Andrew O’Hagan has done it again. Ever since reading The Illuminations, I have felt this author’s ability to revolve novels around a sensitive subject, and through a succinct voice and wonderful characterisation he does so marvellously. Mayflies is set in the West coast of Scotland, certainly initially. It’s Summer 1986. A close group of friends have finished school, and are all geared up for an unforgettable weekend.
Andrew O’Hagan, FRSL (born 1968) is a Scottish novelist and author of the novels Our Fathers, Personality, and Be Near Me, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. His work has appeared in the London Review of Books, the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, and The Guardian.
So it’s the Summer in 1986 and with a distinct passion for music and a particular type of music this group of pals are all geared up for a weekend in Manchester, with hopes of eventually hitting the Hacienda. Their leader is the great Tully Dawson, he certainly seems the most passionate for this time away, but it soon becomes clear that there are things on mind he is using this trip to distract himself from.
2017 hits. James, a quieter more bookish member of the group is living in London but receives a startling message from Tully. Looking to him for guidance and advice but also to accompany him through his final months, and to grant Tully his final wish. The exploration of friendship and relationships is such a key part of this stunning novel, carrying nostalgia and bands such as New Order, The Smiths on the way. The characters are firm, the prose evokes the euphoria, the tragedy and the soundtrack to commit a life to. Mayflies is initially a joyride of a novel, and moves into something more reflective, slows the pace right down and discovers the significance of love and friendship. It is a journey worth taking.
Mayflies is out on 3rd September, published by Faber & Faber.