CRIME DRAMA LOUISE WELSH The Cutting Room (Canongate £9.99) .00.
Sex and death are the oldest tricks in the book. Separated, they are intriguing enough; meld them together and you have sure-fire fascination. In Louise Welsh’s impressive and hotly anticipated debut (The Guardian set her up for a fall she’s fortunately managed to avoid when tipping her for massive things at the beginning of the year), the twin perks meet from the off when gay Glasgow auctioneer Rilke discovers some very dodgy photographs in the attic of a dead rich man. But are they stills from a snuff movie in progress or simply a horrifically convincing set-up projected from someone’s warped idea of fun?
As Rilke’s curiosity becomes too much for him (‘like a child hesitating before a keyhole, I wanted to discover hidden secrets’) and a wish for a more purposeful existence gets the better of him, he gets the deer-stalker and magnifying glass out and goes blindly in search of some answers. Glasgow’s underbelly is exposed as reeking in corruption and vice (though with a whiff of the gentlemanly and quaint) while the city itself is largely incidental, only appearing in cameo roles such as the Dostoevsky-esque marketplace hell. But within its walls, a sense of some vast conspiracy rises and tightens around Rilke as he sticks his neck out for the truth.
While there are some lengthy moments when little appears to happen for any purpose, Welsh never strays too far from the horrible project at hand. And with a style both tender and tight, she leads you willingly, and very deeply into some pretty dark places. (Brian Donaldson)
MEDIA SAT'RE : Every time is like the first.‘ FREDERIC , .. BEIGBEDER £9.99. Frederic ‘ £9.99 (Picador £9.99) Beigbeder '5 shocking
o. debut reveals the
astonishing truth; advertising is big
business! Advertisers do not have our best interests at heart!! And even worse; some advertising copywriters
“The magic has been done: making people who haven't got the means want to buy something they didn't need ten minutes earlier
A tender and tight debut
actually take cocaine!!! Octave. our anti-hero. claims to be writing this expose because he wants to get fired. However, after 150 pages of profundities such as ‘to consume can also mean to burn’. action is reguired. Luckily, this is delivered in Octave's accidental promotion to artistic director and a spot of murder. interspersed with every ad slogan ever. Apparently Beigbeder was an advertising exec and was fired for this. which explains how he evokes this particular breed of human so well. Quite funny, bang up to date and dead trendy. this is biting satire for Loaded readers. (Anna Shipman)
DOMESTIC COMEDY ALLISO PEARSON
I Don’t Know How She Does It (Chatto & Windus £12.99) 00 Why is it that when celebrities spawn, they feel compelled to share their domestic blitz with the rest of us? Allison Pearson (columnist. mother and former dissenting mice on Late Review) has written a novel dealing with the conundrum of ‘Having It All', juggling high- powered career and family life. while avoiding nervous collapse.
Writing in breathless. post-it note form to reflect heroine Kate Reddy's diZZying schedule, Pearson rather clumsily seeks to enhance the embattled nature of her heroine's existence by surrounding the City trader/mother with men who are worthless. craven ‘baddies'. Ultimately, however. it‘s impossible to feel sympathy for a woman with a supportive husband and full-time nanny. particularly one who is so snobbish. smug and controlling.
When Pearson adds a Freudian twist to the tale.
. revealing Kate's
workaholic nature to be the consequence of an impoverished background. this becomes less a novel about balancing work and family. or even the inequality of expectations between the sexes. and all about keeping up with the Fossington-Joneses. (Allan Radcliffe)
A Big Boy Did it and Ran Away by Christopher Brookmyre
'Magnificent Hollywood high concept meets authentic Scottish literature. Yipeekayay heid-bangers!’
John Feetenby. Waterstone's lnverness
Available Now at Waterstone's
Signing at Waterstone's
Join Christopher Brookmyre and Mark Billingham for a reading and signing at Waterstone's Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow
Wednesday 14th August at 7pm. Call 0141 332 9105 for details.
The last word in books
1—8 Aug 2002 me LIST 43