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Language  English
Pages  190 pages
Originally published  2001
Genre  Bildungsroman
Country  Scotland
3.8/5 Goodreads

Publication date  2001
ISBN  978-0-7486-6328-6
Author  Alan Bissett
Publisher  Birlinn
OCLC  48836057
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Media type  Hardcover, paperback & ebook
Followed by  The Incredible Adam Spark
Similar  The Incredible Adam Sp, Death of a Ladies' Man, Pack Men, Damage Land: New Scottish, Alan Bissett: Collected

Boyracers is the debut novel of Scottish writer Alan Bissett. It was first published in 2001 by Edinburgh-based Polygon Books. The plot concerns four male teenagers growing up in the town of Falkirk, exploring the influences of popular culture, global capitalism and social class on the lives of young people in contemporary Scotland.


A tenth anniversary edition was produced in 2011. The same year, Bissett announced that he had finished work on a sequel entitled The Pack Men.


The narrative centres on 16-year-old Falkirk resident Alvin and his adventures with three slightly older friends. Alvin’s formative development is tracked in the context of the group’s activities, including boy-racing around the town in a car called Belinda and engaging in debates about film and music. He spends much of his time at school attempting to gain the attention of Tyra, his love interest, but is constantly hindered by Connor Livingston, an upper-middle class prefect who mocks Alvin and sneers at his social class, whilst also being interested in Tyra himself. As the most intellectually gifted of the group, Alvin struggles with the dilemma of choosing to continue his generally enjoyable local life or to leave his friends and the town behind and attend University.

Critical reception

The book received a positive reception from critics in Scotland. The Sunday Herald said: "Full of youthful brio, Boyracers has become with the passage of time an unexpectedly bittersweet portrait of the world before 9/11”. The Scotsman noted that, upon publication of Boyracers, that Bissett “was hailed as the voice of a new generation in urban Scots writing”.

The Herald said that the novel was “required reading for those who understand and live its message”. For the Scottish Review of Books, along with some of Bissett’s later works it “dramatised the tragicomic gap between media mirages of the good life and the cold reality we live in”.

Film adaptation

In 2009, it was reported by The Scotsman that the novel was in the process of being adapted into a feature film. On his official website in 2011, Bissett stated that the film had received funding from Scottish Screen and would be produced by Hopscotch Productions. Hopscotch Productions described the film as “a fast and furious coming of age tale set in small town Scotland”, and announced on their website in 2011 that it would be developed in partnership with Scottish Government arts agency Creative Scotland. He has visited some schools in the Falkirk area and read chapters of the book to them and asked for their opinion. He wrote about Hallglen in the book because not many people write a book about a place like Hallglen.


  • Bissett, Alan (2001), Boyracers (1st hardback ed.), Edinburgh: Polygon Books  ISBN 978-0-7486-6328-6
  • References

    Boyracers Wikipedia

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