Paperbacks

Reviewed by Emma Hagestadt and Christopher Hirst

Trash by Dorothy Allison (Flamingo, pounds 5.99)

The chances of survival aren't good in a Dorothy Allison story. Run- away trucks, botched abortions, and suicide pose the biggest threats - though schoolgirl Shannon Pearl takes the biscuit by igniting herself at a local barbecue. Allison's short stories and poems (many of which formed the basis of her much lauded first novel, Bastard Out of Carolina) speak knowingly of the grubby pain of wanting what you cannot have.

The Constant Mistress by Angela Lambert (Penguin, pounds 5.99)

Diagnosed with a fatal illness at the age of 44, Laura decides to spend her last few months in the company of men. Powerful, sophisticated men; men who run banks and law firms; men with names like Bruno, Edouard and Jurgen. A practised storyteller with a soft spot for Eurotrash, Lambert examines what happens to a woman who rejects the lure of domesticity for a more cosmopolitan state of affairs.

The Ottomans by Andrew Wheatcroft (Penguin, pounds 8.99)

Ever since Constantinople fell, Europeans have regarded the Ottomans with horror and fascination. The first sultan to pitch tent within the city's walls was said to have reminded people of "a parrot about to eat ripe cherries", and from this history you can understand why. Pictures of jewel-encrusted palaces and cloistered harems glitter from the pages, and any attempt by the author to disentangle myth from reality falls a little flat.

In Cold Domain by Anne Fine (Penguin, pounds 5.99)

When Barbara announces to her assembled family that she has met the love of her life - Miguel-Angel Gippini Alargon Lopez de Rego, a waiter from the pub next door - they go into overdrive, not least her blue-rinsed mother. Set in the garden of the family estate, Cold Domain, Fine's farce involves a hearty dose of camp innuendo and bare bottoms, all told with a gusto that should make writers of BBC sitcoms hang their heads in shame.

Lud Heat and Suicide Bridge by Iain Sinclair (Vintage, pounds 5.99)

These fragments from the Seventies begin with a dark speculation about Hawksmoor's churches (which also inspired Peter Ackroyd). From this high point, the book declines into allusive rambling in a style which owes something to the Beat poets, but there's no denying Sinclair's acuity. Two decades ago, he was quoting from The Large Scale Structure of Space Time by one S. W. Hawking.

Footsteps by Richard Holmes (Flamingo, pounds 7.99)

Looking at a photograph of Shelley's house near Lucca, Holmes feels "a faint tingling sensation" when he detects a child on the picture's edge: "I felt I was looking at little William, Shelley's dead son". The gulf of a century or two all but disappears as the biographer pursues his subjects. These exciting explorations of literary figures - others include R. L. Stevenson and Wordsworth - come close to time travel.

The Thought Gang by Tibor Fischer (Minerva, pounds 6.99)

As a bank robber, Dr Eddie Coffin has several things going against him. He is alcoholic, overweight, accident-prone and a failed philosopher obsessed by words beginning with the letter "Z". With his maimed sidekick Hubert, he muses on metaphysics during messy heists. The gang wear Nietzsche masks - "they're easy to make because of the bog-brush moustache". Of course. Hilarious, fast-moving stuff.

Conflict of Loyalty by Geoffrey Howe (Pan, pounds 8.99)

Despite its title, most of this book is devoted to ovine service in the great offices of state under Margaret Thatcher. Suddenly, after 550 pages, the story takes on an epic momentum as Howe, scorned and excluded, prepares to slay the dragon. No, he says, it was unconnected with his demotion, nor had the formidable Elspeth Howe anything to do with it. Of course not. It was purely policy, purely Europe.

Arts and Entertainment
Kathy (Sally Lindsay) in Ordinary Lies
tvReview: The seemingly dull Kathy proves her life is anything but a snoozefest
Arts and Entertainment

Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boy

music
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig in a scene from ‘Spectre’, released in the UK on 23 October

film
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap

film
Arts and Entertainment

Poldark review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Brayben is nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Carole King in Beautiful

film
Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
film
News
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
tv
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

    Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
    Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

    Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

    For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
    Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

    Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

    As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
    How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
    11 best bedside tables

    11 best bedside tables

    It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
    Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

    Italy vs England player ratings

    Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
    Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

    Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public