function is by taking regular doses of Lucidity. a reality- enhancing drug advertised on huge billboards with the strapline: 'If you can read this. you are still alive‘.

Marlene tries to record her experiences in a journal. but soon becomes so ill that the words no longer make sense to her. Her jOurnal is Falling Out of Cars. and as a result. it is hard to be Sure what is real. and what is fantasy a perfect reflection of how the world appears to Marlene. This is claSSic Noon - strange. compelling and disturbing. (Kirsty Knaggs)

LITERARY DRAMA JOHN BANVILLE Shroud (Picador $15.99) 0...

Fans of John Banville will already be aware of the stunning use of language and descriptive storytelling in his work and this latest does not disappoint. Seen through the eyes of an old curmudgeon.

Axel Vender. Shroud delves into the troubled psyche of a man in deep despair. The self- critical and analytical prose creates a compelling picture of the dark shadows in Vender's past and loathing of his present. which is wonderfully encapSulated in the stinging and constant rebuttals of his contemporaries and also in the mindless abuse of his status as a philosopher of great repute.

As the pages turn. so does y0ur opinion of this harsh character. slowly revealing a soft centre. preoccupied with the passmg of his

Wife by dubious means and a great secret which he has always known Will be his undonig. Shroud is a startling snapshot of human life and the many ch0ices that we are faced With. lAIy Burtl

FILM BIOGRAPHY JOHN BAXTER De Niro: A Biography lHarperColIins 918.9% .0

Chapter one: 'He is returning to New York. where he thinks he belongs.‘ De Niro's feelings. Valentine's Day. 1989. turning his back on Hollywood. moVing home. Bullshit. Baxter: you don't know how De Niro felt. you didn't talk to him. This is a biography without the subject's collaboration. Which wouldn't be so bad if the writer stuck to the facts. But there's a helluva a lot of guess work. With conclusions ranging from the simple- minded to utterly ridiculous. On wh shy Bobby started acting: ‘How does a timid person express himself except by taking


on another personality? Regarding the actoi '5; black drama coach at Stella Adler's Method acting school: 'De Niro's choice of a teacher clearly resonates With his subsequent preference for African- American Wives and girlfriends' Hulil’?!

The only amusing moment is the revelation that Adler's intonation exercise repeat: ‘Are you talking to me?‘ accidentally gave De Niro his famous Iaxr Driver speech. iMiles Fielderi


SAM SHEPARD Great Dream of

Heaven lSecker and Warbiirg f.‘ l Ol 00..

Men What are they like? If you want to understand them. this collection of vii/id short stories is unlikely to get you very far. But if you want to observe them. Just to see what they're like. you'll be captivated.

Sam Shepard's men have few words. It's notlwiig to do ’.'./ItI‘

truculence or ill will. ’Ihey invariany 'lifzét'l well. it's ;ust that tl‘ei,‘ have feelings that are as inexplicabie to thew as they are to otheis It's notable that ll}()l(3 that: one tale is ‘.'/I|Ii(}li from the IXBFESIXXIIL/(l’ of a child. Viewing their fathers ‘.'/Iiil a IIIIXItIHE of fascination and i)lI//I(}Ill(}il'i.

But Shepard is no cynical obsep/er: he writes u‘llii‘i eiiipatny. (IFZIV/Iilti his then as characteis in a landscape that's always bigger t tan IITUlYi. Ihe beauty of Ms crisply H‘JTIIIUI‘. anthology :5; iii Sliepard's {thllli‘y to take us sixriltly o a scene's heart. deln/erzng neither too iiiticl‘ no" too little and. iike 'i.s men. us tai‘talised.

:Mark lislieri

I} i LI IAHY {DI {AMA TIM O’BRIEN July, July iI-laniiiigo 5‘1 [.99i Q...

School or colege "(EIIIIIOIIES are a fanniiar topic for Aniericai‘ ‘.‘./I'li(}'53 but here lam O'Brien manages to

breathe riez'r


scenario using a 30th college ai‘riii.'(:-.'saiy as a t:i:’ ‘ét'l'. sanctum? tool ll‘. ti\Zf)llli}()51"t}(il?(1 Il‘oatiI‘t pi<,~.ok.ti:i '.<).<:i.

A superb"; .'/t)II(I eiise'itble cast of fiftysoviit2t'iirit;.; spend a .tnatker‘ (t'Wl .iesoeiate reunion .'.’(‘(}I\‘.:’l(l

Hiig hour .he -asi

Iti'tfi,‘ decades Iiii‘.(‘: t'oatetf tneiii. ai‘:i 'iox'.’ 7.".S: ‘.'.'oi|<l Has "‘.()‘.<:(i o'i

.lf/Ill t-' {J'l(i|.(}l(1‘.?tlf.f>IiI

li‘ tile-i ‘30s yotit'i. ‘~."‘-./:t'i :I'i;aii;s :Iasl‘itgd ';i‘: i'lt: rocks of 'ea'i’... flit,- val oos ::".a.'.':::te's l(:i€:LI'. c'i ’liéll'l'Iéiiitifi.

(ixorces. affairs. sine-ss. Ian: wes a"<I death

meet 'iie‘aitcitol‘..

la'igiiisii'iig iii nvse". 'iere. ii‘steazi ()E‘B'itf‘ skifmiy negotiates ()Io i§lii)f("(,". "latte." :‘Jzii‘ !(;fr’(35;?‘sl‘§; "oi‘t-sty an: a (lewgihtiilii. keen ea" to' dalogie "Y‘,I):.;.’lti “gs <;'iaia<:teis '.'./i7.l‘ a «iii: o‘ battered. nope-71.? 1)I)°.I.'“ili‘§ll‘:. i'te 'esoi'. s a beauti‘til I.


‘Very funny, considering he isn’t meant to be in the country’

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,rich hall

Available now in paperback

‘Rich Hall's rapid-fire wit is so spontaneous he should leave his brain to science’ Guardian

'.:\. .. . THE LIST 113