A tale of border warfare, military and erotic, set in the twenty-third century, where the women rule the kingdom and the men play war games. This is the fictional memoir of Wat Dryhope — edited, annotated and commented upon. History has come to an end, war is regulated as if it's all a game. But Wat, the "History Maker" himself, does not play entirely by the rules, and when a woman, Delilah Puddock, joins the fray, this 'utopian' history is further enlivened. Alasdair Gray cleverly plays with the notion and writing of history, as well as perennial modern debates on war, sexism and society — entertaining and thought-provoking, this is a delightful satire illustrated throughout by the author.
One of Alasdair Gray's most brilliant creations, Poor Things is a postmodern revision of Frankenstein that replaces the traditional monster with Bella Baxter-a beautiful young erotomaniac brought back to life with the brain of an infant. Godwin Baxter's scientific ambition to create the perfect companion is realized when he finds the drowned body of Bella, but his dream is thwarted by Dr. Archibald McCandless's jealous love for Baxter's creation. The hilarious tale of love and scandal that ensues would be "the whole story" in the hands of a lesser author (which in fact it is, for this account is actually written by Dr. McCandless). For Gray, though, this is only half the story, after which Bella (a.k.a. Victoria McCandless) has her own say in the matter. Satirizing the classic Victorian novel, Poor Things is a hilarious political allegory and a thought-provoking duel between the desires of men and the independence of women, from one of Scotland's most accomplished author.
Ten Tales Tall & True carries on the tradition, illustrations and all, from the alarming story of the train of the future and the child who has not yet made up its mind whether to be male or female to the poignancy of "Time Travelling, " a memorable picture of old age. There are, as the author assures us, social realism, sexual comedy, science fiction, and satire included here. There are also, as Gray confesses, more than ten tales — but "I would spoil my book by shortening it, spoil the title if I made it true." These stories are pure, unadulterated Alasdair Gray.
Fans of the work of Donald Barthelme, Kurt Vonnegut, George Saunders, and T. Coraghessan Boyle will revel in Alasdair Gray's masterful, witty collection. Gray's stories defy genre, and his angular, playful style, prodigious wit, and razor-sharp intellect are matched by his remarkable skill with the short-story form. In "Job's Skin Game," the narrator humbly tells his life story like the evenings news. During a moment of awkward revelation, he shares the strangely exquisite pleasure he receives from scratching at the skin condition he's developed since losing his two sons in the Twin Towers tragedy and a small fortune in the dot-com meltdown. In "Big Pockets with Button Flaps," a wily old man teases and taunts a pair of punk teenage girls as their confrontation takes on social implication through lightning-fast transfers of power and wit. The Ends of Our Tethers is vintage Gray — accessible, experimental, mischievous, wide ranging, beautifully written, and wise.
‘Too clever for its own good in parts, but otherwise a damned good read.’ Col. Sebastian Moran in the Simla Times.
‘This anthology may be likened to a vast architectural folly imblending the idioms of the Greek, Gothic, Oriental, Baroque, Scottish Baronial and Bauhaus schools. Like one who, absently sauntering the streets of Barcelona, suddenly beholds the breathtaking grandeur of Gaudi’s Familia Sagrada, I am compelled to admire a display of power and intricacy whose precise purpose evades me. Is the structure haunted by a truth too exalted and ghostly to dwell in a plainer edifice? Perhaps. I wonder. I doubt.’ Lady Nicola Stewart, Countess of Dunfermline in The Celtic Needlewoman.
Alasdair Gray’s most playful book earned a place in this Classic Series by being in print since first published by Canongate in 1983. This completely amended edition has two new stories; also a postscript by the author and Douglas Gifford.
"Beautiful, inventive, ambitious and nuts."-"The Times" (London)
"Our nearest contemporary equivalent to Blake, our sweetest-natured screwed-up visionary."-"London Evening Standard"
Alasdair Gray's unique melding of humor and metafiction at once hearken back to Laurence Sterne and sit beside today's literary mash-ups with equal comfort. "Old Men in Love" is smart, down-to-earth, funny, bawdy, politically inspired, dark, multi-layered, and filled with the kind of intertextual play that Gray delights in.
As with Gray's previous novel "Poor Things," several partial narratives are presented together. Here the conceit is that they were all discovered in the papers of the late John Tunnock, a retired Glasgow teacher who started a number of novels in settings as varied as Periclean Athens, Renaissance Florence, Victorian Somerset, and Britain under New Labour.
This is the first US edition (updated with the author's corrections from the UK edition) of a novel that British critics lauded as one of the best of Gray's long career. Beautifully printed in two colors throughout and featuring Gray's trademark strong design, "Old Men in Love" will stand out from everything else on the shelf. Fifty percent is fact and the rest is possible, but it must be read to be believed.
Alasdair Gray is one of Scotland's most well-known and acclaimed artists. He is the author of nine novels, including "Lanark," "1982 Janine," and the Whitbread and Guardian Prize-winning "Poor Things," as well as four collections of stories, two collections of poetry, and three books of nonfiction, including "The Book of Prefaces." He lives in Glasgow, Scotland.