On the Shelf
IT'S difficult to resist a book of Modern Irish Short Stories (Abacus, $100) that includes such varied authors as W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, James Joyce, Flann O'Brien and William Trevor. The book includes an introduction by Anthony Burgess and a brief history of the authors.
The Last Tsar (Arrow, $94) is proclaimed as the book about Nicholas II that couldn't have been written before glasnost It is by Russian playwright Edvard Radzinsky and promises new evidence on those last days at Ekaterinberg.
Winner of the 1992 Booker Prize, Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient (Picador, $72), is now out in paperback. It's a tale of love and confusion at the end of World War II, involving a group of shell-shocked characters.
Also in softback, Ian McEwen's chilling parable Black Dogs (Picador, $68), a study of violence and a 1992 Booker prize nominee; and Simon Winchester's Pacific Nightmare (Pan, $85) a fictional account of what could happen in the Far East after Hongkong ishanded back to China in 1997.
Journalist Andro Linklater was sent to the Iban people of Sarawak to write an article for Time-Life for a series entitled Wild People of the Earth. When the magazine discovered the Iban possessed outboard motors and T-shirts, the tribe were deemed not wild enough. But by that time Mr Linklater was hooked and so he wrote instead Wild People (Abacus Travel $101) an entertaining account of this mismatch of cultural misconceptions.