ESSAY COLLECTION CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS Letters To A Young Contran’an (Atlantic Books ft 6.99) .000
letters to a mum;
Renowned political journalist Christopher Hitchens has made a career out of desecrating the self-imposed sanctity of modern public ﬁgures. Previous targets include Princess Diana, various presidents and even poor old Ma Teresa. Apparently, Hitchens hates reviewers recycling those particular achievements as mere soundbites. So, in the rebellious spirit of Letters. sod off you fascist.
Hitchens' essay collection itself is littered with contradictions, has a distracting tendency to employ gratuitous words such as “preponderance, ‘quotidian‘ and ‘prestidigitator’, and is cursed by the Victorian pretension of quoting French and Latin sans translation. That, combined with the futility of a book instructing people to resist instruction should just about put you off.
Don't let it. Hitchens‘ grave obsession with rational argument and uncompromising analysis of anti-establishment rabble-rousing offers a priceless insight into an extremely potent political intellect. The downside is that it is possessed by a monumental pain in the arse. (Olly Lassman)
Talk Stories (Vintage $37.99) 0000
Jamaica Kincaid's mini— essays from the New Yorker's ‘Talk Of The Town‘ column were published anonymously back in the 70s and early 80$, yet this collection is less about the subjects
at hand and more about its writer and the writing. Reporting mainly in the
5 royal ‘we', Kincaid's
literary alter ego is that of
’ a gang-about-town with
invitations to every book and album launch, every fashion show and
may not be a native New Yorker, but her passion for her adopted city’s funky, inclusive underground culture is
‘ communicated in tiny
§ masterpieces like ‘Daytime Dancing' and j ‘Bells And Drells'. At first
sight, her subject matter
is slight, yet Kincaid’s
diary entries are elevated
above the usual
5 ﬂavourless society drivel
: because of the restrained ‘ incisiveness of the writing.
5 manages to be both
. utterly hilarious and
quietly political, effortlessly demonstrating ; the poignancy that can
be achieved in a few
' short paragraphs.
, CRIME CAPER
As Good As A Rest (Headline £5.99) 0.”
Yes, it was Pauline McLynn who played Mrs Doyle in Father Ted. Now that's out the way, onto her other career as a writer. This
3 is the second outing for , McLynn's heroine,
‘ private detective Leo
Street, a woman whose
private life is even more entertaining than the
cases she follows.
From the layabout
actor boyfriend to the
interfering -— or should
i - that be caring —
extended family, Street permanently teeters on
the edge of chaos. . saved only by a
combination of luck, insight and hum0ur. In this outing, she is
: investigating a Dublin
doctor whose wife
suspects he's being unfaithful. To many
j crime writers the
devious deed itself is the focus. But while McLynn lays a cunning
I trail for us to follow, her
focus is always on
Street. The character is Born in Antigua, Kincaid l
written with bucketloads of empathy, and McLynn will have you laughing or at least smiling wryly
E at her every success ' and mishap. A page- ' turner for the laughs
rather than the
SURREAL THRILLER JOHN
The Sinister Cabaret (Black Ace £9.95) 0.
'Iﬁc Siantcr (‘aburtt
Short breaks are never ’
as relaxing or fun as we
imagine them to be, but
- rarely do they descend
into a surreal landscape where the past
' encroaches upon our sanity; well, not in
Scotland anyway. Alas, when Donald Humbie, an Edinburgh
OC, decides to take a
short break in the west
; Highlands. to give
himself and his wife some space, he
3 journeys into a strange. threatening world
i inhabited by the
demons from his past
and the uncomfortany
l ubiquitous Algernon
Motion. Donald has to
i find the key to his past
in order to enter the
present again. Is it really
happening? Is he mad? Do we care?
Sadly, the answer is no. Although the premise of the story is interesting enough. the characterisation and dialogue fail to engage
- or ignite the
- outbursts of adjectives
mix with a laxity in description and a plot that fails to heat up beyond simmering. (Isabella Weir)
EVENTS AT BORDERS
SATURDAY 8TH DECEMBER 6.3OPM
IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE As pan of a series of talks for the Andersonian Chemical Society, science jaurnalist and television producer Simon Singh will be giving a special presentation at Borders. Known lor The Code Book and the Fermat’s Last Theorem his most recent work was the Channel 4 series The Science of Secrecy.
THURSDAY 13TH DECEMBER 7PM
Ian White's Hillwolker Series of CD-Roms is entertaining, inlormative, and practical. A keen hillwalker himsell, Ian will be at Borders to discuss the newest additions to the series.
TUESDAY 18TH DECEMBER I2.30—I .3OPM
The legendary lootball player will be signing copies at his autobiography Blessed. To ensure that as many people as possible get to him, Mr Best will only sign copies of Blessed.
TUESDAY 8TH JANUARY 7PM
at The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall I "tr: kets cost 5:7, only lFOIYt Berdersj' To celebrate the publication of his new novel Ressurection Men, Ian Rankin will be in conversation at the Royal Concert Hall.
WEDNESDAY 9TH JANUARY 7PM
The author of Fat is a Feminist Issue once more tackles the
subject of eating disorders with her new book On Eating. The
acclaimed psychotherapist will be at Borders to discuss the book and how to achieve a healthy relationship with food.
THURSDAY I ITH JANUARY IPM
The woman who taught everyone how to cook will be appearing for a very special signing of How To Cook Book Three.
WEDNESDAY 16TH JANUARY 7PM
One ol crime writing's most popular names returns at the top of his game reading lrom his new Aurelio Zen mystery.
THURSDAY 17TH JANUARY 7PM
SCOTLAND ON FILM
Panamint Cinema celebrate the release of rarely seen lilms lrorn the Scottish Film Archive on home video.
TUESDAY 22ND JANUARY 7PM
YOGA WITH GERRY KEILTY
The Glasgow based tutor leads a class based on his new CD.
THURSDAY 3IST JANUARY 7PM
SCOTTISH TRADITIONAL MUSIC
Inspired by the individual tastes and traditions at six single malt whiskies from around Scotland, composer John Saich will be pedor‘ming a live set ol his (.I) Experience — The Classrc Malts.
98 BUCHANAN STREET, GLASGOW Gl 3BA’ ' TEL: OMI 222 7700
www. border sstor escom/SIOr es/283 OPENING HOURS:
80m to I Ipm, Monday to Saturday, IOam to 9pm Sunday
130m: 2001 Li Jtitt PIX)? THE LIST 105