Cover image for A Glasgow trilogy.
A Glasgow trilogy.
Friel, George.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Edinburgh : Canongate, 1999.
Physical Description:
590 pages ; 20 cm
The boy who wanted peace. Originally published: London: Calder, 1964 - Mr Alfred MA. Originally published: London: Calder & Boyars, 1972 - Grace and Miss Partridge. Originally published: London: Calder & Boyars, 1969.
Added Title:
Mr Alfred MA.

The boy who wanted peace.

Grace and Miss Partridge.
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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 JamesKelman.

Author Notes

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.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Even with the current convention-breaking renaissance in Scottish literature headed by the likes of James Kelman and Irvine Welsh, there's something to be said for the previous generation's more traditional accomplishments, such as those of Kelman's fellow Glaswegian George Friel (1910-75). Compared to the e-generation's wild style, Friel's novels' dourly ironic, slightly deterministic plots are well-made plays. Typically fixing on a loner or eccentric for a protagonist, such as the aimless adolescent Percy Phinn, the staunch Presbyterian Mrs. Partridge or the superannuated schoolmaster Mr. Alfred, the novels array the supporting cast around them in Friel's vividly realized Glasgow. The separate downfalls of Percy, after discovering a bank robbers' cached loot, and Mr. Alfred, a victim of the modern youth culture, are compelling enough, but it's the surrounding characters that make the books hum with Glasgow's tenement life. In the best of the three, Grace and Mrs. Partridge, Friel orchestrates over half a dozen well-drawn characters in counterpoint with bank employee "Wee Annie" Partridge's progressively more disturbing obsession with saving the soul of her downstairs neighbor, 10-year-old Grace. With exacting realism and fine-tuned dialect, these novels are a testament to Friel's posthumously emergent role in Scottish fiction. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This volume combines the writer's The Boy Who Wanted Peace (1964), Grace and Miss Partridge (1969), and Mr. Alfred M.A. (1972) into one convenient package. Though popular in his native Scotland, Friel is not as well known on U.S. shores. This edition will allow libraries to stock his best-known works easily at an affordable price. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.