hit upon a best-selling blend of science and anthropology.

Instead. he decides we're not obsessed at all or in no measurable way and opts to write a shoit study of rain- related discoveries and inventions Instead. Some of this is diverting in a pub bore kind of a way (well. can you name the man who came up with categories for all the clouds’h. but Cathcart leaves his purpose unclear.

If it's not a Hornbyesgue satire. neither is it an ecological polemic much as it points in that directIOn in his exploration of floods and their causes which leaves y0u wondering just what all his research has been in aid of. One for encyclopaedia fans only. (Mark Fisheri

FAMILY DRAMA JULES HARDY Altered Lands Pocket Books €6.99i 0000

A moment. a split second. and all is changed. And so it goes in A/tered Lands. where a big sharp. messy






.»\l l‘lliTD LAN n

x'xedge is driven into the lives of mother and son. Joan and John. The before and after circ'e arOund \‘iith bitter. pained heaits. :aden heaw, after years of struggling to cope With their losses.

Debutante Jules Hardy crafts her words carefully and tenderly. rc-yeaiiiig seCrets in quiet bombshells that explode delicately onto the page. The characters lives are unnu'ound before us so that the cores are eventually exposed. raw ‘.'.’|lli unheated wounds.

The unravelling takes an unuSuai form as Joan. John and his wife Sonya have. all in different ways.

peculiarities of perception. Their 'lands' are altered and navigated by touch. sound. sight. taste and smell in ways unfamiliar to most of us. Altered lands is a strong. imaginative first novel. plotted with the right balance of empathy and distance. rRuth Hedgesi


Cathy Yardley LA til/oman (Red Dress /i7/< £5.99; British girl moves to madcap LA for love in quirky comedy.

Bob Balaban Sore/berg, Truffaut and Me i’Titan E 70.99; Re- isSue of the actor's life in Holzyyi/ood.

William Dalrymple White f/iugha/s *HarperCo/lins {20/ Love and betrayal in 18th century India. Alistair Cooke America /l/i/eideiife/d (‘4 Nico/son {20/ New edition of the award-winning corresponi‘lent's Stateside musings. Ruby Wax How Do you l.‘/anf Me? iEbury Press 5‘ .7 7. 95); Mouthy celeb's fab life discussed.



who will be reading from and signing copies of his new book


Wednesday 23rd October. 7pm. at The Traverse Theatre Tickets: fir/£3 conc. From Waterstone's East End or The Traverse (Cambridge Street. Edinburgh)

If you are unable to attend and would like to reserve a signed copy. please contact the branch on 0131 556 3031i. Waterstone’s. East End Branch. 13-11; Princes Street Edinburgh EH2 2AM


The last word in books


~ \_ ) 6 J

. g a J) _ on .0 )

Meet the authors Sid Smith and Robert Skidelsky

‘Writing the Politics of the 20th Century’ with Sid Smith and Robert Skidelsky at


Monday 28 October 2002, 6.30pm St Cecilia’s Hall, Cowgate, Edinburgh

liree entrance but ticketed on a first come first served basis. (Tickets available at The Uliil't’l’fiil/l‘ (if-[filinhziig/t Centre. 7 l / .\'ic‘olson Street. Ifdinhuzgh [5/18 9811' or

by SPIN/in” (In Sgll‘i to the (.Cllll't’)

Sid Smith and Robert Skidelsky are the 200] James 'lait Black Memorial l’ri/e \Vinners. 'l'he James'lait Black Memorial Prizes are Scotland‘s oldest book awards with prizes going to the best lietion and best biography of the preceding year. Sid Smith’s Something Like a House won the l5ietion Prize and Robert Skidelsky's john Maynard Ke/i'nes: Fighting for Britain 1937—46 won the Biography l’rize.


“O. f .‘ THE LIST 105