September Publications

A hopeless football team sees its luck turn around when an amazing computer system starts calling the plays in SuperFan, a wacky sports fantasy by Lyn A. Sherwood. The Sacramento Senators haven't won a game in two years, and coach Digger Totten is about to give up. Then he receives a mysterious phone call from a woman who claims the Senators can win the World Bowl—with the help of her computer creation, SuperFan. The final outcome is not quite what Digger expected, but all reap their just rewards at the end of this occasionally crass but lively drama. (Acme Press [P.O. Box 1702, Westminster, Md. 21158], $23.95 310p ISBN 0-9629880-6-5)

Death seeps its wily way into every corner of the living world in this lyrical novel by Mozambican writer Mia Couto. At the start of Under the Frangipani, the narrator, a dead man, is assigned to occupy the body of a police inspector who is investigating the murder of the director of an old people's refuge housed in a former Portuguese fort. Dreamily narrated, but sharp in outline, Couto's novel is a richly rewarding real-life fable set far from the world as Western readers know it. Trans. from the Portuguese by David Brookshaw. (Serpent's Tail, $15 paper 160p ISBN 1-85242-729-9)

Austria during the Nazi Anschluss is the setting for The Tortoises, by Veza Canetti (1897—1963), wife of writer Elias Canetti. Written in 1939 and published only now in English, the autobiographical novel tells the story of writer Andreas Kain and his wife, Eva, who, while waiting for visas to leave the country, are tormented by a Brown Shirt named Pilz, who is billeted in their apartment. Though the prose is stilted, the story is compelling, and the book's literary pedigree should attract attention. Trans. from the German by Ian Mitchell. (New Directions, $24.95 224p ISBN 0-8112-1468-0)

Equipped with absurdist twists, the 18 short stories of Dreams, Demons and Desire by British novelist Wendy Perriam (Lying, etc.) are simply written tales of modern (and not so modern) malaise. In "Angelfish," a disgruntled lodger turns his rage on a trio of unlucky tropical fish; in "Dudley," a husband and wife dream of the dog they love more than they love each other; in "Paraquat," an enormously fat painter devours 12 loaves of bread. This is Perriam's first story collection, and while her prose is polished, she sometimes falters in her plotting. (Peter Owen [Dufour, dist.], $19.95 paper 238p ISBN 0-7206-1109-1)

Translated into storybook form, Sophocles' Antigone is retold here by Gita Wolf and Sirish Rao and gorgeously illustrated by Indrapramit Roy. The art—bold red, black and white images inspired by the pottery of ancient Athens—is screen-printed on handmade paper, and the book is handcrafted. The stiff retelling of the tragic play is less captivating, but this is a handsome gift version of the classic story. (J. Paul Getty, $18.95 34p ISBN 0-89236-637-0)