Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, the South Bank Sky Arts Awards, the Saltire Scottish First Book of the Year and the Green Carnation Prize
When Janie Ryan is born, she's just the latest in a long line of Ryan women, Aberdeen fishwives to the marrow, always ready to fight. Her violet-eyed Grandma had predicted she'd be sly, while blowing Benson and Hedges smoke rings over her Ma's swollen belly. In the hospital, her family approached her suspiciously, so close she could smell whether they'd had booze or food for breakfast. It was mostly booze.
Tony Hogan tells the story of a Scottish childhood of filthy council flats and B&Bs, screeching women, feckless men, fags and booze and drugs, the dole queue and bread and marge sandwiches. It is also the story of an irresistible, irrepressible heroine, a dysfunctional family you can't help but adore, the absurdities of the eighties and the fierce bonds that tie people together no matter what. Told in an arrestingly original -- and cry-out-loud funny -- voice, it launches itself headlong into the middle of one of life's great fights, between the pull of the past and the freedom of the future. And Janie Ryan, born and bred for combat, is ready to win.
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more than just one of the best debuts of the year; one of the best books of the year. It should do for Aberdeen what Trainspotting did for Edinburgh - Herald
'Trainspotting on a sugar rush' has been my pat description when recommending this spirited debut novel... a remarkable story of love and loyalty, of fierce passion and scabrous wit, full of characters whose broad vernacular is direct and expressive. This is about a culture with just as much right to be called British as that of middle-class suburbia - Foyles Best Fiction of 2012
Despite the grinding poverty, drug addiction, alcoholism and violence, this isn't a relentlessly dark book. It's an honest one: honest about the things that go wrong and about the lives that people who don't often get to be the stars in fiction really do lead... [Hudson] gives us, without a shred of hipster cynicism, the hope and tough warmth for which she has such a sharp eye - Guardian
This is the poverty trap writ large, the authentic working-class experience in all the mess and glory of the giro queue, drug and booze dependency, and gallows humour... Kerry Hudson's early life was like this. What a brilliant thing to turn the chaos and trauma of a hectic childhood into a debut novel as colourful, funny, joyful and compelling as this - Observer
Kerry Hudson’s fine, eloquent debut novel traces the peripatetic childhood of Janie Ryan...her tale is full of warmth and bittersweet humour - Financial Times
There's little doubt that this young writer is going to be a star... In the course of this picaresque and haunting tale, Hudson achieves something rare and remarkable. While comparison will inevitably be made between her work and that of Irvine Welsh or Alan Warner, she is wholly individual. - Herald Scotland
Concurrently very funny and incredibly sad. The writing sizzles, and the words jump off the page as Hudson describes a world of fags, booze, bingo and worse. We watch our heroine Janie Ryan struggle through it all with humour and a will to survive. I was cheering her on all the way, and I'm sure you will, too - Bookseller
Great if you love a laugh-out-loud read - In Style
Told with such an honest and engaging voice that you can’t help but turn the page - ReadBetweenTheLines
This is a remarkable debut novel of love and loyalty, of fierce passion and scabrous wit, full of characters whose broad vernacular is direct and expressive. This is about a culture with just as much right to be called British as that of middle-class suburbia - Foyles.co.uk
Refreshing originality… Hudson’s achievement is the creation of a strong, working-class, female voice in her protagonist – filling a hole in contemporary literature - Big Issue in the North
A gritty, tough, sweet, sad, funny story of urban survival. Recommended - Diva
A sympathetic coming-of-age tale and a valuable counterpoint to widespread social attitudes to women in poverty - Metro
Definitely one to watch - Big Issue (National)
The voice is so fresh and the writing so energetic that we felt it needed to be included - Guardian
caught instant critical attention for the refreshing originality of its clear-eyed, tragicomic prose - New Statesman
A universal thumbs up ... There’s so much to love about the book ... A gritty, appalling and really rather wonderful book that proves – and forgive the cliché – that love, in all its forms, conquers all - Cambridge News Book Club
A witty and lively novel set somewhere between the worlds of Roddy Doyle and Irvine Welsh - Guardian
More than the best debut of 2012; it is one of the best books of the year. It should do for Aberdeen what did for Edinburgh - Herald
It is a sheer joy to read - Me and My Big Mouth
By this author
About the Author
Kerry Hudson was born in Aberdeen. Growing up in a succession of council estates, B&Bs and caravan parks provided her with a keen eye for idiosyncratic behaviour and plenty of material for this, her first novel. She currently lives, works and writes in London.