LoveSexTravelMusik: Stories for the Easyjet Generation
Long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award
A lads’ weekend in Eastern Europe spirals out of control. A bleeding tourist is rescued by a stranger in downtown Toronto. A middle-aged woman holidaying in Tunisia considers the local options for love. An unemployed man shares his fantasies of a sex tour of Arizona with his long-suffering girlfriend. A woman is drawn into an impromptu but life-changing football game in the heart of the Amazon.
No Fireworks is the story of eight days in the life of Abe Stone, a 61-year-old, three times divorced history teacher and alcoholic. Left reeling by the death of his acid-tongued mother Evelyn, who hasn’t let being dead stop her from controlling him, Abe starts to realise he has done nothing with his life. Afraid his time might also be up soon, Abe goes in search of his true identity with help from his friend Henry and super-intelligent grand-daughter Lucille. No Fireworks is an upside-down, inside-out voyage of discovery novel, a fiery warning about the consequences of inaction and life unlived.
This novel was originally published by Faber and Faber in July 2005 in trade paperback format, then again in August 2006 in paperback. It was nominated for the Saltire First Book Award (Scotland), The Dylan Thomas Prize for Fiction (Worldwide), The Authors’ Club First Novel Award (UK) and The Glen Dimplex First Book Award (Ireland). Press for the book was mostly positive. The Times Literary Supplement called No Fireworks “thoughtful and brave”, The Independent on Sunday called Rodge “a very good comic writer” and The Scotsman called the book “a superb debut”, but The Daily Telegraph disagreed, accusing the author of “jumping on the Jewish bandwagon”.
No Fireworks was republished as an ebook by Freight Books in 2014.
Download extracts in PDF format:
Hope for Newborns follows the story of 23-year-old Lewis Passman, a recruitment consultant in search of love. After serving in the army, Lewis’s grandfather founded the Victory Barber Shop in Manchester as a tribute to all things Great and British. But three generations later the shop is being attacked by anti-war protestors and Lewis isn’t sure which side he’s on any more. He spends half his time trying to save his broken family and the other half trying to escape it: his walls are full of glamorous places he wants to go, and his head full of dreams of adventures he’d like to have. So when he receives an invitation from a woman called Christy Columbus to join the charity Hope for Newborns, ‘designed to help you repair your own damaged life and the lives of others’, he finds it impossible to resist. Soon he’s keeping secrets, breaking the law, and imagining something much bigger than escape…Hope for Newborns is full of comedy and sadness and the complications of modern life without faith – a warm and funny love story about two young people who’ve seen enough of the world to know they want more from it than it wants to give.
The novel was originally published by Faber & Faber in July 2008, then again in June 2009 in paperback. Reviews of the book were more widespread than for No Fireworks, and it received good notices in the broadsheet press both north and south of the border. The Scotsman newspaper said: “ Every once in a while, a book will come along that has the power to linger in the imagination – to keep gnawing away at you hours and days after you put it down. Such is the case with Hope for Newborns.” The Independent called the novel “excellent” and The Guardiansaid: “Glass has written a compassionate and quietly comic study of a country which has forgotten how to take pride in itself.”
Alasdair Gray: A Secretary’s Biography
Rodge’s personal biography of the Scottish author and artist Alasdair Gray was published in September 2008 in hardback and published in paperback in September 2009. It was the winner of the prestigious Somerset Maugham Award for Non-Fiction 2009 and was nominated for the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award in the same year. The book was also widely reviewed, receiving positive notices in publications as diverse as Time magazine, the Financial Times, Scottish Review of Books, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement and The Guardian. Reviews in The Observer , Scotland on Sunday and The Spectator were much more critical.
Below: please find a now out-of-date ‘Note About Subject and Biographer’ explaining how the biography came to be. This is an extract from the original Bloomsbury blurb:
Alasdair Gray, writer and painter, is now 73. He has always intended to write his autobiography, and sometimes still talks about it, but Gray is a busy man with a full diary. When this book was begun in early 2005 he was working on several projects: a political pamphlet called How We Should Rule Ourselves due in time for the spring election of that year, a book on his artwork called A Life in Pictures due to be finished by the end of 2005 (later delayed), and a novel which became Old Men in Love (released October 2007). He was also engaged on the biggest commission of his life, the mural at the Oran Mor Arts Centre, initially supposed to take until 2008/9 – now likely to take longer. Already the victim of one heart attack, Gray cheerfully suggested he may not survive to write the book of his life and rather liked the idea of Glass taking on the job, with his co-operation (but not control), before he went “ga-ga” (his expression) – on the condition that should he get round to it himself one day, he should have the power to re-use direct quotations from his own writing and conversation. This was granted.
Rodge Glass, 30, is now a novelist (No Fireworks, 2005, Hope for Newborns, 2008)) but wasn’t when he first encountered Gray in a Glasgow pub in 1998. Since then, while pursuing his own writing ambitions, he has filled many roles in the life of the writer/artist. For several years he took dictation whenever and wherever asked: whether Gray was in bed, in hospital or drinking soup cold from the can he was there with a pad or a laptop, awaiting instructions. Over the last ten years he has also been barman, tutee, secretary, signature forger, driver, researcher, advisor, chief technology negotiator, tea-maker and paperboy, with varying degrees of success. In this book Glass attempts one more role – biographer.
The Year of Open Doors (editor)
The Year of Open Doors is a collection of new work by nineteen of the most promising young writers in Scotland, edited by Rodge Glass and published by Cargo, a team of young, dedicated folks led by Mark Buckland who graduated from Strathclyde University in 2009 and immediately set up the company.
The authors in The Year of Open Doors went on an extensive tour across the country throughout 2010 taking in everything from major festivals to tiny library readings, and the collection was also released as a successful audio book in association with highly regarded Scottish independent label Chemikal Underground. Irvine Welsh, who later wrote a Foreword for the paperback edition, called The Year of Open Doors ‘a very important book…a genuine breakout collection’, The List magazine called it an ‘immaculate collection’ and the review in The Scotsman said: “Cargo Publishing has taken a risk here…[it] has paid off in spades. Deserves to be read. And recommended.”
The Year of Open Doors, which also includes an Introduction by Rodge, was published in July 2010. It features the following writers: Alan Bissett, Nora Chassler, Sophie Cooke, Jason Donald, Kirstin Innes, Doug Johnstone, Kapka Kassabova, Helen Lynch, Anneliese Mackintosh, Duncan MacLean, Kevin MacNeil, Daibidh Martin, Micaela Maftei, Aidan Moffat, Colette Paul, Suhayl Saadi, Tawona Sithole, Allan Wilson and Ryan Van Winkle.
Dougie’s War, co-written with Dave Turbitt and Adrian Searle
Dougie’s War is a graphic novel which tells the story of Dougie Campbell, who returns from serving in Afghanistan to his Glasgow home, and deals with the mental war that begins when the physical war ends. Partly funded by Veteran Scotland and dealing with the issue of PTSD, the tale is written by Rodge, with artwork by Dave Turbitt and additional essays by Adrian Searle. Dougie’s War is a hybrid, part-comic, part-homage to the classic Charley’s War (the first comic to deal with what used to be known as ‘shell shock’), and part factual investigation based on months of research with Scottish soldiers who have served all over the world in the past five decades.
The book was published in September 2010 by Freight, an award-winning, independent graphic design and publishing company based in Glasgow, also responsible for Gutter, Scotland’s top literary magazine. It received extensive notices in the broadsheets as well as traditional comic press, with The Spectator saying it “raises questions about the validity of the wars our country is conducting and, particularly, the effect these conflicts have on those involved”. The Sunday Herald said “its attempt to be honest, without being sensational or voyeuristic about the tragedy of war, is a successful and admirable one” and The Big Issue reported that Dougie’s War is “a hard-hitting tale of post traumatic stress syndrome… it hammers home its message without being preachy… as forceful as any conventional novel or non-fiction account”.
Find out more about Dougie’s War at www.dougieswar.com
Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs
Mark Wilson’s whole life has been about the moment when he steps on to Old Trafford to make his first appearance for Man Utd. But when a wayward pass from Ryan Giggs leads to THE WORST DEBUT EVER, Mark’s schoolboy obsession with him develops into something more dangerous.
Fifteen years later, after a career interrupted by drinking, injury, gambling, RESTRAINING ORDERS and burglary, Mark is now sober, gainfully-employed and looking forward to watching United at their CHAMPIONS LEAGUE-WINNING BEST. Most importantly for Mark, he is reconciled with the mother of his son, little Ryan. But as the old urges continue to struggle for voice in his head, can he keep his eye on the goal?