As someone who was schooled in Kirkcaldy, I can confirm that fisticuffs are still viewed there as the surest method of settling some bastardised concept of honour. Yet here, BBC News 24‘s chief political correspondent James Landale recounts with vivid accuracy the days when such duels were deadly yet the province of sane and sober individuals.
On the subject of pistol-dueling. Landale has an active interest that has propelled him to work on this book for over a decade. In 1826 his ancestor - a linen merchant named David Landale — shot and killed his banker George Morgan while battling in a Fife field. So not only is this a historical account of a curious family incident, but it also places the shooting at the historical turning point where concepts of honour were becoming outdated. Fastidiously researched, colourfully written and full of curious tidbits (the Queen, for example. still has an “official champion'). Duel is utterly fascinating. (David Pollock)
FAMILY MEMOIR VIKRAM SETH Two Lives
(Little. Brown) 0000
Vikram Seth is best described as a literary ‘Jack of all trades.‘ The Indian-born poet and author first leapt to the attention with his epic A Suitable Boy and has since conquered the verse novel (The Golden Gate) and travel book (From Heaven Lake). even donning the robes
of animal fabulist with his Beast/y Tales. Seth's
latest work is a
comprehensive memoir of his relationship with his great-uncle and aunt. with whom he lived as a teenage
Shanti Behari Seth first
- met Henny Gerda Caro when he was sent by
his family to study medicine in 19308
Berlin. While the well-
girl was originally
dismissive of Shanti.
' they were to fall in love when Henny fled for
Britain at the outbreak of war. In his
unadorned prose. Seth
interweaves these remarkable lives with
those of their ancestors to create a rich work
3 that encompasses
Hitler's Germany and post-war Britain.
: (Allan Radcliffe)
1 Tales Designed to
, (Fantagraphics) so...
Comic books take themselves waaaaaay
too seriously nowadays: ultra convoluted plots. illegible art and 'clever' dialogue that leaves the reader bamboozled. That is why the arch silliness of Kupperman‘s first issue is so good. How many comics have you read
that are divided into
sections for kids, adults
s and pensioners?
Kupperman's simplistic but warm sketching overtakes a hundred different subjects all wrapped up in a surreal package. Subverting the traditions of old Flash Gordon serials. and boys' own adventure stories. public information films, antique pornography and 50s pulp fiction. he clutches your bosom like he was the last man alive. A rare treat.
THOMAS OTT Cinema Panopticum (Fantagraphics) COO.
Part of the slow dribble of works by this remarkable Swiss comix artist getting through to the English speaking countries (Ott himself is a German speaker but all his works are mute). this is a very welcome edition after such curiously unsettling gems as Dead End and Tales of Error. A small girl enters a fairground with five coins but finds she does not have enough to go on any of the rides or even to take a shot on the coconut shy. Eventually she stumbles on the Cinema Panopticum, a marquee with five
1' jukebox-style cinema
booths. Each one costs one coin. but what will she see on screen?
This is etched and crosshatched in Ott’s inimitable Old-fashioned black and white signature style. and as with his previous work. Ott takes his influences where he finds them and then twists them beyond the edge of perversity. Charles Burns. William Gaines. the brothers Grimm and Edward Gorey are all present and correct if defaced and defiled. by Ott's cruel logic and horrific obsessions. Worryineg delightful. (Paul Dale)
Events are listed by date, then city. Submit listings at least ten days before publication to email@example.com. Listings are compiled by Jules Graham.
60/60 ()ttakar's Bookstore. Unit 6. Buchanan Galleries. Buchanan Street. 353 I500. 6pm. Free. Iimbrace National Poetry Day with readings from Scottish (‘ND's latest publication commemorating the ()0th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.
Christine De Luca Blackwells (formerly James Thin South Bridge). 53—59 South Bridge. 622 8222. (3.30pm. Free. lidinburgh launch of Parallel Worlds. a collection of poems in linglish and Shetlandic.
Wednesday 1 2
Brett Easton Ellis ()ran Mor. 731—735 Great Western Road. 357 6200. 7.30pm. £4. ()nly Scottish date for the the internationally acclaimed Anwrlam Psycho author. currently promoting his new novel Lunar Park. Tickets from Borders Books. Buchanan Street. 222 7700.
Young Scottish Writers Evening Roxy Art House. 2 Roxburgh Place. (322 8227 7pm. Free. tickets from
Blackwell's Bookshop. Spend an evening in the company of gifted young things. Rodge Glass. Alan Bissett and Louise Welsh.
Dr Robert Fisk Glasgow Film Theatre. l2 Rose Street. 332 8128.
l lam. Free. The revered foreign correspondent discusses his powerful new novel The Great Wurfm' Civilisation: The ( 'onquesr oft/lo lWidd/R East.
JAM74: An Audience with Alastair Gray, Louise Welsh, Janey Godley and Friends Woodside Halls. 36 Glenfarg Street. 7.30pm. £10 donation. Special event raising funds for the legal case against the M74 extension. For tickets and further information contact JAM74. PO Box 3751. Glasgow or go to \vww.jam74.org.
Fresh Talent ()ttakar‘s. 57 George Street. 225 4495. Zoe Strachan. Will Napier. Iiwan Morrison. Allan Guthrie. Alison Miller and Sophie Cooke talk about their travels from aspiring to published authordom.
Wednesday 1 9
Mountain, Moor and Loch Royal Museum Lecture Theatre. 2 (‘hambers Street. 247 4219. 2.15pm. £6. Bob Aitken. author of the official guide to the West Highland Way. celebrates the routes landscapes and history.
2 our? ,. i: " aiming- #4:, to j :4 pf 63%;: 5 if} L‘: i it) 22‘} ill .u‘ vi 1 A 9.
Tickets: £3.00 (incl. lunch].
Panel Discussion and Readings
Neal Ascherson 0 Zsuzso Brink
Ale§ Debeljok 0 Zoe Jenny
Dilys Rose 0 More Zt‘ilite Award-winning writers from Latvia, Germany, Slovenia. Switzerland and the UK will discuss what is 'European' about their work. Following a panel discussion, the writers will read from their works, both in their mother
tongue and in English, allowing the audience to enjoy the cultural and linguistic diversity of Europe.
Saturday 8 llctober 2005, lllam - 5pm Traverse Theatre, Ill Cambridge Street, Edinburgh
Available from the Traverse Theatre: Tel. 013i 228 I404, or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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edinburgh lt‘(Illll)\l‘.)I Il. literature
6—20 Oct 2005 THE LIST 29