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Demo I persevered with this but almost wish I hadn't bothered It was an ok book nothing The sex descriptions were unnecessarily lurid and didn't add to the text And there was no real story Not a book I'd recommend A book about an anti Ira War demonstration and yet it turns into being about two spoiled brattish Trustafarians and their love life The demonstration itself gets few words despite it being a visually rich texture to describe something I've done in my own book on political protest But with this book the key issue is shown not to be the ethics of a government going to war over the objections of its populace but a dreadlocked girl being pregnant by a man she no longer loves Dreadful indulgent and manages to miss its own point which is some kind of achievement i'm not so sure what to make of this I read it easily in one night though it wasn't that flimsy I liked the Scottish voice of the narrators though it certainly wasn't the difficult complete dialect immersion of say Irvine Welsh It felt as it was that it was written by someone who didn't speak that langauge for other people who don't speak that languageMy mixed feelings come from what happens our narrator Claire a 16 year old readhead from a working class Glasgow family travels to Spain for an anti war protest There's a typically skeezy lefty guy dreadlocks piercing blue eyes arrogance ruling class background and all She's fascinated and confused He sleeps with her rapes her and they sleep together again Then she gets kicked out of his room for his ruling class ex girlfriend Who has finally decided she wants him rather than our narrator's older brother Who is pretty much an annoyingly idealised good hearted emotionally uncommunicative working class lad who can do no wrong Except for leaving his teenage sister alone with his clearly lecherous friend But no one ever mentions thatClaire's state was portrayed well her mix of feeling flattered confused hurt excited and repulsed when sleazey hippy dude wants to play out his Henry Miller fantasies out on her Yes really He's almost a cartoon villain sleazey activist man except uite possibly drawn from lifeBut the political setting wasn't so real For a start what are their politics? The rapist yells at a French communist for betraying 'us' in the Spanish civil war but then sneers at some anarchists so I guess they're maybe some kind of Trotskyites? They don't really talk about politics beyond some fairly common level anti war sentiments and a couple of anthemic drunken mass singalongs This isn't so important I wasn't looking for political diatribes and usually find them grating coming out of the fictional mouths of fictional characters It's that the rhythms of their lives didn't seem like those of people heavily involved in a political group like the characters were meant to be Hey two coachloads of people travel from Glasgow but our protagonists stay alone in a small pensionne not a big cold warehouse of all crammed into a hostel together?I also can't work out whether the tensions between Claire and her Muslim best friend over her decision to wear hijab is clumsily issue based or not Her friend's mock traslation of her Punjabi placard 'Dreadlocks and hijab against war' was cute though The amazing thing about this was that I bought it in Shetland in 2006 and read it on the ferry back to Orkney never knew a 6 hour ferry journey pass so fast And then the sense of the BB in Florence the rooms the bed the sex and the dreds the doubt and confusion stayed with me ever since I only needed to look at the book to remember that although I couldn't remember much else except the likeableness of the heroine ClareRe reading it was as if I'd never read the second part I obviously hadand although Laetitia is for me a far less likeable character it does all come together in as long term satisfactory manner as is reasonable Not being at all political that aspect was alien but I could see how it mattered November 2002 and sixteen year old Clare is travelling from Glasgow to Florence with her older brother Danny to be a part of the anti capitalist demo Amidst the crowds they meet Julian and Letitia two alluring and seductive anti capitalists from down south Over the next few years the lives of Danny Clare Letitia and Julian become impossibly entangled in the personal and the political as each decides what is and what's not worth shouting about But how will they come to shape the world and how will the world come to shape them 35 stars Really liked the first part Preferred reading from Clares perspective over Letitias

About the Author: Alison Miller

Alison Miller grew up in Orkney and now lives in Glasgow She worked for the WEA Workers Educational Association in an adult education project in Castlemilk Glasgow and recently co ordinated the counselling and group work service in the Centre for Women's HealthIn 2003 she graduated with Distinction from the MPhil in Creative Writing run by Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities Now as

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