An Angela’s Ashes of Scotland.
The first novel from the bestselling author of Finding Peggy tells the story of Clydebank through its destruction during the Blitz and postwar decline.
Life for the folk who lived in Clydebank’s great tenements, known fondly as the Holy City, could be hard. But it could also be full of fun, largely because everything was shared. Here were real families, pulling together and laughing at their troubles and fighting to be a community. And then in March 1941 a rain of fire descended on them as the Nazis tried to snuff the Bankies’ spirit out; but this was a spirit not so easily extinguished…
The Holy City is a tale of the extraordinary heroism and humour of ordinary men and women. Its wonderful characters leap off the page at you; they will make you smile, make you sad and make your spirits soar, and, given the chance, they will take up permanent lodgings in your heart.
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‘A novel of exceptional warmth and optimism’
‘An enchanting tale of a remarkable woman from Clydebank… sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious but always mesmerising.’
‘A hugely absorbing story… Henderson brings the horror and pain of these wartime experiences vividly to life… with vigorous humour, common-sense wisdom and vitality.’
“'The Holy City' is a novel about growing up in the close-knit blue-collar community of Clydeside from the Twenties through to the present day, as seen through the eyes of Marion Katie MacLeod … Meg Henderson has pieced together an enormous jigsaw of memories to create a vision reminiscent of a Stanley Spencer painting. She shows us the true meaning of community spirit, through dialogue singing with humour … The vernacular speech is convincing and colourful, the characters true … The overall effect is of being at your auntie’s, of listening to an enthusiastic storyteller, of the fascination of taking a microscope to seemingly ordinary lives, seemingly mundane situations, and bringing them into dramatic focus.”
SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY
“Meg Henderson’s new book is an enchanting tale of a remarkable woman from Clydebank, whose sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious but always mesmerising memories of the wartime blitz on her beloved town stay sharp half a century later, giving her the strength and courage to meet everything that life throws at her.”
“A hugely absorbing story … It tells the tale of Marion MacLeod, daughter of a riveter, brought up in the Clydebank tenements, the ‘Holy City’, who loses her entire family in the Blitz. Henderson brings the horror and pain of these wartime experiences vividly to life … with vigorous humour, common-sense wisdom and vitality.”
“This book succeeds in evoking the compassion and the tribulations of people … who endured the hard times of the Thirties only to face the wholesale destruction of the town by the Luftwaffe in 1941 … [Henderson] mingles fact and fiction to moving effect – her account of the Blitz on Clydebank and its aftermath is harrowing.”
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