Fresh

Mark McNay, Author . MacAdam/Cage $23 (288p) ISBN 978-1-59692-211-2 ISBN 978-1-59692-233-4

Winner of the 2007 Arts Foundation Fellowship for New Fiction, McNay's uneven debut offers a glimpse into the life of Sean O'Grady, a chicken-processing–plant worker from the downtrodden outskirts of Glasgow, Scotland. When Sean learns that his brother, Archie, is being released from prison early, Sean, between Walter Mittyesque daydreams, scrambles to come up with the £700 of Archie's money he spent while his brother was locked up. After a bank refuses Sean a loan (he applies for it dressed in "fat-splattered overalls"), Sean turns to Albert, his uncle and co-worker, for help. Together, they formulate a plan, but it fails. The money problem is soon easily dispatched, but bigger trouble comes when Archie bullies Sean into taking part in a drug deal. Interspersed are stomach-churning tidbits about the food industry and Sean's recollections of his and Archie's childhood, in which Archie's rapid descent into a life of crime is revealed. Using a mix of street slang and Scottish burr (and third- and first-person narration), McNay convincingly portrays life in a small industrial town, though the phonetically rendered Scots dialogue can be tough going, and the plot doesn't truly take off until about halfway into the novel. Comparisons to early Irvine Welsh aren't unwarranted. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/26/2007
Release date: 05/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-0-385-66435-6
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-385-66378-6
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-1-59692-211-2
Hardcover - 278 pages - 978-1-84767-082-3
Open Ebook - 978-0-385-67296-2
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-84767-623-8
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