Treacle Town

‘Although sometimes I think that people like us are always alone in this world. Hidden away and stuck inside our Treacle Towns. Unequal and unrecognised.’ Con O’Neill, the protagonist of this novel reflects on life in his community, a so called ‘Treacle Town,’ where nobody can ever seem to leave, stuck in the roles imposed upon them by the people around them.

Treacle Town tells the story of Con and his close-knit group of friends, the ‘troops,’ as they navigate life following the death of one of their own, Mark ‘Biscuit McVitie. Within the first few chapters we are sucked into Con’s world, a world of gang violence, loss, and personal tragedy, stuck in a life of no pleasure and no prospects. No prospects, at least, until he discovers a community of slam poets and begins to see a way out of the life he has been forced to live thus far, a way to reclaim his voice, wielding his words rather than his fists.

Set in the author’s native town of Coatbridge Scotland, this novel has a certain personal weight, with heavy and complex topics treated in a delicate yet unapologetic fashion. The prose and dialogue are littered with slang, and a phonetic vernacular specific to the area with the narrator’s voice shining through in every line. This heartbreaking, empowering, and occasionally hilarious story is not one to be missed, although it is definitely not appropriate for younger readers, featuring explicit swearing and heavy violence.

About the Author
Author Headshot - Brian Conaghan
Brian Conaghan was born and raised in the Scottish town of Coatbridge but now lives in Dublin. He has a Master of Letters in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow. For many years Brian worked as a teacher and taught in Scotland, Italy and Ireland. His first YA novel for Bloomsbury, When Mr Dog Bites, was shortlisted for the 2015 Carnegie Medal, and his second, The Bombs That Brought Us
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Book Cover - Treacle Town
Publication Date
October 2023