Distinguished by irony, compassion and the author's own dry wit, these three novels paint a memorable picture of life in the streets, schools and tenements of Glasgow in the 1950s and 60s. With a unique vision of loneliness, old age, sexual longing, hot young blood and youth's casual cruelty, George Friel's books explore a dark comedy of tangled communication, human need and fading community. All these elements come together in the humorous parable of greed, religion and slum youth that is The Boy Who Wanted Peace; in the fate of old and disturbed Miss Partridge who is obsessed with the innocence of young Grace; and in the mental collapse of Mr Alfred, a middle-aged schoolteacher who is in love with one of this pupils. The humour, realism and moral concern of Friel's work clearly anticipate and stand alongside the novels of Alan Spence, Alasdair Gray, William McIlvanney and James Kelman.
George Friel was born in 1910, the fourth of seven children. He attended Glasgow University, where he began to write. Until 1940 he worked as a teacher. After serving in the war he returned to live in Bishopbriggs, where he resumed his teaching career. He wrote slowly, and his three great novels were published between 1964 and 1972; The Glasgow Trilogy includes The Boy who Wanted Peace, Mr Alfred MA and Grace and Miss Partridge. His refusal to compromise and his integrity were out of fashion for his times, and he experienced much rejection during his lifetime. It is ironic that the literary rediscovery and rebirth of Scotland, of which he is so important a part, began shortly after his death in 1975.