Tales of Love and Mystery

James Hogg, Author Canongate Books $0 (216p) ISBN 978-0-86241-085-8
Before the Victorian era, when his work was bowdlerized and suppressed, Hogg was a leading literary figure noted for his rustic, full-blooded style. (Byron called him ""rough but racyand welcome.'') This collection of six stories and two poems, none of which has been reprinted in over a century, reintroduces his work, which though tame by today's standards, is remarkably modern and by turns amusing and thought-provoking. In ``The Mistakes of a Night,'' a poem that drifts in and out of Scots dialect, young Geordie Scott mistakenly woos his sweetheart's mother on a dark night and before long ``the day approached/ His widow turn'd a mammy.'' Hogg's other characters are similarly plunged into states of confusion, often in connection with womanizing, from which they emerge wizened but unchastened. Editor Groves provides an excellent introduction and a handy Scots glossary. FebruaryTHE LIGHT AT THE END John Skipp and Craig Spector. Bantam, $3.95 The tradition that first novels are autobiographicalor read soseems to hold even for this vampire story. It is set among a group of scruffy, young, talentless would-be artists in New York City's Greenwich Village who avidly watch bad horror movies and play endless games of Dungeons and Dragons. Their dreams of glory are bizarrely answered when an 800-year-old vampire passes through the city, leaving behind an heir, the nihilistic, megalomaniac graffiti artist Rudy Pasko, who stalks the subway for victims. The 100-page section describing the night-long hunt for Rudy is the novel's one signal success, an exciting chase around Village landmarks and subway stops. Unfortunately the protagonists tend to be as unsavory as the villains, the authors' nightmare vision of New York is so exaggerated it makes monsters superfluous, and the ``gross-out'' butcher-shop violence will turn off as many readers as it turns on. February
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
Paperback - 216 pages - 978-0-86241-103-9
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