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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant debut
I initially read (and reviewed) this novel when it first appeared on kindle. Des Mcanulty had released it independently and it showed! It was a book that badly needed a proper edit. I remarked then how it took the shine from the novel. Two days ago, to my surprise, I was greeted with an e mail advertising a new `Published' version of LIFE IS LOCAL. It was heartening to...
Published 13 months ago by Andrew Cochrane

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Life is Local by Des Mcanulty
This book was a pleasant read. It was good in the sense that it gave a sense of patriotism and compassion to a local Scottish area. It also was emotional and a very refreshing read. It let you get to know the characters so you felt involved in the story.
Published 23 months ago by Elizabeth Nelson


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant debut, 2 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Life is Local (Paperback)
I initially read (and reviewed) this novel when it first appeared on kindle. Des Mcanulty had released it independently and it showed! It was a book that badly needed a proper edit. I remarked then how it took the shine from the novel. Two days ago, to my surprise, I was greeted with an e mail advertising a new `Published' version of LIFE IS LOCAL. It was heartening to see a publishing house had taken a chance on this book and, after reading only three or four chapters, it was worth it. The new edit has ironed out all the niggling problems that beset the first draft. This meant I could relax and enjoy the book for what it really is. It's difficult to sum up in a clever sentence what this strange wee novel is actually about. It centres on the main character Stevie Costello. A complex guy who seems to be adversely suffering from the fact that both his parents left him at a young age.(his mother vanished into thin air and his Dad has since emigrated to Australia ) Although, he tries to deny it, Costello has struck up paternal friendships with the books two supporting characters Stubbsy and Lisa. We join him at the beginning of the book trying to accept the suicide of his ex girlfriend Clare, who happens to be the daughter of the local MSP. At first I thought this was a pointless narrative that had nothing to do with the overall story. However this is where Mcanulty shines as a writer. Just when you think he has wasted your time with an empty character... BANG! he pulls a twist from the bag that takes the story to another level. (LIFE IS LOCAL is awash with potential spoilers so I will be careful)

The books most engaging quality lies in shear beauty of the characters. They speak like you and I. They are imperfect like you and I. They live, love and party and have such endearing qualities that at one point I found myself wishing I was in the pub with them, listening to their chat. By the end of the book I didn't want to say goodbye.

I am delighted this book has been published. The new version has put it right up there with the best. It's a charming book that will make you laugh and cry (anyone who reads this book and doesn't well up slightly when Stevie makes that tearful phone call to his Dad near the end, must be made of stone)A great debut, now lets see what else he's got..
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars stunning characterisation. great story., 2 Jun 2013
By 
colette brown (Strathaven, scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Life is Local (Paperback)
Life is Local is just a wonderful story with some of the best characterisation I have read in a long while. The characters are allowed their own voices and their own language which ranges from intelectual snobbery to truly bonkers Begbie-like, from sweetly innocent to thug. The language changes throughout the book with dialect becoming more intense as intense situations develop.
This book is clever but not in a way that makes you too aware of it. You are just drawn into the story, the people, the area and the emotions. It is violent and disgusting, earthy and,in its own way , spiritual. I loved it!
I hope the North Lanarkshire dialect doesn't put anyone off from reading this stunning book.( Who would have missed Sunset Song just because it was in Doric!) This could be set in any ex steel town in any area that has been devastated by Thatcherite policies. The people are damaged not just by poverty but by lack of hope.Yet, they thrive and fight on. The community is almost incestious and everyone knows everybody else. This aspect, in the book,is sometimes welcome but at other times , very sinister. Some people escape, others stay to enjoy the warmth of familiarity. You will have to read it to see who does what!Believe me , it will be worth it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all North Lanarkshire natives, 16 April 2012
This review is from: LIFE IS LOCAL (Kindle Edition)
As a Motherwell lad, and a keen reader of Scottish authors, Des's debut novel has been on my radar for some time. At last I have had the chance to have a read, doing so in one sitting. Well two, as I was dragged away to my in laws for Sunday lunch. The fact that I couldn't wait to get back home was due to LIL having me hooked rather than spending my day off with the in-laws (honest).

Des has created some real, likeable, interesting characters (and also a few villainous chancers), who are indeed very much like the punters who live in the Motherwell area. Stubbsy is a revelation, stealing the scene at every turn. His vicious retribution within Wishaw Sports Centre will live long in my memory.

The book is peppered with some very clever insights regarding the familiar landmarks, the description of Muirhouse towers being an 'awkward handshake between Wishaw and Motherwell' I found particularly amusing. Considering the clientèle who populate these buildings, it is a fantastic bit of irony. The descriptions of the local pubs are also spot on. Anyone who visited the Bullfrog pre 2006 will instantly be transported back there.

The story does not follow an obvious trail at all and there are some quite brutal, to put it mildly, shocks along the way. I was literally in tears of laughter one moment and then numb with shock the next, one part in particular having me close to tears.

I did take exception to the Portrayal of Motherwell fans a bit, the first 'Well fan encountered being a 'spazi on the bus' who our protagonist Stevie displays 'mock horror' at learning of their football allegiance. The second being the partner of a bigoted, perverted, almost rapist who is a member of the orange order. Des more than made up for this though with a hilarious scene toward the end of the book involving two Celtic fans, wranglers and adidas samba indeed!!! Considering that is still the staple uniform of 40 something men in Motherwell and Wishaw, I wont be able walk past the 'Tav or the Keys ever again without getting that mental picture in my head. Brilliant and it made me see fun was indeed being poked at all sides .

All who have experienced Wishaw, Motherwell,Hamilton, and the wee areas in between really need to read Life is Local. You will fully appreciate the reality of the story and being transported to the hangouts of your youth. Really well done Mr McAnulty. Now looking forward to reading Straight, just need to find the time and dodge the pesky in-laws.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive, 31 Dec 2011
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This review is from: LIFE IS LOCAL (Kindle Edition)
I grew up in Motherwell, Netherton/Wishaw, & went to school with Des's family. Des describes realistically the familiar places I know so well. His lovable characters are just like the people I know & who live in this part of the world. I can't help wondering who some of them might be based on, & even recognise myself in some aspects in more than one of the individuals, as I'm sure his own friends do also. The book is not obvious at all & there are a few shocks along the way that I didn't see coming. To be honest I couldn't put it down & was desperate to find out what would happen next when each chapter ended. He had me hooked from the start. I laughed out loud & even cried a little. The editing could have been a little more polished, but not bad from a lad that considers himself "a frustrated, dyslexic writer". Can't wait to start his new one "Straight", (which really I'm Well Jell I didn't think to write, Lol).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LIFE IS LOCAL DES MCANULTY, 22 Sep 2011
This review is from: LIFE IS LOCAL (Kindle Edition)
LIFE IS LOCAL is a brilliant novel. I could not put it down and finished it in days. Like most Scottish writers MCANULTY writes about his home town (MOTHERWELL) with unrelenting verve and passion. It isn't perfect,(like most Indie authors on Kindle Mcanulty's work suffers from a lack of editorial professionalism) and it does lean rather heavily on the styles of Irvine Welsh and Alan Warner at times.That aside Mcanulty has created in the likes of Stevie, Stubbsy and the impossibly sweet Allistiar, characters who will live with the reader for ever...overall a damn impressive first novel!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 30 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Life Is Local (Kindle Edition)
This book fabulously captures the spirit of my home town. The characters are believable and the story is wonderful. I look forward to reading more from this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 18 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Life Is Local (Kindle Edition)
This is a brilliant book, the most enjoyable book I've read in a while.The characters just leapt off the page, and I could imagine this as a storyline for a film. I'm surprised it hasn't got more reviews. It is well written, flows well, easy to read, and I look forward to reading more from Des McAnulty
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A love letter to Motherwell..., 15 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Life is Local (Paperback)
Scottish authors are by far and away my favourite breed. Ask me who I'm into and I'll throw back the likes of Chris Brookmyre, David Ross, Mark Wilson and above all others, Irvine Welsh. The tales they tell are usually honest, uncompromising, outlandish, hilarious and violent. More often than not they are all of the above at the same time, with a great taste in music to boot, and for the most part Des McAnulty stands shoulder to shoulder with all of the aforementioned authors in this debut novel. In short, I liked this book a lot.

Our main man is Stevie Costello. An intelligent, ambitious and good looking guy with a close knit circle of friends including the loyal hard man Stubbsy, and sisterly flatmate Lisa. He's still reeling from the suicide of his ex-girlfriend Clare, the abandonment of he and his dad by his mother, and then the subsequent emmigration to Australia by his dad. Costello ambles through life with a gnawing sense that he's yet to hit the pinnacle of his existence, and that he must leave his hometown of Motherwell in order to achieve it. He feels dragged down by the place, much to the chagrin of Stubbsy, a man who sees the romance in every little dank street and corner. Dotted in and around the story are Alistair, the workaholic eunuch and his stunning but sexually frustrated wife Marie, cheeky wideboys Eddie and Gerry, and incidentals such as Stevie's counsellor and others that help to put more meat on its bones. Stevie is a man that struggles to show emotion, and it's this that drives the plot along, added to the fact that he's an apparent bad luck charm for all of his friends but he's determined to change that, one way or another.

Okay, so Life is Local is essentially a love letter to Motherwell. This is another thing I like about Scottish authors, and Des McAnulty is no different. He writes so unashamedly with both affection and disdain in equal measures for his hometown, and it becomes as much a character as the living breathing and speaking people that wander in and out of this novel. It feels almost as if the town is the embarassing family member that you're totally entitled to take the mickey out of, but woe betide an outsider who feels like they could do the same, because you'll defend that family member with your life. As far as the story goes, there's no major crime, no flying saucers, no talking trees. There's just life. McAnulty flits in and out of first and third person perspectives with ease, and has created lots of characters who are likeable and funny. The affection he lathers upon the leads is infectious, and whilst Stubbsy the hardman beats yet another victim to a pulp, you can't help but egg him on, for his motives feel selfless, and justified. I personally related to Stevie Costello a hell of a lot, but that's the beauty of it. Des McAnulty has created a character for everybody. The thoughts and dialogue are bang on the money, and nothing feels fake or forced. I could feel the influence of the likes of Irvine Welsh coursing through the veins of the book, and whilst that can only be a good thing, Life is Local has its own voice, and its own opinions.

My only gripe is the twist. I won't spoil anything for future readers, but there's a twist that, although it came totally out of the blue and straight from leftfield, which deserves kudos in itself, it seemed unnecessary and implausible compared to the rest of the story. Don't get me wrong, I really like implausible, but it seemed out of place for this reader with the rest of the story, and it left me feeling somewhat deflated after such a great book.

Overall then? Brilliant. Des McAnulty has a great style, a way with words, and a deep affection for his hometown. The twist lets it down, but because the rest of the book is so good, I'm not going to let it spoil my day. Seriously, pick it up and fall in love with Motherwell.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive!, 2 Jun 2013
This review is from: Life is Local (Paperback)
I was pretty impressed with this for a first novel. The characters are likeable ( in the most part ) and believable. Residing in Motherwell myself the places and people are true to life.
Enjoyed this book immensely and would urge you to give it a try. The Lanarkshire patter might not be familiar at first but you will be hooked!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Dead Brilliant, 31 May 2013
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This review is from: Life Is Local (Kindle Edition)
I could not put this book down once i picked it up.. The " banter " and " patter " can only be appreciated by the Scots.. I found myself loving every character in this book.. I laughed out loud and cried out loud.. 5 stars!!!!
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Life Is Local
Life Is Local by Des McAnulty
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