Hugh MacDiarmid wrote that if Dante had visited Dundee before he wrote the Divine Comedy, he'd have stuck another layer in Hell. If Borges had grown up in a council flat in Dundee, he might just have written stories like these. The Smiling School for Calvinists is a series of hilarious, surreal, poignant, remarkable stories linking a spurious history of the fishing industry in Broughty Ferry to an equally spurious description of life in the Dundee multis - the Blackness Towers. But this book is much more than a collection of funny tales. This is magical realism brought to Tayside. Duncan uses job descriptions, spoof newspaper articles and extracts from a museum catalogue to construct a fictitious history of Dundee, linking both the Broughty Ferry fishermen and the dour, hopeful, hopeless inhabitants of the tower blocks to their Pictish past. In the story 'Trance' Duncan might well be describing his own book: 'A funny story. A story aboot love. A story somebody told ye that never happened, but wiz true jist the same. A story within another story.' And I think that's what made these tales so memorable for me. However surreal, however funny they might be, they have an inner truthfulness which lifts them far above the ordinary. Read them and (assuming you've done it once) you'll never quite look at Dundee the same way again. Oh and by the way, if you do read this book, as I recommend you should, you'll find out exactly where Hell is, Virgil or no Virgil.