“A gallus wee Glesga robin is blown off-course by an unseasonal gale onto a rollercoaster flight of discovery in the Dear Green Place.”
There are important books that make for grim or difficult reading. What Starts Here Stops Here: A Tale of Glasgow and the World is not one of them. It is a book of urgent importance, but it is also a joy to read. Combining the incantatory writing of babs nicgriogair and the glorious artwork of Annabel Wright, it is presented as a children’s book, and it is that — but it is a children’s book for adults, and also an adults’ book for children, showing the history of Glasgow, and of the racism, classism, capitalism and arrogant human exceptionalism that has brought the world to its present (and likely final) crisis.
Told from the perspective of a time-travelling robin who meets James Watt, Angus Smith, and “the Birdman of Pollok” Colin MacLeod, as well as interacting with Glasgow’s murals, this short, huge, beautiful book not only diagnoses our societal disease and its causes, but gently points the way to health.
My publisher, Dockyard Press, has a blog called The Harbourmaster's Loug, which, since starting in November, has published work by an impressive variety of writers. From me there's an essay about why I left America and returned to Glasgow after 22 years, a short story updating William Hope Hodgson's Carnacki the Ghost-Finder to contemporary Scotland, and a poem.