attention to detail and generosity towards her subject matter really evoke the spirit of a particular artwork. Interested parties may find a way into this infuriating. often stimulating collection. by starting with shoner pieces like ‘Borland's Babies“ or ‘Certain Mapplethorpes'.

(Allan Radcliffe)


Kill Your Darlings (Phoenix $26.99) 0000

Kill Your Darling's

This is a welcome return for Independent columnist Terence Blacker with some of the sharpest. cruellest and most vicious writing to have been published over the past few years. Kill Yoor Darlings is a book that his publisher must love and loathe in equal parts.

There Will undoubtedly be adoration expressed for its greatness. tapered with a squirming embarrassment at the painfully realistic depiction of a fawning, fickle literary scene. The story itself, of a once-great writer's slow destruction as he fails to handle being an almost unknown again, is beautifully married to the relentless collapse of his previously stable family unit.

As the tale reaches the extremes. the hint of depressed insanity. shown in the writer‘s self- deprecating appraisal of his latest proiect a book of lists becomes a full- on disaster story. While Martin Amis' Experience gave us one ending. this oeuld be seen as the director's cut. with a Scooby Doo climax.

(Aly Burt)


M.S. POWER Vengeance (Canongate 29.99) 0.

MS. Power's noirish detective yarn centring on the exploits of a


London-based serial killer should have resulted in a compelling read. Power is. after all, an award—winning writer with a pertfolio of nineteen novels. one of which was televised in 1999.

However, it's clear from the start that he's no Ian Rankin. Detective Robert Harvey. a family man with a mysterious past. constitutes a moderately interesting, if hackneyed dark horse. Other plot elements, such as the sinister twin brothers with a bafflingly over- reactive vendetta and the motley crew of rent boy victims (with names like Tommy Spanner and Paddy Salmon) just don‘t work.

In the best crime fiction, characters convince from the outset. motives and interactions concur with an intricately- woven psychology and dialogue never seems contrived. Power's novel. while undoubtedly well- written, is littered with unnatural conversations. hammy characters and unbelievable setpieces that prevent this morbid tale from ever threatening to invade reality. (Olly Lassman)

CULTURAL MEMOIR SARAH VOWELL Take The Cannoli (Hamish Hamilton £10.99) 00

3'“; {Cw/Z.

Why should we care what Sarah Vowell thinks about anything? Well, Nick Hornby believes she makes ‘perfect sense' and the Los Angeles Times describes her as a ‘madonna of Americana'. So. the question remains: why should we care what Sarah Vowell thinks about anything?

Well. because publishers, by spending much of the 90s publishing ream after ream of such trivia. want us to believe that two-bit style-bar philosophers who can rant and rave about their childhood while chucking in some cultural context are contemporary seers who we should turn to for succour in our agnostic world. It's enough to make us all read hotel Gideons from cover to cover.

Sarah's gun lobby dad is so obsessed with weaponry that he wants his ashes to be shot from a cannon. Sarah thanks Ronald Reagan for giving her something not to believe in. Sarah may be a messed-up insomniac goth apologist because her mom and dad never took her to Disneyland. Poor you. And so what?

(Brian Donaldson)


Alistair Moffat The Sea Kingdoms (HarperCo/lins E 79. 99) The people's story of Ireland. Scotland. Wales. Cornwall, the Orkneys and beyond. Chris Manby Getting Personal (Hodder <3 Stoughton f 70) Dating drama with disastrous reSLilts.

Jack Hunter Moonchi/d (Creation

ft 7.95) The films. wit and wisdom of Kenneth Anger.

Alice Walker The Way Forward ls With A Broken Heart (Women Press £6.99) Paperback of tender collection about love andloss.

Josephine Fairley Beauty Fixes (VGF/Till/lO/i £7.99) How to look ten years yOunger in under an hour.





David Charles Cooper (Fantagraphics) O

To decide whether Dave Cooper's graphic novella exploring adolescent sexuality through the friendship between a half- mushroom half-robot called Larry and duck boy called Dan is for you. then yOU need to ask yourself a couple of questions.

If you went through your whole life without seeing a 26-year-old half- mushroom half -robot cartoon character wearing a tight leotard being wanked off to the point of ‘NG' by a twelve- year-old duck boy. w0uld you be happy? Would you find it offensive. even in the moral mid of comics. to hear a doctor suggest that homosexuality is 'a condition usually transmitted by an infected parent'? If you can confidently answer 'yes' to both of these questions. Cooper's depraved doodlings are most definitely not for you. iCatherine Bromley)



Alan Moore & Alan Davis (Titan) 0000

Long before that jaundiced hellraiser Bart Simpson. there was a real pair of Brit rabble rousers arOund called D.R. and OUinch. 2000AD coniic's pair of intergalactic rages were the Asterix and Obelix of a nuclear waste-

ridden future. and if this collection first published in the mid-80s ~ seems occasionally dated it's only because they have been so influential.

Their haphazard comic nihilism is also welcome relief from the many incredibly po-faced. contemporary SCi-fi titles. Moore and Davis created a pair of monsters who could alter the entire fabric of histOry as readily as they could wreck a photo-booth, and all With a dry one-liner as sharp as a shredded beer can. Magic. manic stuff.

(Mark Robertson)


Joe Sacco (Fantagraphics) 00000

This is a rare treat. a comic book investigation into the modern histOry of Palestine that is worth a million correspondents' reports. In late 91 early 92 Sacco spent two months in the occupied territories. travelling and

taking notes.


On his return to the US he wrote and drew this brilliant comic and in 1996 he won the American Book Award with the original two volume collection.

Now. for the first time. it is reissued in a single volume with an excellent foreword by Edward R Said. Deeply moving without ever being anti- Semitic. this can really only be compared to Art Spiegelman's Holocaust stOry Mai/s in its scope and intelligence.

(Paul Dale)


R Walker & Josh Neufeld (Alternative ComiCSI 000

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The idea of recasting Wall Street stockbrokers as superheroes is a bloody cheeky one. After all. they are. as detailed in the seven short strips in this one-shot comic. portrayed as unethical. vindictive and dishonest: hardly the stuff of webslingers and men of steel.

In fact. the opening tale. ‘The Comic Book Villain'. is the true (as the authors allege everything is in this collection) stOry of Ronald O. Perelman. the man who bOught and bankrupted comic publishing giant Marvel. The storytelling and artw0rk are far from dynamic. but economics is an interesting, unusual milieu for comics.

(Miles Fielder)

Depraved doodlings in Dan And Larry

‘.‘. I (‘Il 9))? THE LIST 97