Readers, or at least those people who are interested in books, know of a book that says something of their country. Mine is Neil Munro’s Tales of Para Handy.
It isn’t a novel but a collection of short stories.These are set in first two decades of the featuring a small coastal cargo boat captained by Para Handy. The boat carried coal or other bulk cargo from the river Clyde to ports in the Firth of Clyde returning with cargoes of timber or sand. Really it is not about the boat but it’s crew of four men. How they worked, got on with the each other and their little adventures. It has a gentle humour of real life. No jokes but just the normal fun of ordinary people living their lives. Like all of us do. These stories describe the world at that time. What the people were like, the area they inhabited, how they lived. No great theme or point, just stories.
The author, Neil Munro came from the region where the stories are set. He was native Gaelic speaker who left home to work in a Glasgow newspaper which eventually he became editor of. He must have a great journalist as what he conjours up briefly is worthy of any one.