‘A touching and unforgettable novel about dreams, redemption and the the beautiful game from one of Scotland’s most exciting contemporary novelists’
– There’s Only One Danny Garvey
[ About the Book ]
A promising young football player returns home to his tiny village, his dreams in tatters and a dark secret haunting his conscience, in a beautiful, unforgettable novel about hope and redemption, when everything seems lost…
Danny Garvey was a sixteen-year old footballing prodigy. Professional clubs clamoured to sign him, and a glittering future beckoned.
And yet, his early promise remained unfulfilled, and Danny is back home in the tiny village of Barshaw to manage the struggling junior team he once played for. What’s more, he’s hiding a secret about a tragic night, thirteen years earlier, that changed the course of several lives. There’s only one Danny Garvey, they once chanted … and that’s the problem.
[ My Review ]
There’s Only One Danny Garvey by David F. Ross was published in digital format with Orenda Books on November 21st and will be released in paperback original format January 21st 2021. It is very accurately described as ‘a story of irrational hopes and fevered dreams – of unstoppable passion and unflinching commitment in the face of defeat – There’s Only One Danny Garvey is, above all, an unforgettable tale about finding hope and redemption in the most unexpected of places.’
There’s Only One Danny Garvey is a book that took me very much by surprise. I am not a football fan and thought that it would be very heavily referenced with terms and personalities that would mean very little to me. I am so glad that I picked it up because, let me tell you, this is one very, very exceptional read. There are books that literally crawl into your soul and stay there. This is one. The people, the settings, the music all blend together to take the reader on a most extraordinary, and unexpectedly affecting, journey.
Danny Garvey had a very tough start in life but his passion for football enabled him to survive the challenges of his home and personal life. As word of his talent spread, Danny was a young player in demand. His hometown of Barshaw was where his career began and in a cruel twist of fate it’s now where he returns to. The expected success was never to be and Danny had been struggling to cope. An opportunity to manage his home team arose and, with persuasion, Danny returned. But Danny Garvey didn’t arrive back to Barshaw alone. He was accompanied by his own personal demons, ones that were to follow him wherever he lay his hat.
With his older brother in prison and his mother on her deathbed, Danny attempts to rise above his issues and immerse himself in his new role as club manager. The club had been relegated and Danny is determined to bring it back to its former glory. With a raggle-taggle team of unreliable players, Danny slowly begins to earn their trust. As they start to bring home a few wins under their belt, the support grows. Danny feels the change in the air and his confidence grows. But his past is a constant shadow, always bringing him back to an incident thirteen years previously when his life was marked forever.
David F. Ross has scattered the most amazing soundtrack throughout this novel with references to Oasis, The Smiths, The Blue Nile and much much more. The dialect throughout is very much Scottish which I expected to cause me problems but it didn’t. In fact it added to the authenticity of the novel. I think authentic is probably the best way I can describe this book. It just feels very very real. The characterisations are incredible bringing the anger, the pain, the frustration very much alive for the reader.
Orenda Books state that There’s Only One Danny Garvey is ‘a novel of our times…tackling disenfranchisement, working-class culture, mental health and shattered dreams with Ross’s trademark humour’ and to be quite honest it is very hard to come up with alternative description that illustrates this novel so well. A book packed with an energy that just bounces off the pages, the passion and pure commitment for the game is wonderfully portrayed as tempers fray both on and off the pitch. There is heart in this novel, one that once picked up cannot be put down. There’s Only One Danny Garvey does raise many relevant societal themes but all are handled very sensitively by Ross. I dare any reader not to be in pieces after turning the final page of this book, one that stays with you for many days after. All the characters came alive for me and I wanted, above all, for Danny to achieve the atonement he craved. Did he? Well that really is for you to find out.
There’s Only One Danny Garvey is a wee gem of a book, a poignant and heartbreaking tale. It is one that punches you in the gut and leaves you in no doubt that you have read something raw, something authentic, something very remarkable. Bravo Mr Ross…..
[ Bio ]
David F. Ross was born in Glasgow in 1964 and has lived in Kilmarnock for over 30 years. He is a graduate of the Mackintosh School of Architecture at Glasgow School of Art, an architect by day, and a hilarious social media commentator, author and enabler by night.
His debut novel The Last Days of Disco was shortlisted for the Authors Club Best First Novel Award, and received exceptional critical acclaim, as did the other two books in the Disco Days Trilogy: The Rise & Fall of the Miraculous Vespas and The Man Who Loved Islands. David lives in Ayrshire.
Twitter – @dfr10