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Hearing voices.With a sly nod to his 1992 novel Poor Things, Old Men In Love purports to be the edited version of the retired Glaswegian schoolteacher John Tunnock’s papers – comprising three historical narratives (fragments of a proposed socio-historical work entitled Who Paid For All This?) and various diary entries – that have found their way into the hands of “local writer” Alasdair Gray, following Tunnock’s death. In a further metafictional layering, the historical fragments – taking in Periclean Athens, Mediciean Florence and Victorian Britain – comprise plays Gray wrote in the 60s and 70s.
Gray has a deceptively simple tone that shares as much with philosophical debate as it does with traditional storytelling. This novel is frequently more like an erudite conversation than anything else; one that grapples with the Iraq War, the interplay between commerce and art, Plato’s perverting of Socratic values and life in Glasgow between 1950 and the millennium. Gray’s combination of wit, anger and ethics is one that’s unique in British literature.
Old Men In Love, out now published by Bloomsbury.
Read members' comments related to this book.
comment by theroughbounds Oct 12, 2007As a teenager dog eared copies of Lanark were passed around - you have to read this. I dont think I read much else until I was in my late 20's . I think I had been avoiding Scottish books. But when the whole Children of Albion Rovers (Laura Hird/Jackuie Kay/Kevin Willamson) kicked of I started to read a lot of Scottish stuff. I like Andrew O'Hagan very much and I enjoyed Jamies book findings as well.
comment by chris power Oct 9, 2007It's a really enjoyable novel, theroughbounds. I think you'll like it a lot. I think Gray's a national treasure who deserves a readership commensurate with the praise he (mostly) receives when reviewed.
comment by theroughbounds Oct 8, 2007Saw him at the launch of the book of prefaces with Robert Crawford, he reads strongly but speaks with a stutter. I am looking forward getting this in the post.
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