CHILDHOOD DRAMA NEIL JORDAN Shade
(John Murray) .00
Omnipotence is a wonderful thing. Despite floating. throat slashed. in a murky septic tank from the opening chapter, Nina Hardy is all-seeing and all- knowing. She can time travel back to her childhood. see her brother fighting on a Turkish battlefield years earlier or witness events which took place in her beloved Ireland long after she fled to the film studios of Hollywood. If you can suspend disbelief for long enough. Shade has a compelling cast of characters eager to crawl under your skin.
LITERARY LOVE STORY ANDREW SEAN GREER
The Confessions of Max Tivoli
As a novelist, you’re probably doing something right when John Updike compares your work to Proust and Nabokov in The New Yorker. Well, that’s exactly what happened to Andrew Sean Greer for this, his second novel, and while praise like that could impose too heavy a weight of expectation on a book, in this case Greer delivers on that promise in spades. The Confessions of Max Two” is a hugely ambitious and extraordinarily beautiful
Better known for his directional talents (The Crying Game. A Company of Wolves). Neil Jordan knows how to Spin a yarn. dropping perfectly-timed emotional bombshells when you least expect them. His evocations of rural childhood adventure. unrequited love. loneliness and enduring friendship are all beautifully drawn and his brutal testimonies from the Great War are unflinching. All of which goes some way to excusing any structural incongruities and Jordan's penchant for using 20 words when ten will do. (Kelly Apter)
MUSICAL ANALYSIS DAVID TOOP Haunted Weather: Music, Silence and Memory
(Serpents Tail) .0.
In his continued literary and sonic explorations — which started back in the 80s with his excellent Rap Attack and continued with Ocean of SOL/nd and Exotica — David Toop has headed down an ever more esoteric path
as time passes. For his fourth instalment. his discussion centres on the experimental minimalism of John Cage. Derek Bailey. Terry Riley and contemporary artists for whom the laptop has become the instrument of choice.
Toop asks a helluva lot of questions but doesn't always come up with complete. and certainly not succinct. answers. Instead. he allows the music to paint a dense but vivid picture of the relations between music and the envrronment it is created in. Tangents flow from every possible point. like bubbling burns down a hillsmle. and while Haunted
How far will you go?
book. Set in San Francisco 100 years ago, it is the story of a man who suffers from a rare medical condition and, in a sense, lives life backwards. So, at age ten, say, he looks like an old man and gradually appears younger as he actually ages until, in his twilight years, his body becomes that of a child. This seemingly unlikely premise is a difficult one to pull off but Greer does so magnificently, judging perfectly just how far to push the reader to accept this odd situation as fact. The book is ostensibly about love (it begins: ‘We are each the love of someone’s life’), but really Greer tackles an array of weighty topics with a skill that is always a joy to behold. Ageing, social conformity, the nature of relationships and ultimately the point of life itself are all examined in a story that is frequently laugh-out-loud funny, yet also laced with heartbreakingly tragic moments. There will be few, if any,
better novels published this year. (Doug Johnstone)
Weather gets lost in the excitement of the musical moments. Toop is more concerned with these than any over- riding conclusions. (Mark Robertson)
SOCIAL SATIRE JAMES HAMILTON- PATERSON Cooking with Fernet Branca
Anyone who's ever been had by a salesman can relate to celebrity ghostwriter Gerald Samper's frustrations. Led to believe that his recent purchase — an Italian hilltop cottage — will provide the tranquillity required to
complete his latest project. Gerald soon discovers a black fly in his Tuscan bean soup. Enter Marta. Hailing from a troubled former Soviet republic. she claims to be writing the musical score for a renowned film director. but to a Fernet Branca-propelled Gerald. Marta exists only to disturb his peace with her dreadful music and the occasional helicopter visrt. The same bitter Italian liqueur fuels Gerald‘s cooking obsession with recipes such as ‘Garlic and Fernet Branca Ice Cream' and ‘Otter with Lobster Sauce'.
Amid countless cultural clashes and disastrous misunderstandings. James Hamilton- Paterson's hilarious yet absurd tale conveys the potentially disastrous outcome of relying on One's own ethnocentric perceptions. Especially when you‘re under the influence of a potent herbal aperitif and ultra- imaginative Culinary creations. Delicrous. (Emin Jones)
CULTURAL HISTORY STEPHEN ARMSTRONG The White Island (Bantam Press) 000
t e. w ite is and
Club 18—30 has tapped into a lot more than the desire for cheap sun. sea and sex and has become the latest in a long line of purveyors of pleasure on Ibiza. How long its reign will last is uncertain. From the Carthaginian goddess of sex and the Phoenician god of dance. through Roman rule and pirates. hippie checks (so called because of their reliance on cheques from wealthy families). creatives and drug- addled hosts. entire civilizations have had trouble maintaining
0 It's a travel guide! 0 It’s a treasure hunt!
0 It’s a quirky history!
0 With clues, maps and historical facts 0 For Edinburgh’s residents and
You Think You
lulm \Nilcy and Sons Lttl
Phone: 0800 143407, Fax: 01243 843296 Email: cs-hooksiu‘wiley.co.ul< www.wileyeurope.com/go/luie wwaookingupinedinburghxom
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THE LIST 99