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Mary's the Name Paperback – 29 Jan 2017
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About the Author
Ross Sayers writes contemporary fiction which explores friendship, family ties and morality with humour, unique character voices and pared-back prose. He graduated from the University of Stirling in 2014, with a BA in English Studies, and graduated again in 2015 with a M.Litt in Creative Writing. His stories and poems have featured in magazines such as Quotidian and Octavius, and his short story, ‘Dancin’ is currently used on West College Scotland’s Higher English course.
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The story is told through the eyes of an eight year old Scottish girl, Mary. This unique perspective on the world sets the tone of the book; a humorous and warm-hearted observation of how one quick witted child sees her world, and the adults in it. I was concerned that writing in this style throughout might jar, but the story flows along quickly. I was reminded of the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime, which has a similarly unique and immersive narrative style.
The book is also sprinkled with subtle cultural references, which adds to a feeling of familiarity. An enjoyable story, which I would recommend highly. I look with interest to what comes next.
The setting adds to this juxtaposition of surface-level confection and underlying grime - most of the action takes place in the picture-postcard setting of Portree, with its pastel-painted houses along the harbour, so when crime and violence and death intrude, it's even more shocking. (I grew up in Portree, so the depiction of the village made me feel all nostalgic!)
To tell a story like this through the eyes of a child is inspired. The charm and humour of the narrator, her childish enthusiasms and concerns, and her limited understanding of just how horrible things are getting, produce real dramatic tension.
An excellent debut. Sayers is a writer to watch.
Granpa is portrayed as both hero and villain but he cares for Mary as best he can. Often witty, sometimes sad but altogether it's a very pleasant read. I couldn't leave it down for long. Highly recommended.
I'll have to "make do" with anything else he writes in the meantime :-)
Recommended to just about everybody I know. And those I don't.