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Near Neighbours Paperback – 3 Jun 1999

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Paperback, 3 Jun 1999
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (3 Jun. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099272679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099272670
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,079,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Gordon Legge was brought up in Grangemouth. He has published two novels and one previous collection of stories. His work was represented in the recent Children of Albion Rovers anthology.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Gordon Legge was described once as having "an ear like a recording angel". How right a description that was, for here - in his second collection of short stories - he has captured the essence and dialogue of small town life and love as only he can.
The stories, more ambitious and more bizarre than his previous collection, also bring more warmth and heart into his writing, particularly in Pop Life (about three record playing, list making friends) where he establishes himself as a rival to the Nick Hornby crown.
Legge is carving a neat niche for his writing, as the voice of the disaffected, urban, small-town individual, who enjoys football and music and the pub and signs on every week. Long may he continue.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars 20 Mostly Excellent Scottish Short Stories 26 May 2006
By A. Ross - Published on
Format: Paperback
I first came across Legge via his brilliant story "Pop Life" in the seminal "Children of Albion Rovers" anthology of (then) new Scottish writing. That led me to his excellent novel "The Shoe" and his 1997 short story collection "In Between Talking About the Football." Legge's nimble stories about everyday people (mostly men) who love birds, booze, blether, and football place him firmly in the camp of new Scots writers such as Irvine Welsh, Alan Warner, and Duncan McLean. And like those writers, there's gentle humor and a touch of the absurd in much of his work as well as a keen ear for dialogue, turns of phrase, and slang.

The twenty stories here only occupy a little more than 200 pages, and most are only 5-10 pages or so, more sketches or vignettes than anything else. There seems to be a kind of tradition of this kind of micro-fiction in Scottish writing, and Legge does it as well as any. Some of these are throwaways, such as "The Paper" (about an old man who is beaten to the morning paper in his library) or "Family Cares" (about a father waiting to meet his adult children at the train station) or "The Man Who Believed in Love" (about a man whose very minor jealousy leads to problems). Several are about alternate perspectives on a relationship, such as "Sing and Say Nothing" or "Comings and Goings" which switch narrators midway through, while others are more experimental, such as the three-page monologue which starts the book, "Some Kind of Foreplay" (a step-by-step guide to a workout involving throwing balled-up socks off the walls), or the hilarious"Question Number Ten" (the funniest job interview ever).

In general, the four longer (20+ page) stories are much more enjoyable. In "Moving Target", a self-righteous angry young man tries to move a wardrobe out of his aunt's apartment -- but something is afoot... The aforementioned "Pop Life" is an excellent Nick Hornbyesque tale about three friends who drift apart in adulthood only to be reunited by their passion for pop music. "Scheming Your Dreams" is about an athletic girl with a self-esteem problem who has trouble finding love as an adult. In "Shafting Auntie Catherine", a widow takes a young lover only to learn that a jealous steroid-pumping rival intends to break his legs in the big soccer game! Ultimately, if you tend to like the new Scots writers, you'll probably like this as well.
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