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SCOTNOTES Study Guides

Janice Galloway’s

Gillian Sargent

Published in: Paperback.
By: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 2016
Price: £5.95
ISBN 9781906841270

Janice Galloway’s novel The Trick is to Keep Breathing is a study of a woman, Joy Stone, overcome by grief, guilt, and self-hatred. Narrated by Joy herself, her life is agonisingly observed, taking the reader through a dark descent into a striking portrait of mental illness. Even so, the novel is laced with humour, and ultimately hope, as Joy gradually learns to begin to forgive, and understand, herself.

Gillian Sargent’s SCOTNOTE unpicks the threads of this close-worked and intricately crafted novel, explaining issues of narrative style and outlining the novel’s themes and symbolisms in an accessible and comprehensible fashion.


  • Janice Galloway: life and work
  • Introduction and Synopsis
  • Narrative Style
  • Themes in the Novel
  • Joy’s Relationships
  • Symbolism
  • Further Reading
  • Bibliography


Last updated 6 October 2016.