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Pull my pigtails. Make you cry. Fuck off and get cancer. I hope you die. Urban tales of despair and dysfunction are Laura Hird's trademark and she does not disappoint in Hope and Other Urban Tales. Set in the low-rent areas of Edinburgh, Hird's slices of reality are gritty, bleak and often darkly funny. Yet the possibility of hope, always just out of reach, unifies this collection, conveying that just as circumstances can reveal the morally obscure darkness in 'good' people, so can seemingly irredeemable characters harbour well-hidden pockets of humanity.
Laura Hird's debut novel, Born Free, was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and nominated for the Orange Prize. Her short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and in her previous collection, Nail. She lives in Edinburgh.
is a world of tripped-out crematorium attendants (Alan Warner), vengeful traffic-wardens (James Meek), born-again vinyl junkies (Gordon Legge), and teenage girls who sexually humiliate their teachers (Laura Hird). Also included are Paul Reekie's fictional account of ideals betrayed, and Irvine Welsh's first ever sci-fi story, featuring alien space casuals wreaking havoc through the known universe. The resulting mix is intoxicating to say the least.
"I miss them both every day, although I've just finished writing a book about mum, Dear Laura, 'by June and Laura Hird', which she would have really loved.