)
100 THE LIST 70 Sep .2 (ill 1'.
i iii iiAHv DRAMA IAN MCEWAN
Atonement (cape 5 10.99) 0...
ln Ian McEwan’s latest, his protagonist, an elderly female author, asks: ‘How can a novelist achieve atonement when, with her absolute power of deciding outcomes, she is also God?’ The answer is, inevitably, she can’t. In the fictional world there is no higher power, there can be no atonement
for gods or novelists.
This attempt to make up for past sins, both literally and through the power of the writer’s imagination, is the novel’s central theme. In exploring this, McEwan returns us to the scalding summer of 1935 and a well-to-do family gathering. Typically, the author painstakingly sets the scene, sniffing out the scabs on the surface of this seemingly idyllic rural pile, then mercilessly picking at them, exposing the raw nerves beneath. Each of the characters is rendered with brilliant dexterity; Mother Emily bears a cargo of grudges and neuroses; elder daughter Cecilia longs for fulfilment and finds passion with family friend Robbie; while youngest
child Briony struggles to differentiate between reality and 3‘:
Within this simmering hothouse, McEwan sustains a sense of impending catastrophe, which duly arrives in the form of a moonlight rape, followed by a hasty lie and a disastrous miscarriage of justice. The second half of the novel finds the central characters in the thick of war, still struggling to come to terms with past events. Themes of class, human frailty, forgiveness and the role of the writer are explored, occasionally a little heavy-handedly. McEwan brings this novel to life with his deftly evocative prose and as a love story and human tragedy, Atonement is profoundly moving and compelling. (Allan Radcliffe)
Alvli illlJAN DRAMA MELANIE RAE THON
Sweet Hearts (MCIlltlel‘. $13.99) .00.
Willi imagery and atmosphere reminiscent of Harper Lee. Siveet Hearts explores an America we have a feei for. but actually know very little about. l‘lllll and Cecrie are a inothei'less brother and sister. thrust apart by Flint's eight years in child detention. and reunited after his escape. l-uelled by the emptiness of their l.)£.l(3l\'gll’()llll(l. and by the Violence perpetually inflicted on. and by. their roofless ancestors. they become murderers. unable to escape from their own deprived experiences.
Melanie Rae lnoh's complex narrative IWists ornately around the plot. transcending the average story of 'white trash'. Wixiist it cat‘. detract from llit’: (Mullet I(;! (I (ll itl .ii.pulse of the novel. ai rd sometimes fogs its progress, it amends for
this with coinp. .io'i and depth. fou .lll the ugliest of place and (Ax/plea :utiel‘i (t!) Flllilvt) lea: la: his sister. a lonely a: .(l futile desperatior.. the written word is rarer, as iiea..‘.:.‘l.' and l)()(:ll(,. Melanie Hrtt,’ lhon's llill'\,(llt: Narrative l)l()l)t::) (1'. inset illtill) l(,"/tll:) v1; talfliitﬂtl til at ier itlt:l;) it coii.(,eiliiig
URBAN [)llAMA KENJI JASPER Dark (No Exrl 5.7.99) 0..
Dark is an
African American coining ol-agc- tale about a young man's search for purpose in an urban landscape shadowet‘l by poverty. guns and gang loyalties. Nineteen—year- old lhai Williams commits a murder. and is forced to flee his 'hood in DC to escape the rap. In the week that follows. various events and encounters leave their mark on lhai in his new. unfamiliar surroundings.
Ktillll Jasper's strong narration convincingly portrays the fears and aspirations of his protagonist. as well as exploring the mindset of the 'dark' youth. the generation of Afro- Ameiican males whose futures hang in the balance; between the 'dark side' of Violence and crime. and the ‘light' of moral responsibility.
Dark is perhaps a little raw and simplistic. Yet the presence of hacki ieyed coming of age staples the older Woinan experience. the race. railiaticr‘. with a parent. the redemptive potential of faith -- does not render the narrative at iy less coiirpelling oi real. A pioiri:siiig debut. (Alastair Mti(,klm‘vi
lAlvlllYl)RAl\/1A LISA JEWELL One-Hit Wonder (Penguin S
Talented. glamorous. a
famous pop star Bee Bearhorn has it all. Or so her estranged younger sister Ana thinks. Until Bee commits suicide. And Ana is forced to drag her unkempt. self- loathing Devonshire self up to London. to clear out her flat. lhere. she discovers only two friends. one mysterious lover. photos of India. and the de 3ds to a strangecottage in the country.
Chick III has been the Slll)]()(,l of intense debate lately. amongst the literati anyway. Is it self-indulgent narrow minded dross. or a respectable and enjoyable entertainment geirie. they ask’.} lney should try reading lisa Jewell's third novel. One-Hit W()ll(/(,’l is unashamedly sentimental. the characters are
Profoundly moving and
(Zitl(ll)()tll(l atiitl flit) ending is ridiculously perfect. But the story is original. And the suspense is skilfully built. HHS is an impressive follow- up to the iiiassrvely popular Ralph 's Party and l/iir‘ty/iothirig. Yes. it's disgustingly corny. Still. it's an infuriatineg enjoyable feel good read.
Joseph Farrell Dario H) 6} Fr‘arica Harrie: Harlequins Of Me Hevo/irtro/i (Met/iiieri 5‘1999i Str'athclyde Professor raises the curtain on this Nobei Pr'i/e winning pla\,.«\r'r.rright. Mervyn Peake letters H017) A lost U/ic/e (Mel/fuel) 53’3’99i lgeiie illustration brought back from the grave.
Various writers lire ()arrongate Pri/e / or New Writing ()iigirra/ Sins (Ca/torigate Books 513.99) Bigger than Booker.’ l-ifteen new literary starlets showcase their devils. Jill Paton Walsh A [)esert //l Bohemia iB/ack Swan l‘ti.$)9i Chunky epic novel sweeping from l9-1i) (L’echosloxakra until the fall of ()oriiiiiunism. John Freely the / ost Messiah (Viking 5‘20) Pilgrimage of lr'th century Rabbi. cult figure and possible Messiah. Sabbatai Sew.