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  • By Jennifer Harvey
    The Glasgow of the 1970s, the Glasgow of my childhood, is one I have only vague a recollection of. Moving around from place to place as we did, Glasgow always existed for me as an in-between place. The place we came back to on the way to somewhere else. Home, only in a very loose sense of the word. So I was stunned, while reading Karen Jones’ “The Upside Down Jesus” to find myself so easily transported back to that place, that time. It’s the language, of course, the flashes of Scottish that pepper Jones’ prose. The “wees” and the “ayes” and the “lassies”. But it’s also the long forgotten cultural references. The Parma Violet sweets. The rain-mates. The mince. The stories in this book are very firmly fixed in Scotland. In time and place. But for all that, this is not a “Scottish book”. The stories in this collection touch on too many human things, too many magical moments for that and the narrative voices Jones’ creates are powerful and universal enough to speak to anyone. The stand... More > out story for me is “Natural Instincts” a coming of age tale set in the summer of 1976 in the aftermath of a brutal murder. The mix of sex and death and curiosity are vividly related by the young teenage narrator and I found myself transfixed as I read on, as curious as the young girl to know more despite myself. Only a writer in full control of their prose could pull a reader in this way and keep them reading when their instinct is to recoil. It’s a story that lingers for many days. Not that it is all dark. The title Story “ The Upside Down Jesus” is full of perfectly placed humour and the astute observations of the young narrator bring a lightness and gentle humour to a piece that could have fallen into bleakness in the hands of a less adept writer. The flashes of humour in stories such as “When No-One Was Looking” and “All The Fun” are delightful and wonderfully imaginative tales in what is a varied and original debut collection.< Less
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Product Details

12 March 2014
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.2 kg
Dimensions (centimetres)
14.81 wide x 20.98 tall
Product ID
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