Ian Pattison (4 stars)

Looking at the Stars (Black and White)



Judging by the predicaments experienced by the anti-hero of his third novel, Ian Pattison looks to be exorcising his Rab C Nesbitt ghosts. Tucker, a fortysomething one-time screenwriter, currently reading scripts to make a living, lives a bitter life characterised by drink and pick-ups around the bars of Glasgow’s West End, accompanied by his gang of similarly past-it writer and actor friends. Hollywood is the Holy Grail for all of them, yet Tucker’s ideas are more ‘Proust in Paisley’ than ‘Jaws in space’. Resolving to kill himself if he hasn’t achieved something by his 41st birthday, he instead kills someone else, and steals their unknown screenplay.

Inevitably, however, the Hollywood grass isn’t greener when he lands there. Characterised by the same laugh-or-you’ll-cry mentality of Pattison’s screen work, this worthy page-turner is nevertheless a deeper and more involving study of ambition, failure and ultimately hollow success than Rab and Mary Doll’s world ever touched upon.


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