Either I’m becoming a sentimental fool in my old age or it’s testament to Catriona Child’s ability as a writer; I’m going to credit the latter!
I’ve had a copy of Trackman on my shelves for about five years now, signed by the author too after a book event we did together, but it was on the back of interviewing Catriona for the Read All About It podcast that I thought I should finally get round to reading her book. I’m so glad I did.
The Trackman of the novel is Davie Watts, who works in an Edinburgh music shop. A homeless man gives him an mp3 player which very reveals itself to be something special, and seems to lead Davie through the city, helping specific people when they need it most… not all superheroes wear capes. One of them carries an mp3 player!
Davie has his own family issues he is having to deal with too, and the various strands of the story are handled so well throughout the book. And the author writes so perceptively and accurately in the voice of a young man.
Each chapter is the title of a song and music courses its way throughout the novel, as something which can connect us to others, or to events and moments in our lives, and how a particular song can, and often does, have the power to heal or soothe.
The tears in reading this took me by surprise since that very rarely happens to me – I think the last time was reading the ending to The Grapes of Wrath – but I admit, unapologetically, that the writing really moved me.
As I said, it’s also really funny, and includes a brilliant description of how to eat a Penguin biscuit with a cup of tea! I do the exact same thing with a Fox’s Classic biscuit.
Trackman is a great Edinburgh novel, a great Scottish book and just a brilliant read, despite the fact that, as Catriona Child pointed out in signing my copy of her book, there’s ‘no Duran Duran in here I’m afraid!’