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Not for Glory

not_for_glory.jpg Canongate, ISBN 1 84195 174 9

From the Back Cover

Heart-breaking, hilarious, profound, Not for Glory is an unforgettable collection of interlinked stories, delivered in a Scottish prose style unique to this gifted writer. Set in a central Scots village - “like livin life oan an intersection whaur everythin goes by an nothin comes in” - Janet Paisley lays bare the dramas of life in a world where there's little escape and even less privacy.

Not for Glory is an exceptional collection that ranks with the best short works of James Kelman, A.L. Kennedy and Flannery O'Connor.


Not for Glory - contemporary Scottish fiction writing at its finest… the beautifully observed tales illuminate some of the core dilemmas, ecstasies and tragedies of human life… Although not as overtly religious as Flannery, Paisley tells mesmerizing tales about Scottish grace under pressure… Look, this book’s gaunae be a classic… — The Herald Ron Ferguson

…rumbustious, teeming, darkly comic work that gets under the skin… Sunday Herald

The darkness is illuminated with humour and the most harrowing of tragedies are tempered by moments of warming, affirming camaraderie… Yorkshire Post

Masterly use of black comedy and compassion which digs deep into the emotions… Greenock Telegraph


<box 80% round prose | Book Extract - Chapter 7: The Coorie Doon>

“Gaunae stop scratchin yer erse, you? I’m gettin worms jist watchin ye.” Howie was in yin ae they moods. He’d enveigled his road back in wi Treeza an got dumped again. Their wean was gettin nearer by the month. The bottle ae Buckie was hauf empty an it looked like he’d forgotten aboot sharin. It was gaunae be yin ae they nichts.

“Gies a swally then.” Scratchy held his haun oot fur the bottle. Chancin it. Chance wasnae comin. Howie drew him a look that would cool parridge an taen anither swally hissell. Fraser wasnae oot. Wasnae oot much these days. Turnt intae a right swot. The Boot drew oan his fag. A real fag. Tip an everyhin. He wasnae sharin either. A thin line ae blue smoke streamed past Scratchy’s nose. He was seek ae haen nothin. Nae booze, nae fags, nae blaw, nae dosh, nae wummin. Nae friggin hope. The butt end. That’s aw he was. “M’a no gettin a swally then?”

Howie didnae even bother lookin at him this time. Just leaned back against the shop, puckert his mooth an blew his annoyance oot at the sky.
“W’ur supposed tae be pals,” Scratchy said.
“We ur pals,” Howie said. “Nae supposed tae aboot it.”
“Then how come I’m no gettin a swally?”

Howie leaned aff the shop an looked at him, kinna tender-like.
“It’s fur yer ain guid. See, ye dinnae pit in, ye dinnae get oot. That’s hoo it works, bein pals. Awhing works like that. Like shaggin. Like banks. Get it?”
“Bank’s’re nuhin like pals.”
“Never said they wur. Said pals’s like banks. Different hing.”
“Ye’re talkin shite.”
“Brave man,” Howie said, an taen anither swally. “Look, ye’ll gie me shaggin, eh? Ye pit in, ye take oot. Cannae take oot whit ye didnae pit in. Wee tadge gaun in, wee tadge comes oot. Right?”
“Aye.” Scratchy, relieved wi the explanation, conceded.
“So,” Howie leaned back against the shop wi his ‘job-done’ lean. “Ken onybody shags mair folk’n banks?”

Thur was a hole in this logic an Scratchy spotted it right aff.
“Bit ye dinnae shag yer pals.”
Howie was aff the shop waw in a blink, awa tae the ither side ae the apron.
“Should fuckin hope no,” he snarled.
“You mental?” The Boot asked.
Thur was a long silence then. Howie leaned oan the bin, hud a sook at the bottle every noo an again. The Boot drew oan his fag, blew thin streams ae smoke oot ower the road. Scratchy leaned oan the shop an stared across at the club door.
“Fancy daen the club?” He said, finally.
“Noo ye ur mental.” Howie responded.
“I fancy daen the club,” the Boot tossed his dout intae the gutter.
“Ye’re baith mental,” Howie said. Yin ae they nights, right enough.

That’s when Clair came roon the corner, comin back fae her pal’s.
“Hello, Clairty!” Howie says. “Gies a smoochy wan.”
“Shut up, you,” Clair grabbed the bottle oot his haun, dichtit the tap, an taen a swally. “Jees, I don’t know how ye kin drink that,” she says. “S’like cauld tea wi fruit juice in it.”
“We wur managin fine afore you came alang.” Howie grabbed the bottle back.
“Drink that a lot, dae ye?” The Boot asked.
“Cauld tea an fruit juice.”
“We wurnae managin fine,” Scratchy corrected. “They’re managin fine. I’m pissed aff.”

Howie handit him the bottle wi the dregs in it. Then he gied Clair wan ae his ‘ah um admirin yer form’ looks that ran fae her taes up tae her swishy broon hair an was supposed tae turn her heid.
“M’oan, I’ll take ye fur a daunder,” he said.
“Aye, like I wis born yesterday,” Clair said. “Like I’ve got air-space atween ma ears. Like the last lassie went fur a daunder wi you isnae gettin gey pear-shaped.”
Scratchy wantit tae giggle but it would not have been wise. Howie jerked the bottle back, taen the last sook, swallyed, ne’en gied Clair his ‘you’re nothin’ look.
“Mither oot wi her fancy man, then?” He said.

Even the Boot turnt roon tae protest.
“Ma mither husnae got a fancy man,” Clair said.
Howie laughed, a rude snort ae a laugh.
“Aye, an yer Auntie Joyce is yer auntie an all. Tell us anither stairy foury.”
Scratchy jumped furrit, bent ower, muscles ticht across his shooders, doon his back, drawin his airms up, curlin his fists. He daured Howie say mair.
“That’ll dae, you.”

Howie slid the bottle neck intae his fist so it sat in his haun like a club.
“Aw, will it,” he said, cracked the bottle oan the concrete lip ae the apron an waved the jaggit edge in Scratchy’s face. “M’oan, then, big boy,” he said. “An we’ll see whit’ll dae who.”
“Hey, wait a meenut,” the Boot said.
Scratchy’s een dartit fae the bottle tae Howie’s face an back again. He was sober. Howie wasnae. But the broken bottle was one helluva advantage.

“Want tae tell me suhim?” Clair says, fauldin her airms ower her chist. “Whey are men sae stupit? I mean, dae yeese jist get born like that or is this a decision yeese arrive at soon as ye’re let oot yer pram?”
“Eh, ‘scuse us,” Howie says. “But we’re tryin’ae huv a fight here.” He squared up wi Scratchy again, flourishin the bottle tae shooder heicht. Scratchy wasnae shair whit was gaun oan noo but no whit he expected.

“Well, see an keep tryin,” Clair says, “Cause I’m awa roon the road afore I huv tae phone the polis, n’en the ambulance, n’en gie Mr Ferrier a haun tae clean the blood aff his shop front the morra, n’en hae tae come an visit you twa in intensive care, an spend aw ma time an money bringin yeese fruit an gein yeese sympathy whin, tae tell the truth, I dinnae hink either ae the twa ae yeese deserve ony!”

Howie pit a haun oan his hip an stared at her. Scratchy scratched his backside.
“Onybody waant a fag?” The Boot asked.
“Thought ye wur keepin thaim fur ma auld age,” Howie said, takin yin.
“Wid ye really dae aw that?” Scratchy wantit tae ken.
“You are never gaunae know, my son” Howie said. “Stripey pyjamas is no ma suit. Even if it means passin up shaggin a few nurses. But thur’s some folk, I widnae want tae gie ony satisfaction tae.” He dumped the shattered remnant ae the bottle in the bin. “Hoo aboot we aw go fur a daunder?” … </box>

not_for_glory.txt · Last modified: 2013/06/16 14:22 (external edit)