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SCOTNOTES Study Guides

Alan Spence’s

John Burns

Published in: Paperback.
By: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 2010
Price: £5.95
ISBN 978-1-906841-02-7

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Alan Spence’s series of linked short stories, Its Colours They Are Fine, is a classic of modern Glasgow fiction, vividly evoking the city and its inhabitants. His second novel, Way To Go, is an at turns darkly humourous and deeply poignant novel about the ultimate questions of life and death.

John Burns’ Scotnote examines the social and philosophical backgrounds of Spence’s work, exploring the ties between the surface events and the deeper currents beneath. These notes are suitable for senior school pupils and students at all levels.


  • Alan Spence: his life and work
  • Its Colours They Are Fine
    • Introduction
    • Tinsel
    • The Ferry
    • Its Colours They Are Fine
    • Brilliant
    • Greensleeves
    • The Rain Dance
    • The Palace
    • Changes
    • Blue
  • Way To Go
    • Introduction
    • Interpretative summary
    • Style and characterisation
  • Conclusion
  • Coda
  • Glossary of Eastern philosophical terms
  • Bibliography


Last updated 21 October 2010.