The Double Life of Daniel Glick (Dedalus $7.99) 000

Following an earthquake in an unnamed city (that might be Madrid. where debuting novelist Maurice Caldera was born). a young man‘s life begins to unravel. His grandfather is lost. presumed crushed in the rubble; his wile leaves him under mysterious circumstances: and he loses his )0b as an office clerk. To make matters worse. both parents are also missing. possibly arrested by the police. who also suspect Daniel Glick of murdering his spouse.

It's a Wlldly Kafkaesgue conceit. a surreal. nightmarish tale of paranoia and victimisation in which a hiccup in time (heralded by the quake) leads to history repeating itself. Caldera also adopts the Wlly Prague fellow's spare style: characters are sketches. locations described in minimal detail. There's something curiously unsatisfying about this approach. however. Perhaps this is because it's been mastered elsewhere (by Kafka and Luis Borges amongst others). or because ultimately Caldera has nothing particularly profound to say. (Miles Fielder)

ABSUHDIS l' COMFDY RYAN GATTIS Roo Kickkick & the Big Bad Blimp

(Sceptre $710.99)


When DBC Pierre's Vernon God Lift/e surprisingly won a hatful of literary pri/es you could hear publishers scratching arciind their slush piles for similar novels to unleash. So

here's the first of many such books and. against the odds. it's really pretty damn great. Dealing with the same themes as old Pierre —- the cynical absurdity of the media when it encOunters smalltown American life Poo Kickkick . . . revolves around a runaway blimp acCident in the tiny backwater of Barguss and the reperCussions when Hollywood descends on the town to make a mowe based on the incident.

Told by a nameless pair of tWins from the town. the tale is a breakneck romp through the lives of a


Elvis Fashion

(Universe RWoli 5.730) 0...

There’s a story about Elvis’ mum Gladys. Like most of the tales that gather around these two it’s probably somewhere between myth and Southern fried folklore, but who knows? Apparently when Elvis first started gigging in the 505, Gladys would spend the whole of the night before sewing together extravagant outfits from bedsheets that had been stolen from the washing lines of rich folk who lived on the other side of town. Whatever the

reason for Elvis’ lifelong

obsession with clothes, one thing is for sure: the man had


Often used as a short cut for illustrating 60s and 705 bad fashion sense by morons who like to live their lives under the shadow of sensible clothing and ugly comfy shoes, Presley’s sartorial legacy can now rest in peace. Jill Mundy’s fabulous A4 book follows the King’s silk road from Memphis to Vegas. Along the way we get to spend time

host of ridiculous characters with names like Thorpe Thorpe. Monroe Mister Promised To and the Scarlet Pimp. and while it doesn't really go anywhere it does it with plenty of unhinged panache. (Doug Johnstone)

PHENOMENA STUDY MARTIN PLIMMER & BRIAN KING Beyond Coincidence (Icon Books fit 2.99)

Do you believe in fate? Chances are if you did beforehand. this addictive book will be an affirmation. but if you're a card carrying sceptic.

gazing at Elvis’ ever expanding

(in every way) wardrobe.

then Messrs Plimmer and King won‘t have you wavering an inch. Yet for those who reckon that chance encounters are not signs of a predetermined psychic order, how do you explain the following: ten-year-old Laura Buxton releases a balloon in her garden. It lands 140 miles away in the garden of another ten-year-old. Her name: Laura Buxton. Diana Mitford‘s similarly fascistic sister Unity was conceived in a town called Swastika: a cop nicknamed the Dog was attacked by a savage canine and treated by Dr Bassett while the ensuing court case was handled by Judge Barker.

No doubt there are perfectly rational explanations for everything within this entertaining book. but at the very least. many of the weird instances of supposed synchronicity should make you draw breath for a second. (Brian Donaldson)

Signing up for a sartorial legacy


Remember Me (Picador £16.99) 0000

ya BER Mi

Following up a Booker- nominated debut novel is

always a tricky enterprise.

With her new work. Remember Me. Trezza Azzopardi doesn't drift too far from form. She presents us with Lillian who like Dolores. her narrator in The Hiding Place is a lost soul trying to piece together a shattered past. Spanning seven decades. Remember Me is essentially a story of rediscovery. What begins with an old homeless

Things kick off naturally enough in Memphis with the Lansky Brothers, who designed all Elvis’ early stage wear. Marvel at the sparkly slink of their shirts, boxed jackets and pegged trousers. From here we move across country and spend time with Nudie Cohn, the flamboyant designer who fitted our boy out for Hollywood, rat pack tailor Sy Devore in all his masculine smartness and, of course, the great Bill Belew (the man responsible for most of Presley’s jumpsuits).

Satisfyingly short on words and big on pictures, this Graceland-endorsed hardback provides a side glance at the shy boy with the voice they called the once and future king. (Paul Dale)

ZOPAI {zit


woman having her Suitcase ‘stolen‘ effortlessly transcends into a re-evaluation of her years in exile from her family. guardians and lover.

Frustratingly. the time shifting between decades is not always clearly defined. While she produces a central character that is constantly in a cycle of misery. somehow the historic context of her torture often seems difficult to exact. Nonetheless. this is a painfully beautiful piece of prose. (Anna Millar)

RELATIONSHIP NOVELLA MURIEL SPARK The Finishing School (Viking 5:12.99) co

mama Spat



One of Muriel Spark's finest moments came 33 years ago With The Driver's Seat. a brief but innovative trip into the mind of a woman careering towards self - annihilation. Years later. that story still sends shivers down the spine. Five minutes after setting aside the Similarly titchy The Finishing School. it's possible to forget that you ever picked it up. Short can be swe it much of the time. but when it comes to such heavily-priced offerings. you can't be blamed for expecting more than a literary legend casual musings.

The ‘stOry' concerns College Sunrise. a mixed- sex finishing school where co-owner Rowland Mahler is sent mad With Jealousy over his ginger prodigy. Chris. who's working on his spectaCuIar debut novel. The whole thing comes across as an annoyingly weak Six Feet Under sub- plot. is probably highly postmodern and so smoothly written that there are no edges to gut into yetir memory. Room for improvement. Ms Spark. (Brian Donaldson)

.1--18 Mar 2004 THE LIST 107