issue 29: March - April 2002 


World Book Day in Barcelona 2000Editors’ World Book Day Recommendations

World Book Day (April 23rd) is now an official event thanks to the Catalan government pushing UNESCO to recognize it. Here in Barcelona the tradition is to exchange books and roses and the streets are turned into a huge book-cum-flower stall. TBR can’t help with the roses but here are some book ideas from the recent past ...


Pandora’s Handbag: Adventures in the Book World by Elizabeth Young: Serpent’s Tail, U.K., 2001
A collection of articles taken from various UK newspapers and magazines over the past ten years written by the late counter-cultural literary critic Elizabeth Young. Her articles defending such mainstream writers as Bret Easton Ellis and A.M. Homes, and her intelligent reviews of avant-garde authors such as Dennis Cooper and Stewart Home are readable, entertaining and highly insightful. For lovers of cutting-edge fiction, ideas and issues.


Napoleon and Wellington by Andrew Roberts: Weidenfield & Nicolson, 2002
The angle is what the two thought of each other. For example, Wellington had an erotic picture of Napoleon’s sister in his bedroom, a naked statue of her famous brother at the bottom of the stairs, and he seduced two of Napoleon’s ex-mistresses. Then it gets bitchy.

Cogito, Ergo Sum: The Life of René Descartes by Richard Watson: David R. Godine, publisher
Scrounging, animal-hating philosopher provides backdrop for Watson and wife, Pat, to tour Europe; with very readable results.


Crooked River Burning by Mark Winegardner: Harcourt, 2001
What Jonathan Franzen set out to do in The Corrections is nicely accomplished in this novel, set in mid-20th century Cleveland.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel: Alfred A. Knoph, Canada, 2001
A young Indian boy finds himself on a lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific with five other survivors from a shipwreck: all animals, including a Bengal tiger. An amazing story, full of high seas "tiger taming" and adventure, with an ending you will never forget.

The Wrong Boy by Willy Russell: Black Swan 2001 (Paperback)
This is so-o-o good. Maybe a bit culturally baffling for those outside the UK and unfamiliar with the Smiths, but if you liked the movies based on Russell’s stageplays Educating Rita or Shirley Valentine you will love his first novel of a teenage boy’s letters to Morrissey.

My Little Blue Dress by Bruno Maddox: Viking, 2001
Sant Jordi’s Day (April 23, aka World Book Day) is basically the Catalan Valentine’s day and Maddox’s book is the best love story, so far, of the 21st Century. It is original and also wonderfully odd.

The Cheese Monkeys: A Novel in Two Semesters by Chip Kidd: Scribner 2001; UK 2002
Reviewed this issue. A must for anyone touched by the art/design world.

My Loose Thread by Dennis Cooper: Canongate, UK, 2002
OK, it’s not available until May, but put your order in on April 23rd. Cooper is at his best with this latest, which captures the skewed thinking of sexually obsessed, confused, fucked-up teens, many of whom are followers of the Columbine killers. If they haven’t been physically abused, then they’ve been exposed to a world (school killings; guns; parents who don’t care; freaky people who set up Internet scams) that adds to the insanity.


The Death of Sweet Mister by Daniel Woodrell: No Exit Press, U.K. 2002
Reviewed this issue. Tight ‘white trash’ domestic drama with a sting.

Ghost of a Flea by James Sallis: No Exit Press, U.K., 2002
Last (?) of a series. The most laid-back ‘detective’ novel ever and also very moving.Set around New Orleans.

© 2002 The Barcelona Review

tbr 29              march - abril  2002


Michel Faber: Some Rain Must Fall
Jackie Kay: Physics and Chemistry
Mark Winegardner: Halftime
Jean Harfenist: Pixie Dust
pick from back issues

Thomas Glave:Whose Song?

-Interview Michel Faber
-Quiz Joyce Carol Oates - answers
-Book Reviews Elizabeth Young, Steve Aylett, Daniel Woodrell...
-Regular Features Book Reviews (all issues)
TBR Archives
(authors listed alphabetically)

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