Format: Paperback, B Format, 198 x 129mm, 276pp
Nick Brooks was born and still lives in Glasgow. He achieved a First Class Honours Degree in English from Glasgow University, where he also graduated from the MLitt in Creative Writing.
One of Scottish Book Trust’s 25 Scottish novels to look forward to in 2014
An extraordinary achievement and change of direction for Brooks, in this, his third novel. Reported entirely by the protagonist, Grace, a semi-illiterate 40-something mother from Drumchapel, one of Glasgow’s most notorious schemes, this is a story soaked in humour and empathy as we follow Grace’s attempts to hold together her precarious, chaotic family life.
Grace cares for Sean, her grandson, and Vincent, her son, who wants to join the army. She lives in fear that Francis, her drug-addicted daughter and mother to Sean, will come back and take the boy away. In the spirit of The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey, the novel is written in Grace’s inimitable misspelt patois, with hilarious and moving effect.
Indecent Acts is a glorious exploration of real working class life, of family ties and tensions, memory, riotous misadventure and ultimate redemption.
Praise for Indecent Acts
‘These are the semi-illiterate ramblings of Grace, the lovable yet simple protagonist and narrator of this novel. Sticking the balance between tragedy and comedy, you can’t help but be moved by her frank account… Flawlessly tapping into the psyche of this jaded and middle-aged woman, Brooks presents us with a true working class character… Brooks’ ability to create such animated and captivating prose through the unconventional vehicle of a dim and self-deprecating woman makes Indecent Acts a real literary treat.’ [*****] The Skinny
‘…Grace narrates indecent acts using her own rules of grammar and spelling. Grace is illiterate so her unconventional writing style is initially hard to follow. Once the reader settles in, though, the story flows with its own inevitability. Grace is unintentionally funny and surprisingly insightful, and the pathos of her life is simultaneously hard to read and compelling. The reader can’t help but wish for better for Grace: better self-esteem, better support, and better choices. The poetry of her simple language will stick with the reader long after the book ends.’ [****] San Francisco Book Review
‘Nick Brooks has created a sympathetic and believable character in Grace… This novel provides the best social commentary I’ve read in ages, given warmth and complexity through Grace’s “angel and devil” characterisation, and leavened throughout by humour. Nick Brooks and Freight have taken a real chance with Indecent Acts. Do the decent thing and read it.’ Northwords Now
‘An authentic portrayal of working class (even ‘under class’) life in modern Scotland, building a complex picture of the generational, social, economic and political forces that work to disadvantage entire social groups… Indecent Acts is a literary tour de force’ DURA
‘The style, with its frequent repetitions and contradictions, as well as the misspellings, use of dialect words & syntactical inversions, really captured both the authentic “voice” & the social and cultural background and mind set of your protagonist, Gracie… the reader is given an effective picture of the mentally sick person, groping in the dark, confused and frightened both by her condition and by its effects on those around her… By the end, I was thoroughly engaged in Gracie’s life and would really love to read a sequel to this novel.’ Health Humanities Network
‘Brooks takes you deep inside the confusion of vulnerable, spiky Gracie in a slow-drip reveal of past, present and future – which for Grace is often one and the same thing. While you flip between wanting to give her a cuddle and give her a shake, you never lose sympathy for the tenderly-wrought Gracie Boats. Or stop thinking about her after the story’s finished.’ Karen Campbell, author of This Is Where I Am and Proof of Life