Hieroglyphics, by Anne Donovan

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The Independent Culture

Anne Donovan makes an assured debut with this collection of stories, which are mainly about girls and young women negotiating their independence, with only limited amounts of support from their absent or unloving family, or their selfish or married boyfriends. With the exception of an imaginative interplanetary correspondence between two schoolgirls, these are stories told in everyday images. Donovan is particularly good at creating a child's-eye view of the world, and her prose comes alive when it's in their Glaswegian vernacular. There's nothing very original or outstanding, but these are well-crafted stories that make their points forcefully and if Donovan decides to write a novel, I'll be interested to read it.