From Ross Raisin, the highly acclaimed author of Out Backward—a debut novel Colm Tóibín called “compelling, disturbing and often very funny”—comes the moving and story of an ex-shipyard worker’s journey of grief and reclamation in the wake of his wife’s death. Lyrical and resonant, with echoes of Paul Harding’s Tinkers and Anne Enright’s The Gathering, Raisin’s blue collar story of a man’s fractured search for a new beginning is a powerfully voiced, penetratingly personal narrative of alienation and, ultimately, redemption.
“Ross Raisin confirms himself as an exciting talent, a unique, gifted, and generous voice, a young writer with a vision broad far beyond his years.” —David Vann, Financial Times
Raisin's (Out Backward) second novel is a powerful depiction of the dislocating effects of grief. Glasgow shipyard worker Mick Little is unmoored when his beloved wife, Cathy, dies of cancer. Blamed by his son for her death, Mick withdraws and slides into despondency and drink. Unable to bear the pitying stares of his friends or the memories of home, he moves to London, but finds few opportunities and little to distract him from his sorrows and submits to a dissolution scarcely imaginable. Raisin's novel, written in a sometimes inscrutable brogue, does not unfold easily. The Beckettian repetition of mourning, numbness, and self-destruction mimics Mick's disorientation and growing dysfunction. But the persistent reader will find his tragic fall and ultimate salvation genuinely moving. Mick is finely rendered as a man alienated by his love and guilt; his downward spiral feels painfully real. Raisin is as likely to linger on a moment of idleness as on Mick's inchoate fury, capturing the cadences of depression and rage. The novel argues for patience and empathy in the face of self-inflicted ruin, even as Mick and his family struggle to find it for themselves.