Paperbacks: The Man Who Hated Football
The Probable Future
A Round-Heeled Woman
Wild Boy
Bound for Glory
Blair's Wars
Dude, Where's My Country?

Exchanging Soho for Bungay is a brave step for any metropolitan, and the hero of journalist Will Buckley's comic debut nearly cracks under the pressure.

The Man Who Hated Football by Will Buckley (FOURTH ESTATE £10.99 (282pp))

Exchanging Soho for Bungay is a brave step for any metropolitan, and the hero of journalist Will Buckley's comic debut nearly cracks under the pressure. Jimmy Stirling is a football writer for a Sunday broadsheet who uproots his young family in search of free schools and a bigger house. Now marooned in a dismal field, his future looks as bleak as the landscape. His five-year-old twins fail to socialise at the new infant school, and his wife, B, is in danger of going potty. Though not as potty, it turns out, as Jimmy, who, sidelined by his fellow hacks, is sent to cover lower-league games in places such as Halifax. His knowledge starts to slip, and his sports coverage gets increasingly inventive. When his father dies, his interest in football withers and a mid-life crisis looms. Even if the footie riffs do nothing for you, Buckley's bitingly funny portrait of East Anglian society make up for the laddish commentary. Stirling's outings among the Puffa-jacketed locals include a night out with the Waveney Valley book club ("someone thought that they'd spotted Louis de Bernières entering the pet shop in Harleston"). Like all the best humorists, Buckley has an instinctive sympathy for the talented bullshitter who lives in perpetual fear of being found out. EH

The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman (VINTAGE £6.99 (322pp))

There's something a little hokey about Alice Hoffman's fiction, but a little tempting too. Her early novels were well-spun stories of family dysfunction, sprinkled with a touch of magic realism. Her 16th goes a little heavy on the fairy dust. The Sparrows are a Massachusetts clan that with each new generation produces a young girl with supernatural powers. The latest clairvoyant, Stella, can predict how people will die - a Salem-like gift which lands nearest and dearest on the wrong side of the law. Gingerbread clapboards provide the backdrop for some unlikely redemptions. EH

A Round-Heeled Woman by Jane Juska (VINTAGE £7.99 (228pp))

"Before I turn 67 - next March - I would like to have a lot of sex with a man I like. If you want to talk first, Trollope works for me. NYR Box 10307." Thirty years on from divorce, Jane Juska, a former English teacher, decides she has been celibate too long and places a personal ad in The New York Review of Books. When the first package of responses plops into her mail box, she nearly expires from excitement. Being of an academic inclination, she grades potential dates on their way with words. Honest about looks ("what once went up goes down") as well as needs, this go-getting sexagenarian finds no shortage of offers. EH

Wild Boy by Jill Dawson (SCEPTRE £7.99 (291pp))

The image most people carry around of the "Wild Boy of Aveyron" is the dark, spindly creature from Truffaut's 1971 film L'Enfant Sauvage. Jill Dawson's novelistic interpretation is no less startling. A 12-year-old child is found naked in the hills of the Tarn, and taken by a doctor at the National Institute for Deaf Mutes. Is he Rousseau's noble savage, or an abandoned waif? The hero turns out to be not Dr Itard but Mme Guerin, the women who cared for the "wild boy" for 28 years. In a persuasive and thought-provoking novel, Dawson's descriptions of the boy's first bath are heartbreaking. EH

Bound for Glory by Woody Guthrie (PENGUIN MODERN CLASSICS £8.99 (320pp))

The ultimate hobo hero, Woody Guthrie turned his Depression-era drift around an America plagued by poverty and injustice into the fuel of a path-breaking musical career. Without Woody's shining example as a protest troubador with a great lyrical gift, no Dylan; and no Springsteen, either. What's more, he found time (in 1943) to pen this sparklingly fresh and dramatic memoir of life with a guitar on the road, in the bars, and in the box-cars, from his native oil-boom Oklahoma to California and the bright lights of New York. Joe ( Primary Colors) Klein contributes a preface on Woody's "wild, heterodox and overpowering sense of freedom". BT

Blair's Wars by John Kampfner (FREE PRESS £7.99 (401pp))

Now updated, the New Statesman political editor's punchy and perceptive account of the evangelical warrior in No 10 and his crusades will retain its importance during the fallout from this week's Butler report. From Kosovo to Baghdad, Kampfner highlights the mingled streak of "naivety and hubris" that led the PM into so many battle-fronts, both defensible (as in Sierra Leone) and dodgy in every way (Iraq). Well-sourced, revealing proof of how personality can still shape politics. BT

Dude, Where's My Country? by Michael Moore (PENGUIN £7.99 (269pp))

He's big, he's bad, he's noisy and he's extremely pleased with himself. He has good reason to be. The man in the baseball cap is currently wreaking havoc around the Western world with his pen, his camera and his big, big mouth. Michael Moore's Bushwacking methods may have the delicacy of a juggernaut but, boy, are they effective. Most of all, he asks questions so good that they may oust Dubya. "We have" he concludes "a long and proud history of propping up madmen". CP

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
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
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark 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.

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing