life-long friendship being put to the test by the interruption of an English woman trying to drive them apart. from each other and from their nature. Added to this are the stories of their traumatic childhoods. the boys' passion for destruction and the token pantomime characters of the community.

The book appears to have everything love. friendship, betrayal. loss. death and focuses on relationships, yet misses out the most important one: between the reader and the characters. Nothing is there except sheer apathy. (Vicki Shenkin)

SURPEAL MEMOIR RICHA FLANAGAN Gould’s Book of Fish (Atlantic Books 216.99) .0.

31mm) Wilma

Richard Flanagan's outrageous Gould '3 Book of Fish does not begin promisingly, containing as it does more false summits than Ben Nevis. In a baffling preface. we are introduced to the most unreliable narrator since Billy Liar. A self- confessed con man is captivated by Gould's slippery volume and. when the book dissolves into a briny puddle. sets out to reCreate it word-for- word.

What follows is the testimony of William Buelow Gould. a 19th century forger transported to the notorious Sarah Island penal colony, ruled over by a deranged commandant. Staying sane by sketching Tasmania's stupendous fish, Gould paints an enthralling and Violent tale of the island's early histOry that raises issues of corrupt power

and racial hatred.

While Flanagan's lyrical ostentation occasionally inhibits the narrative and makes the experience of reading his novel as tricky as swimming through polluted waters. GOuld's memoir is so richly and vividly rendered that the book is often as absorbing as watching a tank full of tropical sea life. (Allan Radcliffe)


Inappropriate Behaviour (Serpent's Tail 9:10.99) 0...

Subtitled ‘Prada Sucks! and other Demented Descants‘. this collection is a godsend to anyone who's ever flicked through women's magazines at the hairdressers only to be dismayed to find they all say the same thing. Which is pretty much nothing at all.

Put together as a feminist antidote to our hyper-marketed society which defines us by the clothes we wear and the cars we drive. these articles force you to re-engage your brain. They're designed to get a reaction. Ranging from Helen Hastings” angsty rant about why she hates her mother to a drag queens explanation of why she campaigns for breast cancer research. the topics are far- reaching.

Some are bizarre. such as the description of how you could theoretically have sex with an octopus; others are just downright entertaining: ‘Win a date with Jesus'.

The Quality of the writing is not constant throughout, but it is certainly always provocative.

(Louisa Pearson)


DAVID EVANIER Making the Wiseguys Weep (Methuen £7.99) 0...


Jimmy Roselli is the man. the boy from Hoboken. New Jersey. the son of Italian immigrants brought up a few doors away from Frank Sinatra. Unlike OI' Blue Eyes. he had an incredible vocal range and was the swooner of choice for most first and second generation Italian Americans.

So why has no one ever heard of him? Here‘s why: the mook never sold out to the Mafia. because he didn't have to. He was untouchable. made their mamas Cry every time he opened his mouth.

David Evanier's lean, tough biog is a powerful testament to a great man who's still playing poker in downtown Hoboken at 73. Roselli spills the beans on those cold. bloodied old times. his st0ry that of Ellis Island. prohibition. shoeshines. ghettos and the rise of the Gottis and the Gallos. Like Roselli's phenomenal voice. this will make y0ur heart bleed. (Paul Dale)


Jason Starr Hard Feelings (No Exrt E? 74.99) Jim Thompson meets Patricia Highsmith. Sarah Brown & Gil McNeil eds Magic (Bloomsbury E 6. 99) Single parent charity tome with works from Brookmyre. Weldon. Townsend and Okri. Ann Summers The Wild Guide to Sex and LOV/ng (Ebury £76.99) Telling (and shovving) you how it‘s done.

Paul Farley The lce Age (Picador C 7.99) Yet another Liverpool poet. Dennis Kirkland The Strange and Saucy World Of Benny Hill (John Blake T? 6.99) Who was the real Benny Hill?


Zeb Wells and Jim Mahfood (Marvel) 0..

Spider-Man gets serioust cool with Mahfood's wilfully odd artwork and Wells‘ piss take of pop Culture. There's this beach. see. which starts attacking everyone on it ‘xxhen soul diva Marla Kelly (Mariah Carrey?) does sing-a- Iong-a-coastline while making her film debut. Then a bunch of P88 Singers go missing and Sonic TV (not MTV. surely?) hire the web- slinger to protect the beach bums. The people-eating beach turns Out to be the xix/all- crawler's old skool fee. the Sandman. who's been scattered along the coast. but has now absorbed enough rampant pop egos to pull himself back together. Daft and quite goodfun.dude.

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The Bugle bullpen watches the web-spinner get his ass kicked in Spider-Man’s Tangled Web