John Boyle was born and raised in Scotland but he could never feel Scottish. His parents were poor immigrants from the West of Ireland who came to Scotland to find work and eventually settled in Paisley, where John was the first of six children. This work captures the poverty and the rough humour of the family's life in the Paisley tenements, the songs and stories of their Irish Catholic relatives and the often uneasy relationships with their Scottish Protestant neighbours. It also shows how the boy is marked at the age of ten by an extended stay with his spinster aunt on the remote island of Achill, as he begins to understand the life his parents left behind. This is a book about exile and belonging, about the poignancy of growing up Irish in Scotland, so close to the place your mother still calls home. It is a truthful, funny and moving evocation of a unique place and time, experienced through the eyes of a child.
John Boyle left Scotland at age 19 and has lived most of his adult life abroad. He taught English in Spain and London, managed language schools in Belgium and Holland, then set up a communication consultancy in Brussels. He now divides his time between Brussels, New York and London, doing commercial voiceovers and writing.