Preternatural sensitivity to all around you where d that come on the Glasgow Coma Scale Like you d woken from darkness and just carried on, scoring fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, kept on gaining consciousness, insight, couldn t stop waking up I picked this up as a refreshing alternative to other fictional portrayals of Glasgow as a place mired in crime, seldom interesting except when violent As the reviews have suggested, it really is a love letter to Glasgow but a complicated, sometimes bitter one It was hard not to sense an underlying political agenda within this narrative students, artists, independence voters any one with an idealistic cause are universally depicted as contemptible, wishy washy individuals It would have been nice to see this narrative display the courage of its convictions I was left wondering whether these were the author s thinly whitewashed sentiments, or whether such depictions were intended to represent the jaded misery of the book s protagonists Either way, without clarification, they missed their mark with me.This book has some spectacular moments, and some really fresh lines see above Lines that made me snort with laughter, wince with empathy, and really sit up to take notice But regrettably, this is a first novel and it shows Sometimes overwritten, others underwritten, a stern editorial hand would have helped the book to cut a little deeper. I received a copy of this book via NetGalley, my thanks to the publisher.Sadly, no matter how much I tried I could not finish this book I had two main issues with it 1 The Glaswegian Scottish accent and slang being used frequently but also only by certain characters which made no sense as the book is set in Scotland It s cumbersome on the brain to have to read and decipher what each word being said means and it interrupts the flow of the book in a really negative way I m of Scottish descent so I can t imagine how much harder it would be for readers on the other side of the world It doesn t enhance the book or make itauthentic, it sadly detracts the readers attention away.2 Nothing much was happening up to the point where I have up, lots of words but nothing really happening I hate giving really bad reviews but this for me was just boring and confusing, disjointed almost.I m not sure who might enjoy this book, I tried to stay very open minded but I just could not read another word Seems I m not the only one either Shame 1 star Lynne Meacher Once Dreamed Of Being An Artist Now She S Stuck In A Dead End Call Centre Job, Lives Alone And Is Beginning To Regret Her Life Choices Angus Rennie Was Once Her Teacher At The Glasgow School Of Art Charismatic, Feared And Revered By His Students But He Has Made Mistakes Too, And Now He S Jobless, Homeless And Begging For Cash In Glasgow City CentreThe Pair S Chance Re Encounter Spurs Lynne Certain Long Submerged Affections Suddenly Stirring To Invite Angus To Stay In Her Flat What Can Angus Do But Accept As The Past Is Recalled, The Present Unravelled And The Future Contemplated With Hope And Horror, The Odd Couple S Relationship Becomes Complicated And Contradictory Than Ever In the last few years, it s seemed much literary fiction, jaded, unable to generate real emotional punch, has turned either to cynicism or wallowing in a morass of sentiment So it s really refreshing to come across a novel like Neil D.A Stewart s The Glasgow Coma Scale which is powerfully affecting without even a trace of mawkishness It s the tender story of two feckless losers Lynne, a former art student, trapped in the slough of a dead end call centre job and Angus, her former teacher, and once a radical artist, who s lost his muse and his job, and is living on the streets.The writing is mostly taut, controlled, but with wonderful moments of epiphany where it is looser passages of heightened language that poetically mix the sublime and the demotic Angus, and some of his associates, speak Scots, and words from this tongue add a rich spice to the novel Some of these words will be unknown to sassenachs , but are always clear from the context and the framing I also really enjoyed the way that many of these characters are bletherers Stewart stands against the modern literary novel orthodoxy of terse dialogue looks convincing on the page, so I ll stick to that These people ramble, and it s a joy to follow the tangled threads of their conversations.There s a subtle fury to this novel about the way the conditions of modern life tend to stifle beauty, not just in art, but in every aspect Recommended to anyone who likes to be challenged and genuinely moved by their reads. Fans of books like Harold and Maude and The Last Free Man A NovelThe Last Free Man A Novel will definitely want to read The Glasgow Coma Scale It s very original and different, it was well written and easy to read, with very deep themes about daring to dream in the modern world. Great characters I absolutely loved Lynne she was so dull and realistic I loved how selfish and calculating Angus was BUT I really loved the way they used each other.Plot started very well and then stalled To be fair I think that the plot was realistic and I enjoyed that Life is full of people like Lynne and Angus and quite often their lives don t make for page turners What Lynne did, taking Angus in, was out of character and the rest of the book is basically the story of the consequences of her impulsive act of charity.The book wasn t what I was expecting at all it was better, subtle and biting.I wasn t too fond of the author s choice to write Angus speech in what I must assume is a Glasgow dialect It was distracting to try to decode ie ah for I and tae for to and unnecessary. This book is saturated by a really unpleasant fixation on bodily functions You ll just be starting to forget about it, lulled into complacency by a nice bit of prose, when suddenly thrust through the scene is laser focus on sweat, balls, boogies, ejaculate, etc and you re reminded how utterly disgusting human beings are A huge amount of the book is written in very committed phonetic accent, so that ll give some readers problems.Also it s a pointless non story mostly about an aggressively vulgar asshole, so I wouldn t bother. Yeah so this book was not great It was hard to get into and I struggled to keep reading Not much of a story line and the end wasn t that crash hot either All I can say is yay its over and there is book number 1 done for my 2019 reading challenge 3.5 stars.Be warned The Glasgow Coma Scale is neither an uplifting nor inspirational read When I picked this up in the bookstore, I was expectingof a romantic element, but I didn t get it and in hindsight I m glad Neil D.A Stewart didn t go down that road.The story follows two characters Lynne, who originally dreamed of being an artist but has ended up working in a dead end call centre job, and Angus, her ex teacher at The Glasgow School of Art who as a result of certain circumstances has ended up jobless and homeless The two meet one day, and Lynne still harbouring a crush on Angus invites him to stay with her What follows are the trials and tribulations of two very different personalities, and how they attempts to maintain a very unusual life together.What I loved about this book was ultimately the setting it s rare I read a book set in my own city, and I loved the familiarity of it all, being able to envision every pub, shop, and street clearly in my mind I even pictured the character of Angus in my mind as the musician Aidan Moffat Angus was a very well drawn out character with the strong Glasgow dialect and his stubborn ness and refusal to be anything but himself, I loved reading about him I enjoyed Lynne s character less although I felt that she again was realistic, there was only so much of her self loathing and acquiescence I could stand They did make quite the odd pairing.The ending left me with mixed feelings I felt that Stewart ended the book the best way he could, but it left me feeling empty and cold I believe this was intentional, but sometimes we want to escape from reality and The Glasgow Coma Scale forces you to confront it head on.A rewarding debut novel from Neil D.A Stewart, and I ll definitely be looking out forof his work in the future. Lynne Meacher lives in Glasgow, where she went almost as an impulse, looking for a new life What she has found is life in a small flat, a job she loathes in a debt collection office where she is promoted, but lacks the respect of her colleagues, especially the sneering Struan, and the ending of a long term relationship with Raymond, leaving her lonely and missing his daughter, Siri, who she rarely sees So, when she stumbles across a homeless man who turns out to be Angus Rennie, who taught her when she attended the School of Art, she immediately invites him home Angus reminds her of a time when she had hoped for a meaningful career and when she had idealised the sharp talking lecturer The crush she once had on Angus becomes alive again, although she soon realises that, for him, Lynne is simply providing a safe haven.Over a period of months, we follow Angus and Lynne as they try to come to terms with the lives they have found themselves in and try to find their place in it Can Lynne stop feeling sorry for herself and find happiness Can Angus battered, lost and unwilling to compromise, rediscover his love for art and get back on his feet Although Lynne is from England, much of the speech is in broad Glaswegian and I found some of it quite beyond my understanding I do love Scottish accents and I adore many crime series set in Scotland, so I have no idea why I found this so difficult, but there was a lot of slang that I simply didn t get and the changing from one dialect to another was quite difficult to read Also, neither Angus or Lynne are very sympathetic characters However, as the book progressed, I was glad that I kept reading and, by the end, I wanted to know what happened to the characters Not, perhaps a wonderful read, but a debut that certainly shows promise I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes.
Neil D.A Stewart was born in Glasgow in 1978 and lives in London He was educated at the University of Glasgow and holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia He is the arts editor of the online magazine Civilian and works as a freelance proofreader for Tate Publishing The Glasgow Coma Scale is his first novel.
- 215 pages
- The Glasgow Coma Scale
- Neil D.A. Stewart
- 21 May 2018 Neil D.A. Stewart