Children of Albion Rovers: An Anthology of New Scottish Writing


Hard-edged and iconoclastic, the new wave of Scottish writers and their godfather, Irvine Welsh, write a darkly funny brand of fiction about people on the fringe. This anthology includes six full-length novellas by the most promising of these writers.
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Hard-edged and iconoclastic, the new wave of Scottish writers and their godfather, Irvine Welsh, write a darkly funny brand of fiction about people on the fringe. This anthology includes six full-length novellas by the most promising of these writers.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Six Scottish authorsIrvine Welsh, Gordon Legge, Alan Warner, James Meek, Laura J. Hird and Paul Reekiecontribute novellas to this raw-edged collection edited by fellow Scot Williamson, former publisher of Rebel, Inc. magazine. In Welsh's (Trainspotting) "The Rosewell Incident," a clique of tobacco-dependent aliens decide to touch down in Rosewell, Scotland, because, as the alien leader explains, "we ken the score. It's only Scotland. Nae cunt listens tae youse dippit fuckers." Of the six writers in this desperately hip anthology, only Welsh tackles Scotland's political impotence head on, and the fearless antagonism, variations of voice and effortless momentum of his story distinguish it as the most ambitious and accomplished of the bunch. Even when Scots angst isn't the obvious subject of these novellas, however, it makes veiled appearancesfor instance, in the self-indulgent intellectualism of Reekie's (Zap, You're Pregnant) "Submission," which pokes fun at the navet of Scottish folklore, or in Whitbread nominee Warner's (Morvern Callar) trippy novella-of-manners, "After the Vision." While Warner owes a clear debt to Joyce, Meek's (McFarlane Boils the Sea; Last Orders) stylized "Brown Pint of Courage" pays homage to that great-grandfather of Celtic modernism, Thomas Carlyle. "Pop Life" is Legge's (In Between Talking About the Football; The Shoe) sentimental, predictable account of a three-way friendship fostered by a shared lust for record-collecting. Hird's debut, "The Dilating Pupil," meanwhile, in which a self-satisfied Edinburgh high-school teacher is seduced by his star student and falls victim to a range of cutting-edge chemical stimuli, is the most humanly compelling and vividly imagined piece in the collection. The urgent, accented voices here comprise a motley crew but one worth listening to. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
Stories by six young writers, the cream of the contemporary Scottish Beats crop, are anthologized here in a raw display of life on the edge.

An excerpt from a 1991 novel by Alan Warner, here titled "After the Vision," is the most successful of the lot, describing one man's long voyage home after a rave, a journey that touches bottom when he meets a long-lost mate who enthuses over his job at a crematorium, then begins slowly to rise when he meets two women who take him to their friend, who in turn offers him a couch for a much-needed night's sleep. Also funny and compelling is "The Brown Pint of Courage," by James Meek, in which three bottom-rung members of Edinburgh's parking police force indulge in mayhem and coercion on the job—one even falling in love on his lunch break with a woman who shares his passion for Thomas Carlyle—before the good times come to an end in spectacular fashion. Other interesting stories by Laura J. Hird and Paul Reekie involve a teacher's nightlong seduction of his 16-year-old student, which doesn't go quite as he planned ("The Dilating Pupil"), and a chronicle of a generation finding its way in the world, narrated by a man recovering from burns received while sitting on a toilet that ignited ("Submission"). The most touted piece here, however, proves disappointing: Irvine Welsh's sci-fi spoof involving aliens and their command of Scots English ("The Rosewell Incident"), has a few laughs but not much else.

The vision of Scottish life created by these six voices is remarkably consistent, vital, and unyieldingly tough-minded, but it's too early to say if these promising young writers will mature into major ones, or if they'll gain much of a foothold on these shores.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781615547999
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/28/1997
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Team Talk 1
Pop Life 5
After the Vision 29
The Brown Pint of Courage 67
Submission 95
The Dilating Pupil 135
The Rosewell Incident 171
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