Glue

Glue is the story of four boys growing up in the Edinburgh schemes, and about the loyalties, the experiences - and the secrets - that hold them together into their thirties. Four boys becoming men: Juice Terry, the work-shy fanny-merchant, with corkscrew curls and sticky fingers; Billy the boxer: driven, controlled, playing to his strengths; Carl, the Milky Bar Kid, drifting along to his own soundtrack; and the doomed Gally - who has one less skin than everyone and seems to find catastrophe at every corner. As we follow their lives from the seventies into the new century - from punk to techno, from speed to Es - we can see each of them trying to struggle out from under the weight of the conditioning of class and culture, peer pressure and their parents' hopes that maybe their sons will do better than they did. What binds the four of them is the friendship formed by the scheme, their school, and their ambition to escape from both; their loyalty fused in street morality: back up your mates, don't hit women and, most importantly, never grass - on anyone.

Extract

Gally's face hus lit up. Ah ken that mischevious demonic expression and ah'm no wrong. -The thing is bit, mate, ye do huv quite a long foreskin, eh sais tae Juice Terry. -Eh! Terry's aghast at this. Billy sniggers, n ah dae n aw, even though ah'm still rubbin ma heid. Oor Mr Galloway's gaun aw wide-eyed n innocent-lookin now. -Just sayin, yuv goat quite a long foreskin n cause ay that it must be harder tae keep it clean, like under the helmet n that, eh casually explains. Me n Billy smile at each other cause Juice Terry's a bit nipped. Eh points at Gally. -What the fuck's aw this aboot? -Well ye huv, huvn't ye? Gally asks. The wee man's oan a mega wind-up here. -Disnae fuckin well matter whether ah huv or a huvnae. Is that any wey fir a guy tae talk aboot his mate?

Reviews

“Brilliant... This is his most readable and memorable novel since 'Trainspotting”

- Independent on Sunday

“His most ambitious, but also his most complete and engaging work to date... arguably, his best book”

- Times Literary Supplement

“Full of incident, mad, crackling dialogue, attractively appalling characters... Wild, brave and funny”

- Sunday Times

Irvine's Comment

"Glue is one of my favourite books. It was a struggle to write as I didn't know what I was writing about. For the first time since Trainspotting I had no real plan, just a blank piece of paper, and I wanted to see what would come out. It was probably the book that made me finally believe that I was a writer, that I didn't need to have anything to write about, I could just come up with a few guys rapping about one guys foreskin, and go back and forwards in time and produce an epic novel of Scottish council scheme life."
Glue