2001 Greatest Hits: Books - between the Covers; Andrea Henry the A List's Book Reviewer Gives Her Verdict on the Year: We've Had Lots of Great Novels. Plus Loads of Fiction That Should Have Been Pulped

The Mirror (London, England), December 28, 2001 | Go to article overview

2001 Greatest Hits: Books - between the Covers; Andrea Henry the A List's Book Reviewer Gives Her Verdict on the Year: We've Had Lots of Great Novels. Plus Loads of Fiction That Should Have Been Pulped


Byline: Andrea Henry

The good news is that 2001 has been a wonderful year for old-fashioned storytelling. But be warned - for every Joanne Harris of Chocolat fame there's a chick-fic writer churning out the same old twentysomething trash. The trick is never to judge a book by its girlie pink cover. So here to help you is The A List's pick of what sizzled and what fizzled this year...

WHAT'S HOT FIVE QUARTERS OF THE ORANGE by Joanne Harris (Black Swan, pounds 6.99)

The author of Chocolat - brilliantly adapted into an Oscar-nominated film - returns to France for the quietly dramatic tale of middle-aged Framboise. Going back to her childhood home to open a restaurant, the memories of what she and her brother got up to during the Occupation resurface. She recalls how they were charmed by a charismatic German soldier and unwittingly sealed the fate of their fellow villagers. Characteristically full of the flavour of France, this is an engrossing story about the loss of innocence.

THE FALLS by Ian Rankin (Orion, pounds 6.99)

This marked the return of Inspector Rebus, as immortalised by John Hannah on TV. Capable of sniffing out a murder at 50 paces, this time the dour detective is on the case of a missing student. Lots of suspects squirm out of the woodwork, including her boyfriend, and there are links to a series of disappearances from 30 years back. In Rebus, Rankin has created one of the best copper heroes for years - brooding, moody and smoulderingly appealing. Set against an equally dark Edinburgh backdrop, this is literary drama at its best.

A DAY LATE AND A DOLLAR SHORT by Terry McMillan (Viking, pounds 16.99)

The Waiting To Exhale author delivers another big-hearted saga in the story of the dysfunctional Price family. Told by Viola, the matriarch who's as tough as old boots but pure mush underneath, her estranged husband and all five of their children, it reveals the reality of their relationships with each other when they're thrown together for the first time in ages. Beware. This has one of those death scenes that'll choke you up. Don't read it on the bus - it'll be embarrassing - but do read it.

MADONNA: AN INTIMATE BIOGRAPHY by J Randy Taraborrelli (Sidgwick & Jackson, pounds 16.99) Taraborrelli's rummage through Madge's knicker drawer puts Andrew Morton's musings on the Queen Of Pop to shame. This is the Madonna biography - all you need to know, from the death of her mother when the star was just five, right through the brash and brazen pointy-bra years, to her marriage to Guy Ritchie. A rags to riches story full of fantastic anecdotes revealing Madonna ("Do I look as though I need a last name?") as the supreme bitch.

WHAT'S NOT FOUR BLONDES by Candace Bushnell (Abacus, pounds 6.99)

The anticipation for Bushnell's first book since Sex And The City was palpable. But the four blondes in question prove no match for Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte. They're ditzy, desperate, depressing and as charmless as the snapshots of the lives Bushnell writes for them. The message is that you can't be happy unless you're thin, rich, beautiful and have a man. Frankly, it's not what any self-respecting woman wants to hear. If this is what it means to be blonde, prepare for a rush on dark hair dye. …

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2001 Greatest Hits: Books - between the Covers; Andrea Henry the A List's Book Reviewer Gives Her Verdict on the Year: We've Had Lots of Great Novels. Plus Loads of Fiction That Should Have Been Pulped
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