‘Plastering the Cracks’ by Janice Galloway

I’m sure I first heard about Janice Galloway via James Kelman. I went along to an event where she was reading from her first novel The Trick is To Keep Breathing at the Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine in 1991 or thereabouts. I regularly call her the queen, as she is without a doubt up there with my absolute favourites. Her writing is visceral, unnerving, and fierce. (She’s also from Ayrshire!)

‘Plastering the Cracks’ is a tense, noir-esque piece, where a young woman employs some builders but, later, eavesdropping through the wall, becomes worried about their intentions. Janice Galloway writes with a looming sense of danger and her landscape is filled with brutal men, often drunks, and women living in fear of their actions. I love her use of dialect and the directness of her dialogue – no speech marks, immersing you into her words and her world.

First published in Blood, Secker and Warburg/Random House, 1991

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