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74 arts & entertainment


beyond the front cover Jo Brandon reviews a selection of Autumn book releases.


You Don’t Have to Say by Alan Beard Tindal Street Press, £9.99


A gritty collection of short stories that creeps through blocks of flats, strides across motorways and lingers in alleys. Beard is able to change direction in a single sentence, leading the reader towards the unexpected. In One For the Album a one-night-stand becomes a trek to Welsh caves and in The Heebie-Jeebies two lovers rediscover one another through a haze of memory and drugs. The collection is brought together with themes of dissolving youth, escapism and danger. It’s a great read that explores all the easily miss-able details of being human


Richard by Ben Myers Picador, £12.99


In 1995 Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers disappeared and, despite all the media attention, was never found. Richard explores one of the many possible conclusions to this mystery. Myers so convincingly pulls the reader into the headspace of a man thoroughly disillusioned by fame and by the world in general that it’s easy to forget this is a work of fiction. The reader is spun through the late 80’s and early 90’s, from Wales to Japan, tracking the decline of a man caught living a life of clichéd hedonism. Whether or not you’re a Manic Street Preachers fan this book is bound to incite an interest, not based on hero worship but on the fascination of seeing our heroes unmasked.


It’s Just The Beating Of My Heart by Richard Aronowitz Flambard Press, £8.99


A deceptively paced book that appears to gently introduce the reader to John Stack and the new life he has built for himself since his wife and child left two years ago. It soon becomes apparent however that John is suffering a great deal of emotional turmoil; more then he cares to let on. Between his ever- increasing drinking habits, the closure of his art gallery and the appearance of a mysterious woman in his life the cracks begin to splinter through his veneer. Aronowitz is a skilful writer who is able to snare his readers without alarming them. This is a beautiful novel that will play on the mind a long time after it’s finished.


Micka by Frances Kay Picador, £7.99


Frances Kay successfully creates an adult world through the eyes of children, with all its strange mysticism and unanswered questions. The novel is narrated by 10-year-old Micka, a sensitive and artistic boy brought up in a life of poverty and violence, and 11-year-old Laurie, an alarmingly articulate child who enjoys testing the boundaries of authority and friendship. Laurie thinks he has found a pointing bone, a semi-magical object with the power to bestow death. As they explore their new power experiments have repercussions that will last a lifetime. Though writing about potentially controversial subject matter, Kay handles her debut novel with great skill and compassion.


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