Lean Tales.


« Lean Tales » is a collection of 43 short stories by three writers of the Glasgow school, novelists with a dark view of things, who depict the wreck of great industrial cities while reinventing Dickens and Zola in the homeland of Stevenson.

...from the 70s onwards, Gray, Leonard, Owens and Kelman will go against linguistic norms; they will give the « dispossessed » a chance to speak out, sometimes with violence, often with humour. Above all, this informal collective group of anti-Thatcher writers and artists will stir the imagination of a nation by playing with myths and genres. These Lean Tales are not weighted down by pathos or convention – for the sake of truthfulness – and justice. They are all at once an esthetic resume and a literary - if not political -manifesto.


Extract from the preface by Fabrice Lardreau to the French edition.



Anger drives me to share these texts.


What is left when one has nothing left... nothing much, no existence, not even an identity. No qualifying name, no Mister or Mrs, no patronym, maybe an acronym : S.D.F. in french. Sometimes with an effort one can pronounce a few words... homeless...a homeless person. When one lives somewhere one has a « roof over one's head », in the street one is without shelter. No fortune, no roof, a shelter. Maybe a chance shelter.


A heartfelt attraction drives me to these writings.


The texts I have chosen in the volume « Lean Tales » are sensitive, with no pathos; they give vagrants, down and outs, the chance to speak out. There is no bathos about their condition, simply a description, an inventory of premises, of needs. And all done with humour, self-derision and poetry.


Why show a disposessed in a theatre?


This question I may ask the writers of the short stories...! Society has imprisoned these men and women in the down and out category; dehumanised, made uniform. These texts are language given back, an occasion to believe that they out in the street belong to the same human kind as in comfy flats, an occasion to hear hopes other than the words stifled against a car window pane while begging at a traffic light. These hopes are present in each text, with humour, self-derision, and the will to stand up straight and stamp one's feet hard on the road.