Time Out flicks through new boks to hit the shelves in Bahrain
Time Out Bahrain staff
The Angel’s Game
Carlos Ruiz Zafón 4/5 News of a follow-up to a much-loved debut always provokes as much fear as delight: so many expectations, so much room for disappointment. This book is billed as a prequel to Zafón’s Shadow Of The Wind and does contain some familiar places (it’s also set in Barcelona, but 28 years earlier) and characters, but as a novel, it comfortably stands alone.
David Martin, contractually obliged to churn out endless pulp fiction novels, and dying from an inoperable brain tumour to boot, is ideally placed to succumb to a devil’s blandishments – especially when this Satan also takes the form of a publisher, Corelli. Martin will write the bible of a new religion. Corelli may then achieve world domination. As for Martin’s stingy publishers – they’ll get what’s coming to them.
Zafón has great fun with his blatantly self-referential subject matter, poking fun at the relationship between author, publisher and critic. But the playfulness evaporates under the pressure of an unnecessarily tidy ending. Rachel Platt Weidenfeld & Nicolson BD7.8 Available to buy in stores.
The Supremes: A Saga Of Motown Dreams, Success And Betrayal
Mark Ribowsky 3/5 According to the publishers, The Supremes is an attempt to set the record straight regarding the triumphs and tantrums that characterised the reign of this wildly successful ’60s girl band. But which record? After all, much of what happened at Motown, particularly regarding the label’s great love/hate affair between founder Berry Gordy and Diana Ross, has passed into the mist s of pop folklore absorbed osmotically by all pop fans. Ribowsky states that his main target for correction is Dreamgirls, the somewhat fictionalised but wholly successful movie which earned Jennifer Hudson an Oscar. And in a way, The Supremes functions well as a companion piece to the movie. Although it’s perhaps not quite as life affirming.
The book’s USP is that it tells the story from the points of view of the supporting characters, with Ross and Gordy et al appearing only as ghost-quotes from previous interviews. Although that might usually be considered a drawback, the knowledge that this was produced without La Ross and her lawyers looming behind the author’s chair actually makes it more believable.
Although there are plenty of newly revealed facts and perspectives for Motown nerds to geek out over, The Supremes is perhaps most interesting for its grasp of period minutiae – the pre-fame years of The Supremes’ and Gordy’s lives are told with a vivid attention to detail. It also capably lays bare the gulf between Florence Ballard’s desire to be an artist and Ross’s outright need to be a star. Presumably the book ended up with its clunky appellation after Ribowsky discovered Diana Ross: Diva-zilla was already taken. Eddy Lawrence Da Capo BD6.8 Available to order from stores.