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The choir from Our Lady of Perpetual Succour School for Girls is being bussed to the national finals in the big, big city. And it's an important day for The Sopranos - Orla, Kylah, (Ra)Chell, Amanda Konky and Fionnula (the Cooler) - pub-crawling, shoplifting and body-piercing being the top priorities. Then it's time to lose that competition - lose, because a nuclear sub has just anchored in the bay and, tonight, the Man Trap disco will be full of submariners on shore-leave. There is no time for delays...But after the fifth bottle of alco-pop up the back of the bus it's clear that all is not going to plan, for anyone. The Sopranos are never going to be the same.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099268741
ISBN-10: 0099268744
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 20mm)
Pages: 336
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 2-Jul-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » This quirky novel follows the progress of a group of convent girls let loose in Edinburgh for the day before their school choir competition (imagine St Trinian's, but with added 1990s temptations such as body-piercing and tequila). The girls' voices are fresh, funny and distinctive and you get a real sense of what it feels like to be embarking on adult life at the tail end of the century. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » A defiantly abrasive tale by Scots author Warner (These Demented Lands, 1998, etc.) chronicles the misadventures of a sextet of teenaged Catholic schoolgirls seeking excitement and dissipation. The Sopranos, we're told, was a commercial hit in England, and it's easy to see why: the Belles of St. Trinian's were obedient angels compared with the foulmouthed malcontents from our Lady of Perpetual Succor, where 27 girls got pregnant in one year; distracted Father Ardlui (a lapsed novelist) avoids unpleasant realities by distractedly imagining miracles; and much-despised Sister Pagan ("the Pagan") and Condron ("Sister Condom") strive womanfully to keep their disrespectful charges pure and holy. A group of the latter bond uproariously when the choir in which they sing travels to "the big, big city" for a musical competition. Warner nicely characterizes the girls in boisterous accounts of R-rated shopping trips, furtive boozing (they imbibe "alcoholic lemonade"), and heated pursuit - primarily at a disco called the Mantrap - of available men, whose shortcomings they nevertheless assess in high obscene style (". . . AIDS is the least of your worries wi those two dicks, more like Mad Cows Disease"). The novel's tendency toward monotony is relieved by its roving fragmented structure (e.g., a long drunken conversation between Kay, who fears she's pregnant, and Fionnula, who's discovering she's gay, both quickens the story's pace and broadens its scope) and by several flashbacks that vividly personalize such otherwise blurry characters as (Ra) Chell, stunted by a legacy of incest, Kylah (singer with the rock band Lemonfinger), and Orla, whose grimly funny failed attempt at sex seems to embody the frustrations they're all kicking back at. A little of this goes a long way, but Warner ends things smashingly with a seriocomic "all-nighter" featuring fireworks in toilets, "snogging" and "shagging" enough for all, followed by a happily unrepentant journey home. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Alan Warner

Alan Warner is the author of six other novels: Morvern Callar, These Demented Lands, The Man Who Walks, The Worms Can Carry Me To Heaven, The Stars in the Bright Sky, which was longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize, and The Deadman's Pedal. He is Writer in Residence at Edinburgh University.

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