The Western Wild

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - Wine and Dine -

By Sa­man­tha Har­vey Pub­lished in hard­back by Jonathan Cape

Priced (ebook £9.99).

Avail­able now £16.99

When the rich­est man in Oakham - a vividly imag­ined, late 15th cen­tury Som­er­set vil­lage - is swept away and lost in the river one Shrove­tide morn­ing, it falls to bu­colic pri­est John Reve to in­ves­ti­gate his dis­ap­pear­ance. In her fourth novel, Sa­man­tha Har­vey, a se­nior lec­turer in creative writ­ing at Bath Univer­sity and the au­thor of the Booker Prize longlisted The Wilder­ness, pours a mod­ern style into her God-fear­ing tale of guilt and sus­pi­cion that sees Reve con­duct most of his sleuthing from the dis­com­fort of a rudi­men­tary con­fes­sional. The dis­ap­pear­ance of the worldly Thomas New­man has per­va­sive con­se­quences for Reve and his con­gre­ga­tion, as he was fund­ing the build­ing of a bridge to an ex­pand­ing world a metaphor per­haps for his own en­light­en­ment amid folk ob­sessed with the cy­cle of sin and for­give­ness. Har­vey's novel even­tu­ally jumps back in time to re­veal the truth be­hind New­man's fate, but it is the steady un­rav­el­ling of Reve's ab­so­lute faith in the old ways that leaves the deep­est im­pres­sion. 8/10 Re­view by James Cann

Fea­tur­ing Ali As­tro & Mickey - A real Labour of Love Here's an al­bum with bite, al­though per­haps more for what it stands for than its sound, which is as smooth and nos­tal­gic as one would ex­pect. The break­away trio - com­pris­ing of UB40's found­ing mem­bers Camp­bell, As­tro and Mickey Virtue - has pro­duced a con­tin­u­a­tion of their Labour of Love se­ries, which in­cluded three al­bums re­leased between 1983 and 1998, and com­pletely ig­nores Labour Of Love IV, re­leased in 2010 and fronted by Ali's es­tranged brother Duncan.

This new col­lec­tion of cov­ers in­cludes clas­sics such as Ste­vie Won­der's A Place In The Sun and How Could I Leave by Den­nis Brown, so there is lit­tle to not en­joy. Fans will ap­pre­ci­ate Camp­bell's dis­tinct vo­cals and their un­wa­ver­ing light reg­gae style, which is as preva­lent as ever af­ter nearly 40 years.

While this ef­fort may not pro­duce a hit as big as Red Red Wine, from the first Labour Of Love al­bum, it's a strong com­pi­la­tion and apt homage to UB40's defin­ing era: the 1980s. High­lights are their ver­sion of Cul­ture's In­ter­na­tional Herb and the punchy Un­der Me Sleng Teng, orig­i­nally by Wayne Smith. As the ti­tle sug­gests, it really is a real labour of love. Ali

7/10 Re­view by Lucy Map­stone

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