"A young man, Andy Paterson, has just been released from prison on a drugs charge of which he is innocent; he wants to know why he was framed and by whom."
"Glasgow has changed a lot since he was put away; he has to attune himself to the new rhythms, a painful business. He isn't a tough guy - in fact he is an intelligent young man with a love of books and music... The novel is as much a celebratory portrait of modern Glasgow as of Andy Paterson." "It is a beautifully constructed story throughout. Glasgow has a major new novelist in Carl MacDougall, no doubt about it." GEORGE MACKAY BROWN, 1993. "The Lights Below is a model of stealth. MacDougall builds his story, layer upon layer, surreptitiously towards a deft and utterly plausible resolution. It's focus is Andy; its locus Glasgow. The city's presence is alive; MacDougall deploys it as more than the setting for Andy's search. It lives in the memory of his book. It serves as a symbol of continuity and change, presenting persuasively both the comforts and disaffections human beings serve on each other. " SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY, 1993. "A masterpiece ... one of the great Scottish novels of this century." SPECTATOR.
"Carl MacDougall's real subject is Scotland and what it means to be Scots... "
"Angus MacPhail is the child of failure ... While his adoptive brother tries to save Scotland for socialism by robbing banks, Angus, representing the bastard majority, is happier working for number one. Not that he is happy. Having alienated a succession of women by his dour self absorption, he finally ends up in a cosily incestuous relationship with his adoptive sister ... Despite its lightness of touch, this is a novel of complexity and ambition, hilarious, moving and thought provoking". "This novel ... sets Carl MacDougall firmly among the pantheon of Kelman and Gray ... sparkling and exhilarating ... wise and, above all, entertaining". SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY.
From a converted church overlooking Glasgow, a former political correspondent watches the planes come and go, staring towards the countryside beyond the city while taking stock.
Beginning with the death of his wife, he gradually moves across their life together, between locations, snatching common memories, filling the past with details his children could never have known. At the same time, he is forced to concentrate on his own, immediate concerns; his loss of job, lack of friends, loneliness and crumbling attempts to fill his time. In Paris, on an unimportant newspaper assignment, he finds what he thinks is another beginning. The Casanova Papers are contemporary accounts, from a variety of sources, sightings, memories and opinions, of Giacomo Casanova de Signault, courtier, gambler, spy and writer - the man who gave his reputation to posterity, who struggled with his past and reconstructed his life into the way he wanted it to be remembered. As the narrative moves across time and location, what is the significance of these papers and what echoes do they contain? The Casanova Papers was shortlisted for both the McVitie and the Saltire awards.
Here's a few links to some personal resources and enthusiasms. A mixed bag!
A collection of second hand book sellers around the world, from Blair Atholl to Botswana. This site can search their stock to find whatever book you are looking for. Very handy.
A National Library of Scotland archive of street literature. Look through 300 years of broadsides, the tabloid of their time. Read about the sale of a wife in Edinburgh, suicides, pirates, prostitutes, masons, jacobites and shoemakers. All life is here!
The Good Gifts Catalogue. Buy someone a hive of bees, a kalashnikov or a hen! These ethical presents are an easy, accessible way to give money to charity and feel like you're getting something out of it.
A folk music site with a huge collection of lyrics, a forum and other bits and bobs.
Try this! You never know where it will take you.
Run by The Scottish Civic Trust, this is a list of buildings considered to be at risk of dereliction, demolition or other dangers. It lists the contact details for planning permission, owners, vendors, any known activity concerning the building, architects and history.
The TMSA are an organisation promoting and supporting Scottish music. They run various events and sessions countrywide.
The local information site with pictures, campaigns (such as re-opening Govanhill Baths), events and the latest gossip!
An information and advice site for walking in Scotland.