This was my literary surprise of 2014. I picked this book up for a few reasons. The author comes from my home-county. Mainly though because of some great reviews the book has been picking up.
Robert is a cheeky bastard. With his debut novel, Cowan has thrown out the rule book and avoided all the basic errors first-time writers always, always make. Cowan shows, he doesn’t tell. His dialogue is tight, and the pace is perfect. Generally books from Scotland fail to deliver the true feel of the towns and cities, simply because they’re steeped in stereotypes and tired clichés.
Cowan unapologetically lays his protagonists out for the reader, each of them a heart-felt, painful and emotional mirror of the towns they spring from. Each truly representative of the type of people found in every impoverished town. Complete with their problems, desperations, virtues and victories, Cowan’s characters radiate realness and are heroic in their murky, hopeless-heroics.
With his debut novel, Cowan joins the ranks of a new breed of British novelists, telling their stories the way they want them told. Wonderful.
Aye, he’s a cheeky bastard this Cowan.