Waterline by Ross Raisin
Found on the Adult Fiction shelves at RAISIN
Plot summary : We meet Mick Little at his wife Cathy’s wake in Glasgow. Present are Mick’s sons, Robbie, who has come from Australia with his wife for the funeral and Craig from whom Mick is estranged and ‘The Highlanders’, Cathy’s sister and her husband.
Cathy died of mesothelioma probably contracted as the result of the asbestos Mick would have brought home on his clothing from his work in the Clydeside ship yards.
Mick is grief-struck and the story follows his journey from Glasgow to London and a descent into depression and homelessness.
Comments : Ross Raisin has written an agonisingly good story of a man whose world has fallen apart. Mick is just an ordinary guy who has tried to do the best for his family all the way through, working away from home and taking them to Australia and back in a bid to keep providing for them. That work has resulted in his wife’s death.
Mick’s disintegration into homelessness is insidious and realistic (for this comfortably-off reviewer anyway), showing it can happen to any one.
What I liked was that there was no glib, all-is-better ending. Mick does not end up with a happy ever after life back in the bosom of his family, there’s a long row to hoe and we are told it won’t be easy.
I was surprised to find that Ross Raisin is an Englishman. He gets the Weegie (Glaswegian) accent pretty well without making it inaccessible to non-Scots speakers.
I’d highly recommend this book and am going to take a keek at his first book, God’s Own Country (2008) which was shortlisted for 9 literary awards, including The Guardian First Book Award and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize.