If my father had been killed in North Africa or Italy during the Second World War, I know that for the rest of my life I would have looked at the few photographs of him and mourned our lost relationship. Unfortunately, he survived and came home.
A wonderfully colourful and deeply poignant memoir of growing up in a 'single end' - one room in a Glasgow tenement - during and immediately after the Second World War. Although young Robert Douglas's life was blighted by the cruel if sporadic presence of his father, it was equally blessed by the love of his mother, Janet. While the story of their life together is in some ways very sad, it is also filled with humorous and happy memories. NIGHT SONG OF THE LAST TRAM is a superb evocation of childhood and of a Glasgow of trams and tenements that has long since disappeared.
Exquisite ... a beautiful paean - Sunday Times
His prose is direct, pacy, uncluttered ... engaging, deftly written and honestly remembered - Herald
NIGHT SONG OF THE LAST TRAM is a simply written book and all the better for it ... It recreates stunningly clear memories of a Glasgow childhood ... At the age of 66, Robert Douglas has written his first book - I cannot believe it will be his last. - Daily Mail, Scotland
A well-written slice of social history delivered directly by an eyewitness - Independent on Sunday
It has been a while since a book has reduced me to both tears of laughter and sympathy, but Robert Douglas managed it with NIGHT SONG OF THE LAST TRAM. - Journal, Newcastle
It is as a record of the old Glasgow spirit that this book is especially worthwhile. - Sunday Herald
The portrait of his mother is beautifully done ... and her loss (through breast cancer) when he was still very young is heartbreaking: it brings tears to my eyes now just writing about it. Douglas has real skill in conveying experience and his use of the Glasgow vernacular lends an extra poetry to the writing. A quite exceptional autobiography. - Publishing News, Book of the Month, November
Told with a direct, unsentimental honesty ... a vividness that makes them real. This is a remarkable, deeply moving autobiography. - Cumberland Times
Robert Douglas retired, aged fifty-five, in 1994. He intended to paint, write short stories and lie about the house watching old films. A one-off article he wrote about six weeks spent with a condemned man in Bristol prison led to him being told 'You should write.'
His first book - the bestselling NIGHT SONG OF THE LAST TRAM - is centred around his Glasgow childhood and became the first book in the popular trilogy detailing his life as a miner, dock worker, doss-house resident, soldier, prison screw - and survivor.
He hasn't painted for years.