Near Neighbours Paperback – 3 Jun 1999
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.