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3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  82 ratings  ·  20 reviews
""The rhythm changed and the chickens came down faster and faster. Sean found it hard to catch up and they piled like corpses in the rain. As he tried to pick one up another would bounce off the back off his hand. Sometimes their legs, or shorn feet, would dig him right in the finger. It was like when you're in a fight and the guy gets a couple in." (p. 16)
"Most of Sean O...more
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published April 3rd 2008 by New York (first published April 5th 2007)
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Jamie L
Oct 08, 2007 Jamie L rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Scotish-English speakers
I've been reading for days and I'm only on page 50. If you know what "Ah" and "doesnay" mean and you don't mind the "c-word" AND you can handle reading about the slaughtering of chickens, this book is rather amusing.

A review from Naill Griffiths (Wreckage and Stump): Fresh moves with all the terrifying inexorability of a factory conveyor belt. It is funny, moving gripping, magical, and tragic. A brilliant debut.

Final Review: this is the weirdest book. I found it neither funny nor moving nor mag...more
Ian Mapp
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Justin Matott

Author's background: McNay was raised in a mining village in central Scotland. After a failed electrical engineering course and 15 years doing odd jobs, he graduated from a creative writing course at a Scottish university and began his writing career. He lives in Norwich.

Plot in a nutshell: Sean works in a chicken factory, waiting for the birds to come down his line where he will hoist them high into the sky and send them off. The story takes place in one day,...more
Mark McNay's debut novel, “Fresh,” is a dark, violent, frequently hilarious book, one where the reader is delighted to feel a little out of sync, slightly off-kilter. Using the working-class Scottish dialect throughout “Fresh,” Mark places his characters firmly in their physical space--whether that be the town of Royston, the Fresh Chicken factory floor, or the family room, where relations poke and rag each other, the way families do, not entirely without judgment, not entirely without affection...more
I have mixed feelings about this book. I loved the way the author wrote it in a Scottish/British accent. It wasn't written badly and the characters were well developed. It covers one day in the life of the main character Sean O'Grady who happens to work in a chicken packaging plant. But I don't know, there was something about it that stops me from actually falling head over heels for this book. The ending was good but could have been better. There was a lot of swearing and scenes that were not n...more
Emma  Kaufmann
Written in a Scottish dialect that is easy to get into this really adds to the realism of this book - you can hear the characters chattering in your head. An absolutely brilliant book about a working class guy, Sean, who slaves at a chicken factory and whose life stinks. He tries to free himself from the noxious cloud that surrounds him which is caused not only by the scent of rotting chickens but by his psychotic brother Archie who is always hanging around, ready to put the boot into Sean's hea...more
Charles Suffredini
Sep 26, 2007 Charles Suffredini rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: buffons, petty larcenists and S.D.
One single day of all h*ll breaking loose for a man who works at a chicken processing plant in ireland when his criminal brother gets out of jail 6 months early and wishes to claim some spent money left in his custody.

The author did a great job of capturing the senses with sight, smell, sound and and a real feel for blue collar ireland on the criminal fringe. The protagonist predictably suffers, is chased and "gets away", but I still couldn't just put it down and I can put things down pretty eas...more
I devoured this entertaining novel in a weeks time. That's saying a lot for me. Initially I complained that the author's choice to eliminate all conversation punctuation was annoying, but I quickly adapted to this style and decided I rather liked it after all. Better than this, it written with a Scottish accent. By the time I had read a couple of chapters I found myself thinking and speaking with similar mannerisms. The story is a relatively old one, but the delivery is Fresh.
The author does a great job in his debut novel at keeping the pace up, as we get to look at an anything but typical day into the life of Sean O’Grady. In a story where characters make bad choices and are struck with plenty of bad luck, the more I read, the more difficult I found to put this book down. It shows the good and bad sides of family relationships, which I found rather interesting.
Luckily, this was a short book. I got it off the Barnes and Noble "Discover New Writers" shelf - normally I love everything from their selections. Not so much this one.

It was a quick read, but I didn't like it all that much. Not sure if it was the F-Bombs every other word, or the Scottish slang, or the chicken killing?!? Either way...not on the list of books I'll pass on to friends.
Nov 26, 2007 Andrea rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who can understand the Glasgow accent!
Comparisons to Irvine Welsh are only applicable when it comes to the accent (yeah yeah, Weegie and Edinbuggers aren't quite the same, but to foreigners, I'm afraid you are!) - this book feels so much more real and less, er, drug-fuelled. Having lived in central Scotland for aover a year now, I can absolutely imagine people like Sean. The Scots I know probably know people like Sean!
McNay writes a gripping novel. The tension starts right away and builds marvelously right to the end, which feels like the only possible end there could be. I wouldn't change anything. He has a great way of describing things, too. Very gritty. Real.
Donald Armfield
The dialogue in this book is great, i like the english cuss words, made me laugh, other wise the plot is alright 2 brothers fight 2 their death over money... 3 stars
Mary Therese
If you can put aside the bad language (literally ever sentence) this is a really clever book with an interesting plot. The way structure of the book is what makes it.
I read the first 70 pages then read the last ten pages and it was enough for me ! I could not see the humor ,did not enjoy the book at all .
Feb 10, 2008 Jim rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who think Scotland is all kilts and shortbread tins
Recommended to Jim by: Canongate Books
Please check out my full review of this book on my blog here: Buy Fresh.
Entertaining in its accuracy of language, but the ending after slogging through the a lot of inconsequentials was rather blah.
Rikke Jacobsen
Quite funny....eventhough the story is quite depressing...but very well written and nice "black" humor.
Richard Mulholland
Very well written, great read
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Mark Mcnay was born in 1965 and brought up in a mining village in central Scotland. After a failed electrical engineering course and fifteen years doing odd jobs Mark joined the UEA creative writing course in 1999. He graduated in 2003 with distinction.

In 2007 he won the Arts Foundation prize for New Fiction for Fresh, and recently won the 2007 Saltire First Book Award.
More about Mark Mcnay...
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