Eating Jesus manages to avoid the numerous cliches it could have stumbled into
'One murdered Orangeman. One pregnant Catholic. One Glasgow lawyer' proclaims the blurb on the cover of Glaswegian writer Elaine Marney's debut novel. Set in Bridgeton and the Gorbals, it follows friends and family affected by the murder of student Robert Lawrence after he insults King Billy in front of members of the Orange community he grew up with. He knew there would be repercussions, so what prompted him to do it? Gradually, his secret life with a Catholic girlfriend is uncovered, but it turns out there is far more to the story. Eating Jesus manages to avoid the numerous cliches it could have stumbled into: even within sectarianism there is room for grey areas, and the romantic sub-plot doesn't take a predictable course, although happily it does allow for a couple of non-cringeworthy sex scenes. Marney's treatment of family, violence, sex and gender in Glasgow is believable, examining the themes from multiple points of view, and the overall result is poignant, humorous and gripping. [Nine]
Out now, published by Lipstick Publishing. Cover price Ã‚Â£7.99 Paperback.