(Serpents Tail) .0.

Stretching from Spain to China. Taras Grescoe set himself a difficult task to explain the histOry of several well-trodden routes across Europe and Asia. He has. however, pulled this off admirably. giving indepfh information on the Camino de Santiago. highlighting the blind faith of some of the blister- clad pilgrims treading the path. Not only that. but Grescoe discusses the merits of the open access travel autobahn while standing with 60 other peOple atop one of the tallest mountains in the Swiss Alps before lightly mocking the trustafarians who find themselves on the Westernised Indian beaches.

When discussing the history, from Thomas Cook setting out on his first European jaunt to Pullman carriages changing the face of train travel. this book is mightily impressive; but unfortunately it's let down by his superior tone when discussing modern travel and travellers. However, if you want to know y0ur history of the roots of travel then this is a fascinating insight.

(Aly Burt)


Sweet and Vicious (Review) 0000

One piece of advice: Sweet and Vicious should be read somewhere private with a bottle of bOurbon. There. you can race through the intense. sweaty pages that bring diamonds. near-rape. shootings. the loss of virginity to a Baptist minister, sex in cars. heat and dust

Books & Comics -

together in a hell-raiSing tale that somehow still manages to be delicate. It's edgy and concise in the great American tradition of Hemingway and a road trip adventure in the vein of Kerouac. Take the opening line: ‘We're driVing on the highway in the Burck when a hawk crashes through our Windshield.‘ Henry is on the run from gangster boss Honey. after stealing the Planets. seven magnificent diamonds: Grace is disenchanted With her home town in Wisconsin and looking for exCitement. Why shouldn't they take off and escape with the goodies? It's an electric tale that never stops for breath. (Ruth Hedges)


The Red Queen (Viking) 0000

This is well crafted. almost to a fault. Great care has been taken on Margaret Drabble‘s part to write spare and austere prose and while that makes for a rather dense reSLilt. the richness of the narrative more than makes it worth the effort. Speaking from beyond the grave. the Red Queen returns to discuss her startling exrstence 200 years before as a y0ung, naive girl. plucked from anonymity to marry the Crown Prince of Korea. Back in the

58 THE LIST 26 Aug-9 Sep 2001



iJonathah Ciif‘fh 0...

You imagine that AL Kennedy didn’t so much write Paradise as have it tumble from her keyboard onto the floor like a pile of confetti. This prose feels constructed from many tiny fragments, painstakingly hewn together to create a woozy narrative that follows the peculiar life of Hannah Luckraft.

Almost 40 and with little to show for it, Hannah is realising that her lifestyle isn’t something she can sustain forever while she works selling cardboard. She wakes in a

foreign city, unable to remember where, who and almost what she is. Attempting to recapture a moment at its most perfect - her own paradise - she traverses the globe, from Dublin to Budapest, from Montreal to Glasgow. This clashes hard with the supposed normality of her brother Simon and his ‘lovely' wife Gillian, which shows up all that Hannah has failed to achieve. But in truth, their relationship is just a controlled, controlling dysfunctionality, displayed in more formalised, acceptable ways. So, Hannah takes refuge in a disparate, desperate dentist called Robert. And she drinks. ‘I do love liquids,’ she declares. Her life is a minefield peppered with alluring shiny bottles filled with glorious intoxication that

she struggles with.

Making every syllable count

Paradise is a dark book and crunchineg heavy in places. Kennedy lays bare the gnawing discomfort of Hannah’s struggles with a life that is outwith her control. Her ability to create the sensations within her central character’s head - confusion, impatience, delirium, and more confusion is really quite astounding. She shapes sentences to be blunt and vivid, exploiting the potential of every syllable to its fullest. (Mark Robertson)

present day. a doctor has become engrossed iii this story. making her a fitting envoy for the tale. The fluctuation between 18th century Korea and the present day is presented With marked precrsion, as both women struggle to come to terms With their lives and their hopes of being remembered. Stylish and IuCid. this is a marked improvement on the flurry of cross-cultural gubbins currently lining the bookshelves. (Anna Millar)


SONNY LIEW Malinky Robot: Stinky Fish Blues


Somewhere amongst the overfIOWing garbage and the damp tarmac roofs of high rises in a modern metropolis live Alan and Oliver. a street urchin b0y-girl and an anteater-faced biped. They roam the City annOying street market sellers in their mission to find Out Where the stench of stinky fish is coming from. Malaysian-born Sonny LieW is something of a small marvel in the world of outre comics. His SCratchy. intense

draWings and simplistic fables belie a pretty unique Vision. Clearly as influenced by the seedier Side of modern scrfi iiioVies and comics IB/ade Runner. Warren Ellis' Trans/rietropo/itari seriesi as by the kitchen sink dramas of world cinema. Liew's place is a reassurineg odd one. Malinky Robot is a labour of love and has beer financed through a $2500 grant from the Xeric Foundation. a group set up by Peter Laird. the co-creator of Teenage Mutant NIH/{i Tort/es. IPaul Dale.


Attraction (John Murrayi O.

Sitting in a French hotel room With a police guard OutSide while he waits for morning to come. Jack Stone thinks back

on his relationship With his Wife Ann Marie and the events that led him to the position he is now in. James Manlow is a poet by day and this first novel feels Just like that; trying to bring poetic sentiments and postulating on love into a prose envrronment just doesn't ring true.

His cause is not helped by the choice of iiaiiat’ii. Jack Stone is a scientist and when he isn't toying to link theories of Quantum Mechanics to the vagaries of lone. he has a ‘.‘.ihiriiiig irritability that blocks your acceptance. The sub plot is insubstantial and. unfortiinately. apatiiy not p; ssion is the abiding feeling left in the reader. Part mystery and part love story. it falls {)(:T.'J‘:‘.:I‘i the two and is unconvincing as e fl‘er. iGcrdon Eldretti

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"lliltlillilllitll, Iii-re she iitzlitwt; the t‘.'.ii to their xiii. fullest. liuililirig twigs almost entirer from L‘IJ‘H \Ve hear Hillel's ‘iiiiiiari lieatlii‘x. thi- iiiasseif llilfllltillli'f; iit thi- l oniliiii and It iflillllll’ choirs, Mike Path in. Robert Wyatt and Inuit throat singer lama lagait (iillis. Hjiirk riili‘. them down Wllll her (Illil Mark Hell's glitchy, earthy electronics to create something siriiultaneiiiisly otherworldly and resolutely human. Merle/m is not as si/eable a departure at. it might sound, as the focus has always been very much on Biorks voice. It gets a little era/y iii places but thats the idea, she manages to make the truly weird sound abnorriially listenable. (Mark Robertson)



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lher is something reassurineg familiar about the Blue Nile.

Re' ssuririg iii the sense that despite haying made their debut in 1983 WIll’l the fIIaJC:SlIC sonic experiment of A Wa/k Across the Rooftops. they've barely moved a creative inch. With their fourth album (yes. that's one every five and a bit years. the lazy sops) the standard