I’ve been a member of Glasgow Women’s Library pretty much for as long as I’ve been in Glasgow. Over that nine and a half years, I’ve endured the most brain crushing boredom of being paradoxically unemployed whilst in a full-job; sobbed with the grief of a failed relationship and skipped through the butterfly tingles of a new one; wept at the difficulties of breast-feeding; had half a dozen different hair cuts/ hair colours/ glasses; delighted in the neighbourliness of our street; shed tears at the school gates on the first day of primary one and tried a plethora of different diet regimes but largely stayed the same size. In sum, I have lived my thirties as many women do – it’s been a decade of change. Possibly the one thing that has stayed constant over this time has been the Glasgow Women’s Library Book Group. Friends, addresses, priorities and ambitions have all morphed, but the last Thursday of each month predictably and solidly is our Book Group.
This is the kind of novel that makes the Glasgow marketing chaps and business brethren curl their toes. How can Glasgow shed its grime-infused, murderous-capital, criminal-underbelly stereotype when wee women keep writing about it? In a city where poverty resides in every second postcode, the marketing machine simply can’t ignore the side of Glasgow that isn’t ‘world class’ in the way we want it to be.
When I refer to women collectively, I am of course referring to Denise Mina, the titan of Glasgow crime and author of the Garnethill trilogy and the Alex Morrow series. The End of the Wasp Season was, literally, a book I couldn’t put down. I loved the attention to detail – the reference to the speed bumps in Castlemilk particularly sticks in my mind.