Gritty Passion on the Streets of Edinburgh

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Augustine wrote that 'man is a wandering soul without love in his life'. His words provide the backdrop to Unlocking Carol's Smile by Daibhidh MacAdhaimh. A true to life gritty story of passion on the streets of Edinburgh . The result: "A shocking and compelling read." The Big Issue

Daibhiadh MacAdhaimh (pronounced Davie Machuv) left his native Scotland to work with the homeless and socially excluded in England. In this his first novel, he draws on his experiences and insights to highlight the issues and struggles endemic of this unsocial form of existence. Central to the story is the challenging of a taboo involving the relationship between a hard bitten charity worker and a homeless woman. She is the embodiment of all that is toxic: homeless, socially dysfunctional and a heavy boozer. He is the epitome of impulsiveness and male vulnerability. Even though socially they are worlds apart, emotionally the distance is not so great. It is this connection that works to draw them together in an unexpected way. From their first meeting Ian believes that he could help Carol confront her inner pain in a way that would enable her to find release and unlock the tightly sealed lips of her smile. However, in striving to do so Ian is forced to explore his own unsettled feelings and inadvertently releases more than either of them expected. The result leads to a gritty, passionate climax.

The launch of the book was well attended. MacAdhaimh explained to the gathering, using illustrations and anecdotes, what inspired him to write the book and why. The search for love was a major theme, encapsulated in Augustine's words: "Man is a wandering soul without love in his life." "In other words", MacAdhaimh explained, "without love in our lives, we are unfulfilled."

Unlocking Carol's Smile is not just a linear story set at a singular emotional pitch. It evokes many emotions within the reader. He or she at times is made to feel uncomfortable in a way that challenges his or her perception of marginalization, relationships, and also the role that a proper understanding of love plays in our lives. The book also highlights the power and emotional struggles that could take place between a social worker and his contact.

Verushka Louw, fiction buyer at Putney says of the book:

"The novel comes straight from the heart. It forces you to think about the reality of living on the streets and how we can make a difference."

Emily Pykett. The Big Issue In the North (UK) 29th May - 4th June edition:

'It seems a terrible taboo for a careworker to fall in love with a homeless woman. That's what makes Unlocking Carol's Smile a shocking and compelling read.'

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David Mcadam
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