One City - Alexander McCall Smith, Ian Rankin, Irvine Welsh

Book Review by Milo McLaughlin | 15 Feb 2006
The proceeds from this thin volume, featuring Edinburgh's most popular contemporary authors, will go to the One City Trust, which aims to tackle social injustice and inequality in Edinburgh.

Rowling's heartfelt introduction describes her arrival in Edinburgh and subsequent financial struggles as a single mother. McCall Smith tells a subtly moving tale of an Indian biologist who moves to the city and is unsure how to fit in socially. Rankin, as with his Rebus series, uses real life events - in this case last year's Homeless World Cup - as the basis for a mildly supernatural yarn involving a Big Issue seller.

Welsh's surreally satirical tale of an escaped tiger (the same animal is referred to in all three stories) is the most cruelly effective of the three tales, and it exposes the absurdities of the city's ingrained inequality.

This is undoubtedly a very worthwhile purchase but it does seem a pity that other, less well known Edinburgh authors have not been given an opportunity to contribute and gain some much needed exposure from the venture.
One City is published by Polygon. Out now (Cover Price £5.99).