on 18 June 2001
The book-publishing debut of this new Scottish author plunges the reader straight into a breathless, heady brew of "Glesga" (Glasgow) dialect right out of "Rab C. Nesbit" or Billy Connolly, spiced with the odd dash or three of flowing English prose. Anyone who has listened to, and enjoyed, the tongue of these two characters will relish this volume of 18 short stories, delivered in a narrative style which makes the voices leap from the page to become real people, talking loudly and clearly into your ears and inside your head. And, make no mistake. These are real people with fully developed personalities and backgrounds. The characters in short stories can often be flat and two dimensional, like cartoon or comic book creatures. Not so with Ms. Donovan's approach. It is hard not to be touched by the dignity and humour, the passion and sheer determination displayed by the inhabitants of these pages.
From the dyslexic schoolgirl, struggling against the ignorance of her teachers in "Hieroglyphics", to the old lady, bravely facing up to the restrictions of a body which doesn't "work properly any more" in "Zimmerobics", Donovan applies a confident, immaculate style combined with a compassionate and ultimately uplifting tone.
One of the stories, "All That Glisters", first appeared in a major Scottish Sunday newspaper when the author won the prestigious "Macallan/Scotland on Sunday" award for best short story in 1997. Since then her work has been included in a number of anthologies and broadcast on BBC radio. She was also a Canongate Prize winner in 1999 -- A notable start for a new talent.
This book will make easy, enjoyable and thought provoking reading for almost anyone born "north of the border". For the rest, the "Glesga" pages may be a little bit more challenging, but there are also many pages of straightforward English. Wherever you live, I am sure you will find the book to be "A Right, Rivetin' Read"!
on 11 May 2014
This is an excellent and very varied selection of short stories and if you are like me, and enjoy short story writing,
then you will want to read- and re-read- these stories for as long as your eyes can work!
Slainthe, El Rod.