Graham Reilly's Novels
Saigon Tea - 2002
A fresh start in Saigon sounded like a good idea at the time... a bar sounded like a good idea at the time... anything sounded good to Glaswegians Frankie and Danny Canyon. The Saigon Mafia, however, was never a good idea, and certainly not a healthy one. Saigon Tea is about brotherly love, Francis Ford Coppola, Australian smallgoods, Mexican beer, and Vietnamese bar girls who aren’t quite what they seem… Saigon Tea is named after a drink, low on alcohol, favoured by Vietnamese hookers …
- Reilly’s writing about physical setting is superb ... Funny, moving and often tender, Saigon Tea is a book which bears out the truth that hardship is no barrier to laughter. (Canberra Times)
- The wonder of the writing here is its profound infectiousness and deep love of hometown dialogue. Saigon Tea is positively more-ish. (Barry Dickens - Big Issue)
- He allows his sardonic tone to speak for itself, he’s a natural. He has a natural warmth ... as well as a relaxed prose style and a gift for dialogue. (The Guardian)
Sweet Time - 2003Freshly removed from the clutches of the Catholic clergy, Douglas Fairbanks leaves Glasgow looking for a fresh start with his new wife Kirstin. What they find on arrival in Melbourne’s western suburbs in 1969 is an eclectic and eccentric group of fellow immigrants who all volunteer to join in Douglas’s scheme to set up a brand new soccer club, a project that proves to have ramifications beyond anything they could have imagined. Sweet Time is about the need to belong, and about two people struggling to create a new identity for themselves without letting the sweet times pass them by.
- There is poignancy and tenderness in the spaces between the humour. Like a good joke, Sweet Time is a story which lingers. Reilly’s sense of time and eye for detail is acute. It is part of the pleasure of the book. He writes with an easy elegance. (Sydney Morning Herald)
- Sweet Time is a funny and often moving novel about the need to belong, as seen through two people’s struggle to change their lives without sacrificing the sweetness of their times. (Michael Jacobson - Gold Coast Bulletin)
- In Sweet Time, Reilly has crafted a comedy of accommodation between football and language codes. The ribald fun of this good-natured book issues from Scottish mouths. Reilly ably shows what comic riches the migrant experience yields. (Bulletin)
Five Oranges, sequel to Saigon Tea - 2005
When Frankie Canyon returns to Glasgow after helping his Saigon-based brother Danny save his bar from the money-grabbing local mafia, he thinks he can get on with his life with his wife Eileen and pals Jimmy and Stella Stewart. And when Danny and his Vietnamese wife Mai invite them all to their new home in Melbourne for a summer holiday to remember, they can’t wait to get there.
But when it all starts to go wrong, mysterious packages arrive, things explode and people begin to get hurt, they have no choice but to return to the steamy Saigon underworld to hunt down the one man with a motive for revenge. And when they enlist the help of a sexually charged transsexual and a poor cyclo driver with a score to settle, anything can happen.
This compelling sequel to Saigon Tea is poignant and hilarious. It is all about Scotch whisky, Russian vodka, ageing disgracefully and the gentle madness of everyday life. Above all, it is a journey of self-discovery for ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations and decide to fight for what they think is right.