The Glasgow Coma Scale by Neil D. A. Stewart

Book Review by Galen O' Hanlon | 27 Jun 2014
  • The Glasgow Coma Scale by Neil D A Stewart
Book title: The Glasgow Coma Scale
Author: Neil D. A. Stewart

The novel takes its title from the system used to judge consciousness in the comatose, applying it implicitly to its characters as they first numb out and then come round to the reality of their lives. Lynne, locked into a job at a call centre that she hates, has an urge to give everything away. She fantasises that she could give first her money and then her belongings to the homeless, and ‘after that, she might twist her fingers and pop off each joint, distribute these too, a controlled disintegration.’

It turns out one of the homeless people on Sauchiehall Street is her former art teacher – the one she had a crush on before she dropped out and slid into the monotony of life, job, mortgage. She takes him home, half out of kindness and half hoping he’ll fall in love with her. He doesn’t do that, but in his own disintegrated state he disrupts and challenges the cycle of victimhood that she’s made for herself. It’s an intriguing debut, capturing the psyches of two very different people as they look sidelong at the reasons their lives haven’t gone quite as well as they’d hoped. [Galen O'Hanlon]

Out 17 Jul, published by Corsair, RRP £14.99