twenty

Bought on a whim, loved in an instant.

Such a deceptive book, so slight and apparently so simple, yet it says so much about understanding and love and acceptance. And does it with such joy. All through the device of a few different young voices growing up in Inverness.

“Let me tell you about when I was a girl, our grandfather says.”

That is one of the great opening lines: homely, comfortable and destabilising (mind-blowing) all at the same time.

One of the few books that is both dreamlike and wide-awake. There is (deliberate) confusion about genders and who people ‘should’ love and the sister who in her (hilarious) internal monologue (rendered in brackets) sort of admits to herself that her sister is gay…but just can’t quite say it…

There’s a cringing night at the pub, with two hideous specimens, that she knows won’t end well, she knows she shouldn’t go on, but she does and it doesn’t. A pair of spray can graffiti anarchists, driven by Greek myth, write in bold red all over town. Then there is a nightmare marketing backdrop of some company trying to sell “better water” in Scotland, where they do have quite a lot of the stuff for free. And the end of the section/chapter called “us” finishes with enough pages of ecstatic mad lovemaking and metamorphosing to make Ovid blush.

‘Was that her tongue?…was I melting?…was I gold?…was I briny, were my whole insides a piece of sea…was I the force of water through stone?…was my whole front furring over? And were we the same pelt? Were our hands black shining hooves..?’

A heck…buy it…fall in love with it.

I read it. Went and ran a bath and laid in it to read it all over again.

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