Books: In the lists

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The Independent Culture
STRAIGHT in at number three in our paperback list is Michael Crichton's Disclosure (Arrow, pounds 5.99), which made such a lot of noise when it first came out at the beginning of the year. After tackling man-eating dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, Crichton moved on to predatory power-suited women in this contemporary parable about a female boss who tries to force her male colleague to have sex, then files a cooked-up harassment charge against him when he refuses. Emerging from the ordeal with a torn shirt and scratches on his chest, the New Man hero of the new tale

has to fight to save his career. Anxious fantasies of a misogynist? Or a serious attempt to deal with real issues? Oleanna and the Bobbitt trial were fresh in the collective consciousness when the book first came out: whatever Crichton's intentions, he certainly succeeded, as always, in

tapping into the media preoccupation of the moment and in generating yet more debate over the harassment issue. Most reviewers in this country cast doubt on his implicit assumption that the victim is as likely to be male as female and some produced statistics to prove their point. But while one critic dismissed his literary capacities as 'minimal', another found his plot so skilful that it was 'impossible not to be gripped'.

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