Tam and Richie are two itinerant Scots fencers and would-be heavy rockers with a predilection for beer, distressed denim and long silences. After the boss's dramatic announcement that "Mr McCrindle's fence has gone slack", they are duly dispatched to the McCrindle farm, where they finish off the work . . . then off to England where, after rain-sodden days bashing in fence posts, they wolf down baked beans in their shared squalid caravan and spend their evenings and their hard-earned cash in the local pub. Things become more complicated when they encounter the Hall Brothers - butchers, fencers and local heroes . . .
Shot through with farcical understatement, ironic and melodramatic climaxes and highly idiosyncratic comic motifs, this novel casts a sharp, merciless eye on the vagaries of contract employment and the work/drink/debt cycle that defines the lives of so many.
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Whitebread Award.