t/lODEF‘it-l ll“ 3LE DAVID MAINE The Flood

)anongatei OOOO

‘Why has God done this? I would get eight different answers.' remarks Bera of her family's responses to the apocalyptic flood. Indeed, what makes this forgotten story dynamic. funny and moVing are its constantly revolvuig perspectives. from “Himself' ((500 years old. patriarchal. “cactus wagging'. Cod-fearing). ‘the Wife' (patient and practical) to stubborn son Cham and Ethereal. who is constantly being ‘rutted' by her randy husband Mirn. This narrative method creates endearineg real characters whose ruminations of life's mysteries and inner debates about religion and family are tenderly. mischievoust and palpany delivered.

Moving from sober pathos to inventive humour. DaVId Maine weaves together the ordinary details of this chosen family. ranging from the animals' stench in the ark to the endless hardship of rebuilding their homes and titling the land. In this uber— technologically saturated everything 'to-go' society. this ancient table of simple values is a timeless tale and a good yarn. (Kate Ewart)

COMIC DRAMA JOHN PRESTON Kings of the Roundhouse

(Viking) .0

It's 1976, Britain is paralysed by strikes and scare stories about mutant rats. and Edmund has a secret job. The Roundhouse used to be a Mecca for the hip and happening. but now he has to balance the books to put it Out of business. Edmund. an awkward Virgin, isn't wholly

l)(?|l(3‘.’£ll)|t‘: and his social ineptitude is frankly irritating. But that's nothing compared ‘.‘.|ll) the supporting cast. each With one exaggerated. implausible character trait and the most wooden dialogue outside of Neighbours. The saving grace is the middle section that. via anecdotes. newspaper cuttings and iiierr:ifully little conversation. details the rise and fall of Barney (who fails as a hand modeli. lia (who fails as a radio sex- therapisti and Edmund. who makes a massive fertune exploiting people's insecurities. Unfortunately. the enioyment soon evaporates as everyone reconvenes in the present day and we are once again forced to endure their attempts to communicate. (Anna Shipman)



The natural sequel to Jonathan Goes The Rotters' Club reiOins the lives of the Birmingham school friends 20 years on as they tussle With the traumas of a new century. Now breaching middle-age. Coe‘s hapless characters are faced with mid-life crises and niggling regrets in the place of teenage angst and ambition. Beruamin Trotter wallows in a childless marriage. unable to lay his unrequited love to rest. Similarly. Claire Newman is still haunted by her

with t'r: was t: is?! es i'iiiie'ir‘iial te'sni‘. thi- .‘.=ar on terrcr. art/3 growing i’tisaptxlint'i‘wnf in New Labour ant mysterious ‘titird V‘lhiie this makes the seguel reflective of car tunes. lt dcesn't necessarily niear‘ that it's insightfui. More that‘ filllll)!‘, tying up loose ends. [he Closed (Jingle stands alone as a contemporary ‘.’l(:.'.’ o‘ fortysoriiethings in the nougtities.

‘Mark E. (llllllllf tsr in)

CRIME [)HAMA ALEX GRAY A Small Weeping iAllison é; Busby) OOOO


A Srv‘al‘: ‘a'k'eeping

Anyone concerned that life had grotesquely mirrored art. resulting in crime novelist Alex Gray's bloodied corpse being dredged from the Clyde can breathe a sigh of relief. Despite a noticeable gap (and a sWItch of publisher) between Gray's promisrng debut NOver Somewhere Else and this follow—up. absence hasn't in any way impoverished the Glaswegian author's ability to hammer out a thrilling. compelling yarn. Our tale Opens in fine. bloodthirsty fashion With the discovery of a prostitutes body in Queen Street Station. her praying hands clasped around a carnation. A trio of similar slayings follows. leading battle-hardened DCI LOrimer's investigation to centre on the residents of a psychiatric ClllllC. Are these murders the handyw0rk of some holler-than-thOu psyChopath or a copycat killer? Gray ‘5

r'ar‘in-es :Aia'I Ra} “ht?

M ii r'ir it. '3; t.': STUART CHRISTIE Granny Made Me an Anarchist

iScritiiirw o.

Proclairning yourself 'Britain's most famous anarchist' is one step down from that Joke about naming famous Belgians. Nevertheless. Scottish political activist Stuart Christie does so in all seriousness on the cover of this patchy memoir. Christie was

com l timer )l w W l)l RAMA DOUGLAS COUPLAND

Eleanor Rigby i/tth Estate) 0...

Where do they all come from? The author's ideas, l mean, rather than the lonely people lamented in the Lennon and McCartney tune. For as if bottling the zeitgeist in

Generation X was not

achievement enough, Douglas Coupland has gone on to deploy his humour and wonderment through a plethora of fine novels; if a not-quite-into- double-figures count can

constitute a plethora.

"e e‘ .1 'r \ uni a I... §,. , ‘9‘ . '1 ’0 .'\. a 9‘ 4 ' o \z .‘i i ’3 1.: tr 1 t l \. i" ?it 7' 1' II V . ' "l 3"" i , l

.'.i)ll"l fwrtainl. "iiliiati- a illt' less ordinary. mt (jl‘irifstie‘i‘s itt‘I‘tHi')! (if his imi‘ .ii thities r‘cntairis great sunathin; th tedious detail. 't‘.:\e;t '.'."lll) a certain disagreeable sviiiiuness .'.liii:l‘ make you struggli- ti eriiiiatliise with the man and his iliitiiiiush 'iii>ti\..ited actions. Parts of (Ilinstie‘s personal story are passany distracting. most notably his term iii Spanish prison. but overall this is a boring and slightly irritating read. (Doug .Johnstoiiei

C(DMKE (JOl l f (Lll()N GUY BROWNING Never Hit a Jellyfish With a Spade iAtlantir:, 0..

These days. throv; a stone and cliai‘ces are you are likely to hit a therapist. guru. life coach or anyone else who can help you solve

Eleanor Rigby is number nine

but is as fresh as a daisy plucked from tomorrow's


li‘h‘i .i"t'il {W "i‘i‘.‘.' lfl ll of the 1ittie t')l.'l‘.l"i

i’i-f tiiiall, s. ii'im ir‘ii l‘}

t'w'wf aunt-as

1'” uni" t‘i is-i lii ni'l‘ t 't l‘l iltll

‘1 li b‘iitvi " W ’l ' lit I'tt , ti

If"): t ‘HilJ‘itSi'H‘l'. (ii/if, 1th

[iii t's ti ii-

K ‘tll'llti‘d (iii‘,

‘ill.lii""~ ti» “instep. o' thesis la.

It"; ""‘il‘ilv'iti‘,

to day ti'iniia

ainusi'ii; .inrf 'iwtiiiaih, iaugl out iiiu l tiiiiri, and. ‘.'.t)llt‘ t3. riot ‘3(‘>ll‘t:lllilltl ti be read "new"! I‘ 'Mi‘.’ Iti ttllt‘ sittllt). Ttits '. {tie til-1M? toil tr. have t,li'l'l aiounii for those- moments .‘Jlieri e‘xe'voiii- an ,iiriil ‘,i )(J seems to in: taking life and ilhfillfi‘fl‘fif"; far too serioust

((-‘iordon l lrlreth

No one comes near to Coupland

morning dew. Yes, the theme is loneliness yet it never succumbs to the pity or pathos of the Beatles song. The leading lady may be fat, 40 and largely friendless, but she’s got a way of seeing things that one can only guess approximates that of her creator. A view that finds understated beauty in a world of the mundane and the material, focus shifting between the hum and the drum in one blink and the kaleidoscope of human emotion in the next.

Liz Dunn is an invisible middle-aged woman waiting if not for Godot then at least a modicum of sense of this messy stuff we call life. She chooses to alter her own by the very act of relinquishing control, then finds more than expected when the son given up for adoption when she was still a schoolgirl materialises and . . . well, that would be telling. A supreme stylist and storyteller, Coupland once said of the band St Etienne that they created ‘the sound of love without blame, and hope without conditions’. Eleanor Rigby hits those same notes. (Rodger Evans)

2’: Sep-'/' 08' 2’12". THE LIST 105