Rhona Cameron (3 stars)

The Naked Drinking Club (Ebury)

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AUSTRALIAN ADVENTURE

In 1979, the chronicle of a year in Cameron’s teenage life, she’s an adopted Lothians lassie who fixates on girls, lets the boys take advantage of her, and watches her father die. In her first novel, The Naked Drinking Club, the 24-year-old protagonist Kerry is a refracted parallel, and the action has moved to Australia. Here she hopes to discover herself - and her birth mother.

Kerry finds a job selling oil paintings - or rather, hawking the same set of tasteless daubs over and over again (knocked up by industrious chappies in Bali). The techniques that Kerry develops are evocative of the way a comedian captures an audience, and reflect back onto Cameron herself. Outside of this, a series of vignettes tie together a shaggy dog story - albeit an amusing one.

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