Ross Raisin - Waterline (2 stars)

Ross Raisin - Waterline


The strength of Ross Raisin’s debut novel, God’s Own Country, was the authenticity of the central character’s Yorkshire voice, but for this follow-up Raisin has moved proceedings to Glasgow, and it has to be said that his Scottish brogue is a lot less convincing.

The story begins with former shipbuilder Mick Little grieving for his recently dead wife. His two sons – one caring, one with issues – and his Highland in-laws are suffocating him, and he can’t wait for them to leave. But when they do, Mick slips anchor himself, struggling with his loss as he first begins sleeping in the shed, then ups and leaves for London on a whim.

The book begins slowly and tepidly, Raisin’s morose take on Glasgow over-familiar to anyone who’s read the last 30 years of Scottish literature, and the dialect remains clunky throughout. The book latterly accelerates into a passable Kelman-esque stagger through London’s underbelly, but it’s not enough to save what is actually a pretty pedestrian affair all round.

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