Genre: Scottish Novel

Published: 2020 - Read:


Andrew O'Hagan (1968 - )

Pages: 304


From Waterstones website (Waterstones being used adjectivally so no apostrophe!?):

Evoking a fully-rounded friendship with wit and psychological truth, O’Hagan’s masterful novel charts an epic night of debauchery in 1980s Manchester and its tragic aftermath thirty years later.

'Debauchery'? Hardly! Youthful over-indulgence and exuberance. 'Tragic aftermath'? Not really. It's just just that what happens later is sad. (Aftermath implies cause and effect, n'est-ce pas??) It's a poignant read; a bit gloomy, but also life-affirming - because it is about friendship.

This is a novel about friendship - and I guess that the title hints at the transience (relatively speaking) of human life - so as Mr Keating tells his students in 'Dead Poets Society': Carpe Diem. The novel is a bit like a football match; it's a book of two halves. The first describes a weekend in Manchester experienced by a group of teenagers from near Glasgow - they're really into their indie music. The second half moves forward 30 years... Spoiler avoided! Suffice to say that it gets a bit sad - but also in a way life affirming too. As always interesting to read the Amazon reviews - were they all reading the same book? I'll go with the positive reviews, and agree with this one: "This is a funny, profound, philosophical and emotional novel, based on a real life friendship of the author".

Mayflies as chosen as the Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year for 2021. Shuggie Bain won the same accolade - I assume in 2020 (when it won the Booker Prize),