This article is from 2006.
For those who have been worried that Scottish literature had lost its political edge, along has come Alison Miller. Her first novel, Demo, looks at the entanglements between sleazy trustafarian Julian, hoity-toity Laetitia, the naive but passionate Claire and her activist brother Danny. Julian’s sexual manipulations of the two girls, and his clashes with the brooding Danny, take place against the backdrop of anti-capitalist protests in Florence, implying a link between the personal and the political.
‘When I was writing Demo, I had to keep reminding myself that I had to be honest to my characters’ experiences,’ Miller says. ‘When people get together in a group there is always someone trying to get power and someone opposing it, and they might think their aims are the same but there’s something more local going on.’
Miller uses a combination of voices from Claire’s lively first-person dialect to Laetitia’s upper-class register to look at these power differences between the characters and also, among other things, socialism, the changing face of Glasgow, the suffragette movement, Iraq, the G8, and a literary tradition that squeezes out the female perspective. Demo is astonishingly ambitious for a debut, and brings back the political commitment of novelists at a time when it is needed most. (Alan Bissett)
12 Aug (with Alice Greenaway & Jane Harris), 8.30pm, £8 (£6).