ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- This is undoubtedly one of my favourite books of the year - it's joyous and heartrending and funny and compassionate - and it even made me appreciate lads being lads! James has little in the way of family life, and spends his time outside of school hanging around with friends, particularly the charismatic and lively Tully, who is a couple of years older. Tully is the centre of everything in his circle, but like most of the young men in their working class Scottish town, has followed his father into factory work - which in 1986 in Thatcher's Britain is increasingly threatened.
When Tully, James and a number of other friends decide to go to Manchester for a weekend music festival, it is to be the highlight of their youth; but also the moment when their friendships will change and their futures deviate from the expected paths. All of which is shown, when the later part of the novel unfolds, when decades later James gets a phonecall from Tully that he has been expecting - and dreading. An intensely moving celebration of male friendship in a society which places great value on mateship but not on men's emotions, and how anything is possible if your friends are there... Lindy Jones
Everyone has a Tully Dawson: the friend who defines your life.
In the summer of 1986, in a small Scottish town, James and Tully ignite a brilliant friendship based on music, films and the rebel spirit. With school over and the locked world of their fathers before them, they rush towards the climax of their youth: a magical weekend in Manchester, the epicentre of everything that inspires them in working-class Britain. There, against the greatest soundtrack ever recorded, a vow is made: to go at life differently.
Thirty years on, half a life away, the phone rings. Tully has news.
Mayflies is a memorial to youth's euphorias and to everyday tragedy. A tender goodbye to an old union, it discovers the joy and the costs of love.
'An immensely engaging writer: wry and witty, and insightful.' - Sunday Times 'A vivid and meticulous writer.' - Observer