Books by Janice Galloway

CLARA by Janice Galloway
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 1, 2003

"Still, the sound of Great Personalities clashing makes a rollicking good read."
Scottish novelist and storywriter Galloway (Where You Find It, 2002, etc.) brings us the life and work of Clara Schumann in an impassioned fictional biography. Read full book review >
WHERE YOU FIND IT by Janice Galloway
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 14, 2002

"Accomplished, yet emotionally arid writing: cold comfort for those who believe love conquers all."
Twenty stories, some mere fragments, describe with clinical detachment the gnawing disappointments and blighted realities of most loves. Read full book review >
FOREIGN PARTS by Janice Galloway
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 27, 1995

From the much-praised Scottish author Galloway (The Trick Is to Keep Breathing, 1994, etc.), an intermittently amusing warts- and-all story of two unmarried Scotswomen on a dreary French holiday, told in brittle flakes of self-consciously modern writing. Rona and Cassie are both in their 30s. Rona can drive the rattling automobile, Cassie can't; Rona smilingly finds a solution to various problems, Cassie sulkily thinks negative-but-true thoughts: ``...they would drink the coffee in silence, warding off the impending tip question...Foreign countries jesus. An interminable two weeks of this to come.'' As the two zig and zag through a bleakly downcast vision of roadside attractions and detours, Cassie relives her past with old boyfriends in accounts starting back when Cassie was a lower-class tourist awed by the London Tube and ending on nudist beaches in Albaniathat are delightfully awful: ``Tom. Happy as a pig in shit. Rows of compact arses turning their cheeks up to the sun in the guinness-coloured ovals of his shades.'' The novel finds a vein of life in these scenes more dense and powerful than in most of Rona's and Cassie's present-time misadventures, even adding in Galloway's didactic lectures about men, life, and the futility of escape through love or tourism: or after sitting through an homage to Molly Bloom's Ulysses monologuein which Cassie expresses both her longing for men and her disgust of themby which time one will be drumming one's fingertips in impatience. Well-observed scenes of quotidian France and hilariously downbeat details of modern love can't overcome the book's end-reliance on a sentimental, simplistic teaserwill Cassie and Rona become a romantic couple?and leaving the question of love for the next holiday trip only further postpones the drama in this one. A Thelma and Louise without the guns, the adventure, or even the convertible. Read full book review >
THE TRICK IS TO KEEP BREATHING by Janice Galloway
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 15, 1994

A superbly rendered first-person narrative about a depressed woman who may or may not be getting better, this novel was first published in Scotland and shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award. Galloway's sheaf of stories, Blood (1991), was seen here as bleak, powerful, uneven. Here, Galloway all but drowns herself in her scrambled heroine, Joy Stone, a 27-year-old drama teacher who lives outside Glasgow with trembling nerves and a superfine sensitivity to all shades of overcast. Be warned, Galloway's lyric psychological realism is as dense as Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse, her page an inventive litter of relentless subjectivity. Joy Stone is not the manic-depressive her name implies; she's just depressed and locked into endless black chat with herself as she reads horoscopes and letters to an advice columnist (``Dear Kathy, Please help me...''). She obsessively cleans her living room, prepares tea and biscuits for a visit from a health visitor from the social service that pays her rent (the overweight health visitor seems as depressed as Joy), goes through her skin-sizzling bathing ritual, throws out fresh food she finds viscous as plasma, uses nail-scissors to keep her pubic hair neat, perfumes between her toes, skips work often, refuses to talk with her psychiatrist about the accidental drowning of her lover and retreats inward. (``Tears drained backwards into my ears. I was floating up toward the ceiling, inflating with something like love: serene and distant as the Virgin Mary, radiating truth from the halo of stars round my head. I knew so much''). The end: midnight whisky-pictures of Joy as a mermaid in black waves. A woman with more problems than you, dreadfully well done. Read full book review >
BLOOD by Janice Galloway
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

A story collection from Scottish writer Galloway—reflecting a typically bleak late-20th-century British landscape and informing ethos—makes its American debut. Galloway writes about a sunless world of grimy streets, drunken men, and brutalized women. Many of the pieces are little more than brief sketches of a mood, place, or character; others resemble scenes from a play. All are relentlessly downbeat, even macabre. In the title story, a callous dentist dismisses a young patient after an extraction, ``with an unstoppable redness seeping through the fingers of her open mouth.'' In ``Breaking Through,'' a beloved cat is allowed to burn to death while a little girl watches; and in ``Two Fragments,'' two equally nasty explanations are given to a child for her grandmother's glass eye. Three notable pieces are: ``Later He Would Open His Eyes in a Strange Place, Wondering Where She,'' in which an elderly couple read the biography of Arthur Koestler, then decide to imitate him by committing suicide together; ``Plastering the Cracks,'' where a young woman engages some workmen but, later, eavesdropping through the wall, becomes fearful of their intentions; and ``A Week with Uncle Felix,'' in which Stenga, a withdrawn young girl unable to ask questions about her long-dead father (``You couldn't ask what he was like: that was the kind of question you never got much of an answer for. Or it got turned into something else: drunk and violent'') is abused by an elderly uncle. Powerful images and ideas in stories often too elliptical and fragmentary to engage fully. An interesting but uneven debut. Read full book review >