Books Columnist Emily Hay reviews HWFG, so get ready to “take a seat and grab a pint because McQueer is back”
If like the rest of Glasgow you’ve been eagerly awaiting the return of Chris McQueer after laughing your way through his short story collection Hings last year, then I’m buzzing to announce that the wait is over my friends. His new collection of short stories HWFG launches this month, so take a seat and grab a pint because McQueer is back – and the writing is better and darker than ever before.
You may have been able to tell already from its take-no-prisoners title Here We Fucking Go, but this book is not for the faint-hearted. Although it features some of the same old faces from Hings (you didn’t think that was the last we’d see of Big Angie, did you?) brace yourselves, because this collection has far surpassed the Hings 2 we were all promised. Notably darker, the humour at play in HWFG delights in the morbid – the slapstick of Hings has been swapped for some deeper satirical twists to the everyday Scottish life we all know and love. Don’t let that fool you though, amongst those more serious undertones the subject matter at play here is still as surreal as ever. From an evil mastermind moth, to Kim Jong-un getting battered by a Barlinnie prison warden, to caravan park holidays, the mundane and the downright weird once again meet in McQueer’s undeniably distinctive Glaswegian voice.
What also distinguishes HWFG from McQueer’s earlier collection is that the cross-media influence on his writing is more noticeable now than ever before. Twitter was where he started his writing career and made a name for himself, and now Twitter isn’t only being used to promote his books and threaten French footballers. Stories the likes of “Extreme Polls”, “Leathered” and “A Weekend in Twitter Jail” all feature Twitter, or McQueer’s own interactions with it, in some way or another. This amalgamation of new and old media is just the kind of crossover that he does so well, pulling the 21st Century into Scottish writing in new and exciting ways. “Unoriginal” is certainly not a word which could ever be associated with McQueer’s writing.
All told, HWFG is Chris McQueer levelled up: edgier and funnier than ever before. Don’t be a shitebag, get it read.
HWFG is out on 8th November, buy it directly from 404 Ink here: https://www.404ink.com/store/hwfg-by-chris-mcqueer
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