Spit against the wind:
IT’S the long, hot summer of 1968. For ten-year-old Kathleen Slaven and her pals, the school holidays beckon. Into their run-down village in the west of Scotland arrives Tony, a real American kid, like the ones from the movies, ready to lead them into all kinds of adventure: gaining sweet revenge on their sadistic teacher Miss Grant on a trip to Ayr, discovering the unsettling secrets of ‘Shaggy Island’, and coming up with ways to outwit the people who screw up their lives – like the local parish priest Father Flynn.
But the world they live in is a precarious one. And while they escape by playing at TV heroes and film stars, their mothers grow old before their time on broken promises, and fathers make a living in the coal mines or ‘digging ditches, in the pissing rain’, often boozing or gambling the wages away while their families go hungry. In an impoverished community, suffering and violence are never far from home. And even the optimism and escapism of their years cannot protect the children from the tragedies of life.
Reviews for Spit against the wind:
THE LIST: ‘Portraying childhood or the end of an era is a potential mire of sentimentality into which the unsupecting adult novelist can too easily sink. But Anna Smith does both and never becomes bogbound.’
THE SUNDAY EXPRESS: ‘An endearing coming-of-age novel elivered with a wry and adictive humour. It all adds up to a riveting tale that tanks along without missing a beat.’
GLASGOW EVENING TIMES: ‘Powerful stuff. A great read and hard to put down.’
SUNDAY MAIL: ‘Threaded with gentle humour. Inspirational and heartbreaking.’
MAIL ON SUNDAY: ‘Packed with trauma and drama.’
THE BIG ISSUE: ‘A charming and evocative tale about the glories of youth with a bitersweet tang of reality.
ABERDEEN PRESS & JOURNAL: ‘Smith has the rare skill of creating a story that envelopes the reader – at times you will feel like you are the fifth kid in Kath’s little gang. Falls into the category of modern Scottish classic literature
THE BELFAST NEWSLETTER: ‘The book leaves you yearning to be ten years old once more when life was simple and fantasy could block out pain.’’
THE BOOKSELLER: ‘Charming, evocative, nostalgic, moving and highly recommended.’
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