Scottish novelist (translated into 15 languages), short story writer, essayist, reporter, editor at large, critic at large (seemingly all these avatars are built upon the same persona); born in 1968; his debut novel, (Our Fathers, 1999) has a bildungsroman structure: a family saga unfolding back and forth over three generations; contemporary history as an active background, a tableau of South-West Scotland in the 20th century; the next novel (Personality, 2003) is the story of a child star with amazing beginnings and a rapid rise who is eventually suffocated by the pressure of the milieu; as her celebrity is growing she becomes obsessed with keeping her weight under control, her health diminishes and her mind gets lost; as I've just started a diet myself, maybe I should be aware; Be Near Me (2006): a Catholic priest with a homosexual past, shy in his relations with the parishioners while building in his inner a Proustian universe; a new episode with homoerotic tones will bring the overall blame upon him; is he innocent, victim of an unfortunate incident wrongly interpreted by the others? is he guilty, victim of an impulse impossible to be controlled? but who am I to judge? The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe (2010) is a fantasy having as hero a dog (or better said, his discourses), while the American star appears only sporadically; let's say MM as observed by her dog; The Illuminations (2015) is a war story of a special kind: a doleful cry against the war in Afghanistan (and against the society that made it possible), and in parallel a family tale with all that's going on when a family tale enters the picture.
(A Life in Books)
Labels: Andrew O'Hagan