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Whose Turn for the Stairs? [Paperback]

Robert Douglas
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

18 Mar 2010

This is an utterly charming story about twelve families and their tightly knit street in 1950s Maryhill. Following the end of the war, the close rebuilds its ties and the strong sense of community and friendly neighbourhood bonds are soon back in place. There is young love for Rhea and Robert; a surprising new start for James; a change of direction for George; and all overseen by the matriarch of the street - Granny Thomson. And of course, all buoyed up by a big helping of Scottish humour and strength of spirit. Yet it is all not perfect in their world: the families have to deal with poverty, religious bigotry, racism, heartbreak, lies, violence and death.

But the powerful friendships cannot ultimately be broken. In Robert Douglas's first novel, he recreates a time and place particular to Glasgow but to which everyone will relate.

Frequently Bought Together

Whose Turn for the Stairs? + Staying On Past the Terminus (18 Dalbeattie Street 2) + Night song of the last tram: A Glasgow childhood
Price For All Three: 18.57

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Scotland (18 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755318927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755318926
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 19.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 160,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Douglas retired aged fifty-five in 1994. He intended to paint, write short stories and lie about the house watching old films. A one-off article he wrote about six weeks spent with a condemned man in Bristol prison led to him being told 'You should write'. Three volumes of autobiography followed detailing his life as a miner, dock worker, doss-house resident, soldier, prison screw and survivor. For this debut novel he returns to the lost Glasgow of trams and tenements.

He hasn't painted for years.

Product Description


'An outstanding novel with a cast of characters so beautifully drawn that turning the last page feels like flitting out of 18 Dalbeattie Street' (Daily Record)

'Pure dead brilliant, so it is... a rare old read for folk that were round and about in the Forties and Fifties' (Edinburgh Evening News)

'Douglas's prose is simple and charming... this novel will appeal to fans of Douglas's previous trips down memory lane' (Scottish Review of Books)

'Echoes the bygone charm and ingrained hardship of growing up at a time when rationing and families living in single end tenements were commonplace, yet laughter never seemed in short supply' (Evening Times)

'It's a braw read!' (Hexham Courant)

'The literary equivalent of a hot water bottle' (Historical Novels Review)

Book Description

A tale of family, community and strength of spirit

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
I am someone who tends to go off on tangents when it comes to books, and the tangent I am on at the moment is Glasgow. Music wise Glasgow has given me the incomparable Paul Buchanan (the Blue Nile) and Craig Armstrong and I am now finding that the many talents of the 'Weedjie's' also includes some excellent writers. I started out by reading 'No Mean City' which despite the time lapse since it was written is still a very enjoyable book today - although it took me a while to work out the Glasgow slang for Style - Paraffin Oil! I enjoyed it so much that I started to look for other books about Glasgow to read and came across 'The Night Song of the Last Tram'. Loved it and immediately ordered the other two books in Mr. Douglas's autobiographical trilogy. I quickly devoured these and moved on the to the novel 'Whose Turn Is It For The Stairs?'. I have laughed, cried and been thoroughly transported by all four books. I suppose to get the full effect you need to have been around when people in terraced houses 'donkey' stoned the steps (Salfordian by birth), black leaded the grates, hung washing on the rack in the kitchen and on a cold winter's night was a grateful recipient of dad's army greatcoat on top of the bed ... I'm not really that old - honest!

Robert Douglas is an outstanding story teller, every character and single end comes to life in your imagination. I now feel I should visit Glasgow, although the tenements have gone there seems to be a wealth of interesting things to see and do. Now that my imagination has been captured, I hope Mr. Douglas will hurry up with the next novel - I can nae wait!
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read 7 Sep 2009
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Robert Douglas's three volumes of autobiography I knew this would be a wonderful read and I was not disappointed. It is a lovely story full of very strong interesting characters-most of whom you warm to immediately. There is also a very nasty character but you just hope justice will be done. There is romance, friendship, poverty and hardship too, and the wonderful community spirit of people living together in a close knit community which sadly has been lost in this modern world. A truly entertaining and fabulous read from a first class author who is also one of the nicest people in the writing world.I cannot wait for the second volume next year and I highly recommend this to everyone.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories 3 Oct 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Purchased this book for an elderly aunts birthday.
A great read if you have "any" association with living in a tenement flat especially in Glasgow.
That saying was said so many times even in my childhood and yes I did have to take "my" turn at doing my mothers' stairs.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whose turn for the stairs 11 Feb 2011
By Smudge
An excellent read its a perfect reflection of a year in the life of the families in a Glasgow tenemnet, while you read you can see and feel the places and if you have lived in a tenement as the book says we all can recogonise the people. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to laugh & cry on the same page its wonderfulWhose Turn for the Stairs?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whose turn for the stairs 18 Nov 2010
This is an excellent book, evoking all sorts of memories. The short chapters are ideal for bedtime reading as there is not the temptation to carry on reading too long, but looking forward to the next " dip-in"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Let me say i have read Roberts first book and wanted to read this one straight away. my interest was to see what happened to robert, and, because i have worked in the prison which robert served his time!! let me say, that i felt i was on the wings with him. i could see where he was, watched him check his prisoners, so so real... in the title to this review, you will see i have written '' as it was'' in prison. i was suprised how robert described the officers and himself, being violent to the prisoners. let me say, that i was a registered nurse in this prison and others, and never once witnessed the physical punishments he states in his book. robert was talking about prison life in the 1960s. prison has changed since his officer days..robert talks about his married life and his discrepancies with other women. he talks about the pubs and officers club, i can see it all. prison humour..... i did enjoy this book anyone who has read 'night song of the last tram'' will want to read this too. i enjoyed this book too. but not as much as the first, childhood memories, his mum, etc. but read it, please, and then i read the next one ...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Era Long Gone 19 May 2010
This book is a wee treasure,it took me back to my days of living up the close.
Nostalgia in a big way. Felt all the characters in the book were your own neighbours with which you laughed and cried.
Highly recommend as a great read that you won't want to put down.
Have read Roberts other three books which I enjoyed immensely
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whose Turn for the Stairs 13 Oct 2010
An excellant read, which brought back memories of living on the edge of Maryhill in the late '40's. The book bring Glasgow to life. A great addition to the other books by Robert Douglas.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Enjoyed this story about life in a Glasgow tenement
Published 4 days ago by mrs maureen mcinally
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Keeps getting better
Published 8 days ago by Joe McAllister
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read .
A great read it takes you back . I could imagine how it was in my grans days . I would recommended .
Published 2 months ago by cat
5.0 out of 5 stars this the 4th book by Robert
i never really read books but if someone says this is good i will read it Robert was recommended
i have read Roberts 3 autobiography's and his 3 fiction books i have read all... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Fluffy
This book was ok but if you want a real feeling for the times get Colin Macfarlane's The Real Gorbals Story, No Mean Glasgow and the brilliant Gorbals Diehards. Read more
Published 4 months ago by John
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book
Highly recommend this book. I read it within a few days, I didn't want to put it down. I really enjoyed the glaswegian dialect since im scottish myself.
Published 4 months ago by t harvey
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!
Great book, he captures laughter, tears, emotion, through every character. Very easy to read. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down.
Published 5 months ago by Mazz
5.0 out of 5 stars good read
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, brought back memories of tenement living. Anyone who has lived in a tenement will relate to the characters
Published 5 months ago by joyci
5.0 out of 5 stars you will be there in the tenement block with this book.
all this series are so believable you feel as though you were there with the writer best read I've had for years.
Published 5 months ago by Jwjbourne
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Bought this book for my friend who lives in swindon, she misses Glasgow and this book brought back memories
For her
Published 7 months ago by james bradley
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