Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Yet both were Glasgow

I'm working my way through Laidlaw by William McIlvanney at present.  There are some very nice passages in a story teeming with contrasts and incongruities, just like the city:

He felt bruised with contradictions.  Where he had been was being mocked by where he was.  Yet both were Glasgow.  He had always liked the place, but he had never been more aware of it than tonight.  Its force came to him in contradictions.  Glasgow was home-made ginger biscuits and Jennifer Lawson dead in the park.  It was the sentenious niceness of the Commander and the threatened abrasiveness of Laidlaw.  It was Milligan, insensitive as a mobile slab of cement, and Mrs Lawson, witless with hurt.  It was the right hand knocking you down and the left hand picking you up, while the mouth alternated apology and threat.

McIvanney has an ear for dialogue and an eye for social realism and complex, layered situations and characters.  And he has me hooked into the story.


Anonymous-9 said...

Beautiful and powerful writing. Thanks for introducing me, Rob.

Paul D Brazill said...

Great choice. Perfectly catches Laidlaw.