Fiction & Biography -


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DEN SE MINA Resolution iBantarn 5‘12.E)S)i O...

Trilogies can be both a marvellous and a maddening thing. They’re fine and dandy when the final chapter has been reached and the loose ends neatly tied, you know who did what to whom and who fathered whom, you’ve got the boxed set and it looks great on your mantelpiece.

But when you’re stranded at the end of an episode, there can be nothing more heartbreaking than knowing there’s more to come and being powerless to hasten its arrival. Imagine how cheated those poor Godfather anoraks felt, enduring fifteen years of lonely suffering, only to finally achieve closure with a film which even Francis Ford Coppola thought was rubbish.

Yet, good things do come to those who wait, and fans of Denise Mina need linger no longer as the final instalment of her superb Garnethill trilogy is now with us. Over the course of the three novels Garnethi/I, Exile, and now Resolution ~ Mina’s central character, the deeply damaged Maureen O’Donnell has been through the mill more times than your average soap family.

Readers approaching Mina’s work anew, and unfamiliar with Maureen’s back-story, may find the opening of Resolution a tad confusing,

particularly as Mina literally dusts her

pages with the names of characters

accumulated over the course of previous books. Ultimately, though, the new novel can be read and

enjoyed on its own terms.

Resolution opens with Maureen O’Donnell awaiting the trial of her former psychiatrist, the brilliant, manipulative Angus Farrell. He stands accused of murdering Maureen’s lover, but all is not well with the trial, as Farrell has written letters that call into doubt Maureen’s credibility as a witness. As if this wasn’t enough of a distraction from her day job, flogging illegally imported cigarettes down at Paddy‘s Market, incest victim Maureen is about to come face-to-face with the father who raped, then abandoned her when she was ten.

Meanwhile, our heroine is about to become involved in the brutal murder of the wee woman who runs the tapes

TOBY YOUNG How To Lose Friends And Alienate People 1

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A satisfyingly tough conclusion to a stunning trilogy

Toby Young used to be Julie Burchill's

best friend. Together. they even set up a highbrow maga/rne about lowbrou'r culture. the wonderful

Moder/i Fi’ei./iev.«'. When their

friendship fell apart amid acrimony and allegation. Young closed the inaga/rno down and moved to New York leaving Hurchill to make a career out of pouring bile on wroryono from that period of her life.

She really needn't have bothered for Young is a tough and intelligent enough ‘.'./l'll(3.' to be his own roughest critic. and this hilarious. tragic and ultriiiately r'r‘:d<;-riipti\.'e Journal details tho disaster that was his time lll New York through the back end of the 90s.

liiVitod over on a sort of paid placement sciioriie with Vanity l-aii'. he goes iii search of the Algonquin crowd or' tho hard l)lllf‘:ll hacks ho had read about Ill screenwriter Ben Heclit's autobiography. What he finds it; a bunch of liooroadiiig, narcissistic

stall . . . Phew! With such intricate, busy plotting, you might expect both Mina and reader to get lost somewhere in the early chapters. lt’s therefore a tribute to the energy and clarity of Mina’s writing, that Resolution is such an urgent, compelling read.

What’s refreshing about this crime novel is that, though set amongst Glasgow’s underbelly, there’s little of the violent machismo that have characterised previous books about that city’s crime scene. Also striking is the compassion and understanding Mina extends to her hapless characters. Maureen and the others have suffered relentlessly - the streets of Garnethill are littered with victims of rape, incest, violence and eating disorders - and this suffering lends them a battered, war-weary, but resilient edge. (Allan Radcliffe)

First writes

Debut novelists under the microscope. This issue: Arthur Bradford

Who he? Arthur Bradford is a 30-year-old AC DC fan from Virgrnra who has spent eight years helping people With Down's Syndrome and other disabilities. A prolific. award- wrnnrng writer of short stories. hrs work has appeared in Esau/re and McSweeitev's. as well as on the shelves of Dave Eggers. Zadre Smith and David Foster Wallace. all of whom are tripping over their keyboards to heap praise on the yoong writer. His debut [)Ogl/‘A’l/k’el' rs a collection of twelve tall tales. many of which adhere loosely to canine themes. Some are perfectly short. punchy first- person narratives. while others are convoluted. grotesquely funny. featuring cat~fact—:-d mutants and dogs being rriipregnated by men. Basically . . . Bradford's stripped-down. deadparr prose is pert sctly SLliiOCl to wlirmsrca‘ tales like ‘The HOuse Of Alan Matthews and 'Six Dog Christmas. and the other compact. sweetly funny scooby Snacks in this collection. Yet. he frequently seems Out of his depth with t'ne more Outrageous scenanos.

First paragraph test 'The disability payments were being cut down since. according to their doctor, I was getting better. I had been without work for months and needed money so I decrded to share my place and split the cost. My pface was small. They called 't a “studio apartment". '.'.”‘l()ll 'neant rt only had one room. The kitchen was set off .n the corner and my little oed sat over against the Opposite wall. It a cosy arrangmnent.‘ rAllan Radchffei I Dow/a/ker is published by Harri/sh Ha/iii/ton priced £79.99.

yet ultimately conformrst wrsps who genuinely believe they create all that is happening in the Big Apple.

Being. by hrs own admission. a William Hague lookalike With an ability to annoy people Just by l_>r‘eathrng, he manages to tip up every silver plate that is handed to him and ultimately spirals into drink and drugs. This is hrs way of searching for some kind of redemption amongst people who no longer return his phone calls.

Young is such a funny incrsive writer. he makes you care about him even when you know you shouldn't. l-lis rants against the precious celebrity empire of Conde Nast (the fashion iiiaga/ine oriiprro that monopolrses the supermarket shelvesi are rnforriied. vrtrrolrc and annotated with some surprising footnotes. This book is an unputdownal)lo gem and not since Jor/y Ko/rnski's llio Her/iiit Of (59th Street has anyone so brilliantly pissed on their own fire. ll’aul Dalei