Book Jacket


rank 2851
word count 16560
date submitted 18.05.2008
date updated 10.02.2009
genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Comedy...
classification: moderate

The Other Side of Here

Perry Iles

A set of stories comprising a novel covering 200 years in a Scottish town from 150 years ago to 50 years into the future.


The Other Side of Here is a novel built from stories centring on Annandale, a small town in south-west Scotland. Annandale is remote, secluded and old-fashioned. It lies in a fold of the Southern Uplands, away from the larger cities. Whilst each story stands alone, when put together the tales form a narrative in which individual episodes and characters are interlinked. These are stories from all walks of life. Characters are young and old. Indeed, they’re old in some stories and young in others. The teenage businessman, the desperate single mother, the group of school friends growing up with drinking games and masterplans for escape. From music-obsessed teenagers dressed in black to dead scoutmasters and tornadoes, from dreams of Mediterranean paradises to blizzards and psychiatric case assessments, from love and lust to faded footnotes in the broad palette of modern music, and from ghostly Victorian teenagers to a future world ravaged by war, terror and disease. The Other Side of Here is a comedy, a romance, an adventure and a work of fiction spanning nearly two centuries in which a Scottish community plays out its small-town history against the background of a changing world.

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KR wrote 2210 days ago

Wonderfully atmospheric storytelling. I love the idea of the different tales from different times all coming together in one book about one place. No constructive comments to make I'm afraid, just thought I'd stop by to say this is great, when can I buy the book?

Andrea Taylor wrote 612 days ago

Gosh, I absolutely loved this! I couldn't stop reading. This is a class act. Heaven knows why you are still sitting so low in the numbers; I guess its because either you are too busy (and this site does demand time and attention and the need to review other's work etc in order to progress, and most of us sort of like it/hate it, but mostly hate it) or you aren't that bothered about reaching the ED and just want feedback.
I havent read your biog yet so know nothing about you, but this is terrific writing. I've come across some really good stories on here and some very good writing but yours tops the lot. You should be published, without doubt.
If you aren't for goodness sakes take the time to review other's work and get yours moving again. What a talent to just let go. Work at it and get it out there!!
The de Amerley Affair

Maevesleibhin wrote 1011 days ago

I just finished The Lights of St. Margaret's. Brilliant! I loved it. This is fantastic storytelling. I loved how you kept coming back to the stars without overstating the point, how you take me through hopefulness to hopelessness to hope. The story is engaging and funny and the characters rich and colourful. I will read the second story and comment on it separately, but from what I have seen I will back it happily.
Maeve, author of Mrs. Maginnes is Dead

spender wrote 1103 days ago

Perry, I really, really enjoyed reading 'The Lights of St.Margarets'. A story narrated faultlessly... and I wanted to read more! Believable and wonderfully painted characters combining in a down-to-earth, real-life story. Fantastic stuff. The second story was harder for me to get into, though again well written. I have to say that I found the repetition of Mary's name just a wee bit too much at times - though I don't know what to suggest to remedy that.
Best wishes,
Simon Broom (Julie & Me).

Kolro wrote 1550 days ago

Intertwining stories that span centuries are exactly the kind of things I look for but never find. Praise be to Thor that you've gone and penned one you magnificent mohawked bastard, you. The writing here revels in the difference between time periods and the humour is sly in its prowess. An excellent job that deserves more airtime...if it was a TV show....which it isn't.

writingmum wrote 1602 days ago

What a great idea. Well done you.
Have you seen that competition that's just been released. It has to be set in Scotland, so I'm not entering but it might be good for you. Let me know if you're interested and I'll send you the link.
Good Writing

Jupiter Echoes wrote 1704 days ago

A very good read. I'm no genius, but I a really do like this. I never read fantasy, which i write, and prefer other genres, because i learn more by other people's styles. So, fluid prose with fine characterisation. The premise tells me that more good stuff is to come. I can only back this.


Cat091971 wrote 1707 days ago

I feel I don't have the qualifications to do an in depth critique. Suffice it to say I would love to see this book in print.

Paolito wrote 1829 days ago

The Other Side of Here...

Maybe's it's the Irish in me, but I loved this. Truly literary writing, IMHO. The dialogue shines and the rhythm of your sentences sings true.

I feel humbled and can't think of a constructive criticism. I do so hope that this lovely work finds a publisher. The fact that your stories are linked will help.


Shelved without a qualm.

IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES (would love your honest reactions now that I'm sooo close to the Editor's Desk because I want my novel to be the best it can be before it gets there.)

LittleDevil wrote 1850 days ago

I remember this from youwriteon. If I remember rightly it did quite well. I was on the same training course with Bobby Sands cousin once. Can't remember his name and it's not at all relevant but I just thought I'd mention it.
Happy to give this a spin on the shelf and see how it gets on here too.
Best wishes Perry
Sue (A Boy Called George)

Margaret Anthony wrote 1850 days ago

What a great start you have made. Two very different stories both brilliantly told. I came across this by chance and so glad I did. You have humour, imagery, spot-on dialogue and believable characters, what a fine mix.You are a natural story teller and I look forward to reading more. Meanwhile on my shelf and I hope others see it. Margaret.
Candles in the Garden &
The Spirit of the Butterfly.

AliB wrote 1902 days ago

Hello Perry
I have thoroughly enjoyed your two chapters and am very impressed with your writing. As an exiled Scot I simply searched ‘Scotland’ and ‘The Other Side of Here’ immediately took my eye. I like the idea of linked stories (eg Lake Wobegon?) and it’s a great way (only way?) to get short stories on the market. I find your writing confident and satisfyingly lyrical while retaining the spark of every day realism. The first story I find very hard to fault. I’m 50+ and a long way from ‘lad’ culture but loved it to bits – very similar I thought to Tim Lott’s ‘White City Blue’ – another favourite of mine. The dialogue is spot on, the pace perfect and the ending just right – a neat twist on the escape theme without being at all contrived. Small niggle – will everyone understand the vocabulary of sectarianism – left-footer, blue-nose? Maybe work in some subtle explanation near the start.
The second story struck me as a good contrast in style, more languorous and contemplative, clearly signalling a different period. I did think it might need a bit more editing to bring it to perfection – just one or two repetitive elements: Tom’s voice is twice ‘rusty with disuse’, and I think Spring also arrives twice?
A few other niggles. On my page 3 ‘Mary Watt rose ..’ I wondered if this might be better nearer the start to set the scene?
On my p4, after ‘pretend it was flour.’ I think you need a new paragraph.
My p6 – in the long paragraph (too long?) about leaving bread by the tree, I don’t like the mini flashback to explain how Jo has changed his route. Better to put this earlier rather than disrupt the current scene. Further down this para the word ‘saw’ is overused.
Towards the end you make some observations which are external to the characters, e.g. end p6 – Mary would not see herself as innocent (except in retrospect?) Also, following page – line about the seeds – presumably she doesn’t know this. It’s an authorial comment . ‘Love curdled ‘ would prefer this to be more closely attached to Tom. You do have an authorial voice in this piece but I think it’s best not to let it get obtrusive.
I think the ending could be tidier. This is Mary’s story – would rather finish thinking of her instead of Tom or Joe. I think you could almost finish at the wife’s dress that’s just too big. Very poignant.
These are just minor grumbles. And yes, the pitch needs tidying, but if the rest goes on like this I think it could be a winner. It’s on my shelf and I look forward to more. I’ll let you know if/when I get around to posting my own Scottish novel. Best of luck.
Alison (AliB)

mackenziespence wrote 1929 days ago

This is good stuff Perry. I'll come back later to read more.

Davina Emms wrote 1995 days ago

Hey, I'm new to this authonomy thing, but I started out searching for comedy and hit two gems right off, this and 'Forged Truth'. This is gentler but I still loved it. This is the greatest site ever.

Perry Iles wrote 2017 days ago

Many thanks to all who have posted comments on this recently. I really appreciate the kind words, and the support I'm getting here is invaluable.


Lorri Proctor wrote 2018 days ago

I found this some time back, put it on WL then thought, maybe not -but seeing it on Judith's shelf (she knows her stuff that gal) have come back and I love it. It's good to read some shorter stories and your sense of atmosphere came over at once in the first paragraph with Venus twinkling above the tree tops. It's humorous, realistic, the characters deliciously drawn. I agree, you should be higher. So I will back you and wish you luck with these splendid tales. Lorri

Pierre Van Rooyen wrote 2040 days ago

Have just added The Other Side of Here to my watchlist. regards. Pierre.

suecroz wrote 2044 days ago

Perry - I loved the first paragraph and then the one after that and after that. You are a true storyteller. You sort of remind me of a guy my siblings and I used to listen to on the radio as kids in the sixties. Can't remember his name right now. I'll back your book.

zenup wrote 2045 days ago

Great, natural storytelling and thank you for not putting us through too much dialect. I'd back this for its title, alone.

Perry Iles wrote 2053 days ago

I've been remiss in posting my thanks for comments on this (again). Everyone must be thinking what an ungrateful sod I am. So, for recent posts, comments and backing, thanks to Heather, So, Dai, Melissa, Bluestocking, Dee and Jak. Heather, many thanks for pointing out the typos. Always nice to clean things up properly Message function? What is this thing you call message function? I'll have to look into the heart of my own technological Luddism and bring myself up to date with the various functions of this site. Plus, of course, I'll have to finish this book, too.

heatherjacobs wrote 2054 days ago

Hi Perry, Dai Lowe sent me your way saying I would enjoy your stories and he was right. I've read the two you have posted and they are beautiful, evocative and heartbreaking. It would be great to have this collection published so it could go on my real bookshelf.

The first story is really funny despite the angst and longing of the teenager - I laughed at him wishing on a planet rather than a star and forgave you the 'fir coat' joke because of your 'pardon me' placed artfully next to it. I liked the owner of the Chinese restaurant getting his own back. And although I was urging your character to get to the coast, he was intelligent enough to recognise his 'escape' when he saw it that night he jumped naked on the trampoline. My only complaint is that you over-do the 'on the piss at the PISS'. You recognise this eventually, but you could maybe restrict its usage to a couple of times for more impact.

The second story is so sad - what a waste of lives! The mother and the baby because the storm stopped help getting through and then the father wasting away through grief and the bottle and then Mary. I felt sorry for the father - despite the impact his grief had on Mary's life - until the line, "I would have rather ruined you myself". And then the cruel end to her life and the gipsy returning too late to save her as the cycle of sadness continues on.

Thanks for sharing your delightful stories. You are one talented writer.

Cheers, Heather, Friends & Pho

PS/ A couple of typos - I was going to leave these in your messages so you could delete them, but you don't have that function. Let me know when you are done and I'll delete them. I've only pointed them out because your work is so good you may as well get it as clean as possible. I only read the second story close enough to typo spot, but am happy to go through the first story if this is helpful

* The boy hesitated, looked up at the man, who repreated his gesture (do you mean repeated?)
* Sorrell's field and Sorrowless Field - you mainly cap these, but then about 1/3 of the way through you use lower case field. It's in the paragraph, starting 'Sorrell's field changed with the seasons..."
* You use gipsy throughout the text then switch to gypsies (The encarpment was semi-permanent, always empty in the summer when the gypsies...' and 'He had been quiet and alone, knowing the town's attitude to gypsies'.
* 'Do you mind if I come in, miss?' he said. Then, a few pars on you cap Miss with "I'm Joe, Miss, Joe Stanwick like my father.'
* He would look over at her and she would walk around the tree and out if his sight (out of his sight)..

bluestocking wrote 2055 days ago

Made me blub like a little baby. Usually when I write these things up I'm all well, this might work better or I see where you're going but blah blah. Not this time.

On my shelf. In my heart.

Deborah Aldrich Farhi wrote 2068 days ago

Wow! Incredibly funny with just the right amount of serious at the right moments. I'm wondering why the chapters are so long? Ingenius writing style, lovable voice. Shelved.

JAK wrote 2076 days ago

Though these stories are so different, they both show your ability to live as your characters and understand their complexities. Like the best of short stories they do so much in few words, bringing an intensity of vision which is very moving. I thought the first person voice was perfect but then I read The sorrowless field and thought you did the transitions in the point of view wonderfully well.
Great description too: I can see this place and I am beginning to get a sense of the people who have made it what it is.
I'm shelving now; i'll buy the book. Wish it was out already as it would solve my Christmas present problems.

Dai Lowe wrote 2079 days ago

Half way through the first one at last and all I can say so far is 'This is fuckin' brilliant, pal!'

The only bit that doesn't make sense is the bit about tolerances being formed. It reads wrong because there's a bit about summer heat. I've been in this country for 3 years, noo ~ when do I get this summer fuckin' heat?

Assuming it continues to delight as I read the rest, I shall add more here and probably sing praises on the forum too.

Perry Iles wrote 2083 days ago

Hi Karen,

Thanks for your comments and backing. I guess the slang is a bit local. For "all my cans have been tanned" read "all my tins of beer have been drunk". I changed from present to past tense near the end to emphasise the shift from humourous blokey laddishness to something a bit more serious. Not sure if that sort of construction altogether works, but I guess the jury's still out on that one.

Thanks again


karen wester newton wrote 2084 days ago

I really like the way you write but I missed a lot of the slang because I'm an American. I mean, it was easier to follow than listening to a real live Scotsman talk, but you still lost me in some places (all my cans have been tanned?). I don't really mind not knowing what everything means, though. It's like travelling somewhere where you're afraid to ask what's in the food you're eating. Just because it tastes weird doesn't mean you can't enjoy it. I guess what I'm saying is it's authentic.

And if you make me laugh in one sentence and cry in the next, you're doing pretty good.

I do wish you would pick a tense and stick with it, though. My only complaint, really.

Richard P-S wrote 2099 days ago

Dear Perry,

Your writing is of the highest quality. You can be lyrical, and you can be tough. I don't normally like long paragraphs, but the long paragraphs in here are actually perfect, because they keep the tone, the encapsulate one part of the stories into a small kernel. I think that's a great skill. Good luck with this. It should be going up the rankings.

I'm bookshelving.


Richard P-S wrote 2099 days ago

Dear Perry, have watchlisted you for reading tomorrow.


lastings wrote 2108 days ago

Hi Perry
I've had a read of this before, and can without doubt say it's brilliant! It's off on my watchlist for another read, and I'll be shelving it later on! This should be at least in the top ten!
Good luck with it
PS - would love your comments on the latest version of Tyranny - I remember you reviewed the previous version, and I'd be interested to know if you think the later one works better!

Hannah wrote 2116 days ago

You were recommended on the forum.
Beautiful writing style. LOVE the opening few paragraphs and the analogies to planets and God.
You've created a strong cast of characters, and it will be interesting to see how all the chapters compare in voice.
Very well-written. I wish you lots of luck!


Steven Wyatt wrote 2117 days ago

I read this in one sitting, every word, entranced, and now it's going straight on to my bookshelf. Fine writing, fine work. More, please

betty blue wrote 2117 days ago

Perry, this is so evocative.
There's something bewildering about the way you write.
It's that specific time, place and group of people which are so well drawn, I can see them. I can. Ferret, Col, Milo, Hughie are all fully fleshed people. I get the sense of frustration, of nationalism, regionalism, resentment; and of small town life.
Yet for all your accurately portrayed specifics, you make me feel as though you're telling my story too.
There is something universal in the way you evoke teenage dissatisfaction, boundary-pushing, sense of respect, desire for other places and a different kind of life. I'm hearing Lee Marvin's Wand'ring Star - Home is made for comin' from and dreams of going to, Which with any luck will never come true - and relishing the ride. It takes skill to put such a common experience into stories that make you smile, nod and forget that you are supposed to be creatively critical.
As for constructive criticism, I forgot. Are you planning to post more?


Ali Cooper wrote 2117 days ago

this is very elegant writing. should you include in in the literary fiction category? anyway it's painting wonderful pictures. by the way, your bookshelf is out of date. I suggest you take a look at Common Places by Paul House if you haven't done so already. Also Liam Tulburg might appeal. Ali

paul house wrote 2121 days ago

I read and enjoyed the first story. You captured the empty, somewhat pathetic, pranks of youth perfectly. The two characters, Ferret and the narrator, come across clearly, and the others fill out the story, as they should do. The atmosphere of a small town where there is absolutely nothing to do except drink and fantasise about not being there is also clearly expressed. I hadn't expected the story to end as it does, but it is a fine way for it to finish. One would hope that the narrator might grow up after this, but I doubt it somehow.

Perry Iles wrote 2137 days ago

I've been a bit remiss in thanking people here for their effort and encouragement, so thanks, everyone who has commented on this book. I'm grateful for all comments, particularly from Kevin, who has obviously thought long and hard (and indeed overnight!) on the writing. It's really encouraging to get such feedback from strangers and old friends from other sites too.

This book is far from complete, but I hope to be adding more to it soon.


Visinker wrote 2139 days ago

I know this one from YWO. It's going on my shelf.

savagepj wrote 2143 days ago

Hello Perry,
I stopped to read your blurb for the book, found the concept intriguing, and put your book on my watchlist. I look forward to reading it later in the week. Two centuries in one community -- Scottish or otherwise -- is bound to be filled with the comedy, romance and adventure your blurb promises. You, however, seem something of a mystery, with almost no history in your personal profile. Curious to know if you grew up someplace on the other side of here -- PJ Savage

GillianH wrote 2150 days ago

Perry, I just saw this on someone else's shelf! I've read the opening and think the plot if brilliant - very atmospheric! I've added you to my shelf and look forward to reading more later.

Jasper wrote 2151 days ago

Top-rate stroytelling delivered with great craft and skill. An engrossing and involving treat of a read. Keep it coming.

Nix wrote 2152 days ago

A wonderfully descriptive piece, full of atmosphere. It was like peeping through a window and watching other people's lives. Your story telling is masterful. I very much look forward to reading more and have shelved this one.

Primrose Hill wrote 2166 days ago

I read The Sorrowless Field, and recognised it as the book I was given to critique on YWO -- the only time I went on that site I should add, because I never succeeded in uploading my work.
Enjoyed it much more this time, I must say, so if it improves with the reading that has to be a good sign. And I have nothing more to add except praise.
Do you have any more to upload? I would gladly read on if you do, and you could drop a note on my page to remind me.

KR wrote 2210 days ago

Wonderfully atmospheric storytelling. I love the idea of the different tales from different times all coming together in one book about one place. No constructive comments to make I'm afraid, just thought I'd stop by to say this is great, when can I buy the book?

Primrose Hill wrote 2252 days ago

I also like the concept of this. I was expecting lashings of rain and the apocalyptic storms you get up that way, but then I found you were all inside in the pub. But then you would be. I laughed a lot over the first story. I like the voice, the way of telling it as if the reader is sitting next to you in the pub, rather than writing to some generalised reader out there. thank you.

LewisB wrote 2257 days ago

I love the concept for this, and I like your writing style. I found the timeframe and age of the characters a little slippy, but I'm sure that can be ironed out.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this develops.