McLean, Duncan Bucket of Tongues

ISBN 13: 9780393318975

Bucket of Tongues

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9780393318975: Bucket of Tongues

From the author of Lone Star Swing, this winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, is "lean, maggoty writing. More: it's subversively funny" (Janice Galloway).

In this extraordinary collection of short stories, Duncan McLean shows us real life — and real death — in all its many guises. Equally adept at black farce, brutal rants, or tender epiphanies, McLean plunges us headlong into the lives of his characters: partying, and all it entails, with soccer enthusiasts; shivering inside the butcher's man-sized fridge; stumbling bloody-footed along the cliff-top path at midnight, lost in a liver'n'onions-fueled fantasy of sex and violence. The men and women in these stories are mostly unemployed or in dead-end jobs, often on the edge of madness or destruction; but just as often they are on the brink of simply leaving: walking away from relationships, responsibilities, and the reassurance of alcohol and aggression. Told with enormous skill, fierce humor, and a dark emotional drive, these stories are as various as the characters themselves. Their commonality derives from a merciless realism, and an almost fanatical adherence to the rhythms and cadences of spoken language. "McLean wants to capture the unremarkable, but it is his remarkable stories which transport. Expressed here at last is a psychic disorder, so contemporary, so unsafe; here is swaggering, sneering, frustrated, self-scepticism on the pavement." — Guardian (London)  Winner of the Somerset Maugham Award

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Product Description:

From the author of Lone Star Swing, this winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, is "lean, maggoty writing. More: it's subversively funny" (Janice Galloway). In this extraordinary collection of short stories, Duncan McLean shows us real life-and real death-in all its many guises. Equally adept at black farce, brutal rants, or tender epiphanies, McLean plunges us headlong into the lives of his characters: partying, and all it entails, with soccer enthusiasts; shivering inside t

Review:

Nobody can accuse writer Duncan McLean of having a limited range. His first novel, Bunker Man, was a horrific saga of violence and madness played out against a bleak coastal community in Scotland. But just when you thought it was safe to classify McLean with those other Scottish enfants terribles Irvine Welsh and James Kelman, he turned around and produced the charming Lone Star Swing, a fey and fascinating travelogue through the Texas country-music scene. Now he's back with a collection of short stories that veer off in yet another direction, one that mixes savage humor and the occasional tender moment into the endlessly brutal business of living that occupies most of his on-the-fringe characters.

Sporting titles such as "A/deen Soccer Thugs Kill All Visiting Fans," "Loaves and Fishes, Nah," or "The Druids Shite It, Fail to Show," McLean's stories range from a few paragraphs to many pages. What they all share is a bleak outlook, a ferocious rage, and language that would make a longshoreman blush. In "Bod Is Dead," for example, McLean gives us Buzby, described as "a hot-and-cold cunt" who's "quick to rouse, quick to freeze, he'd punch some bugger's lights out or give them a fucking hug depending on his mood, how his feelings felt that day, that minute, and all for nothing at all." In this particular instance, Buzby feels homicidal after watching his drunken mother seduce his buddy right in front of him. Butchers, workers on North Sea oil rigs, unemployed and underemployed alcoholics, drug addicts, and losers--these are the people who populate the world of Duncan McLean's making, and readers of Bucket of Tongues had better have the stomach to face them. --Alix Wilber

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McLean, Duncan
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