Sunday 25 April 1999
edited by Tim Page
Faber pounds 17.99
When Glenn Gould died in 1982, he left the world an extraordinary musical legacy. Now his writings - mostly printed on album sleeves and obscure journals - prove his brilliance as a critic and original thinker. These essays - from the comically eccentric "Glenn Gould Interviews Himself about Beethoven" to the rigorously analytical "The Search for Petula Clark" cover the provocatively diverse gamut of his intellectual concerns while displaying the singularity of his vision.
by Louise Doughty
Scribner pounds 6.99
Louise Doughty's third novel is so cleverly understated that the shock it delivers the unsuspecting reader is barely registered by the story's end. Ostensibly, she offers a gentle satire on the classic English murder mystery, and opens with a promising murder. But the mystery is resolved from the off: the emotionally overwrought, teenaged murderer has left a diary at the scene of the crime, helpfully providing details of motivation, method of execution and her entire family history. Chief reporter of Rutland Record Alison Akenside lives next door to the murder victims, and their tragedy promises to be her big break. But Doughty defies convention, and Alison is no detective. Through her, an entire community proves inadequate at acknowledging or uncovering the personal dramas that unfold under their noses (despite their busybody efforts). Thus, an entire community that prides itself on neighbourliness is indicted, and the comforts offered by England's prettiest Country County prove to be cold. On a personal level, the real secret at the heart of Alison's story is her own, and its unravelling provides the novel with its edge.
by Ted Hughes
Faber pounds 7.99
The publication of 88 chronological poems that tell the story of Ted Hughes's marriage to Sylvia Plath was the literary event of last year, especially as it immediately preceded his unexpected death from cancer. Their impact derives, in part, from the passionate empathy and grief the granite-faced poet laureate exposes, 35 controversially silent years after his first wife's suicide. Critics were divided as to how the collection should be read: as a biographical document or as a great artistic achievement? It soon becomes clear. Episodes from his relationship with Plath are given an immediacy that startles the reader into recognition of all lovers' fates. In "Daffodils", Hughes describes a young couple so poor they picked the daffodils from their garden "in the rain of that April - your last April" to sell to a grocer. Forces of nature act as commentary on their inescapable future: "Every March since they have lifted again / ... They return to forget you stooping there." Given that Hughes was a poet who assumed the ancient, primal role of a teller of tales and oracle of the natural world, these poems can be read both as a personal testament and as a meditation on love.
About a Boy
by Nick Hornby
Indigo pounds 6.99
With his third novel, the celebrated Arsenal fan and collector of CDs taps into further episodes from the life of a middle-class, single, white man. So effective is he at communicating the male psyche as it interfaces with society that Robert De Niro has bought the film rights (for pounds 1.8 million) to this story of a feckless man posing as a single parent in order to seduce single mothers, and an over-anxious little boy searching for a father. Hornby is as acute as ever, but this time he delivers a stern moral to his peers.
The Everlasting Story of Nory
by Nicholson Baker
Vintage pounds 6.99
Baker cleverly confounded critics bored by the pornographically detailed narratives of daily life in his preceding novels with this story told from a nine-year-old girl's perspective. As an exercise in guileless charm, it succeeds delightfully. As an image makeover, it is a work of masterful manipulation.
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
- 5 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Mr Selfridge series 3: Actress Kara Tointon says 'we're starting to see his demise'
Ed Sheeran texts Noel Gallagher to offer him tickets after Wembley Stadium rant
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Taylor Swift banned from Triple J Hottest 100: Fans react to epic #Tay4Hottest100 defeat
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally