Lanark: A Life in Four Books (Canongate Classics) [Alasdair Gray, Janice Galloway] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. From its first. This month’s feature from the Special Collections Department is the drafts and papers relating to Alasdair Gray’s most famous novel, Lanark: A life in four books. When he wrote his first novel, Lanark: A Life in Four Books, Alasdair Gray had a great many things he wanted to accomplish. He wanted to write.

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I only have about pages left so I’ll soldier through and finish it although I’m unimpressed and will probably not pick up another Gray for some time.

Lanark opens with Book III, and the eponymous character succumbing to a mysterious disease — dragonskin — in the equally mysterious city of Unthank. Why’d I have to relate to this of all books?

But it could never have been enough: Notably, the second image of a manuscript draft does not vary greatly from the final printed version of the page. To view it, click here. This means you only get occasional glimpses of the real city which is disappointing.

At its heart, Lanark is a portrait of the artist as a young man — another of the key texts referenced directly by Gray in his crafty and very funny — Lanark is funny, folks Epilogue. Thus the five stars. Dec 19, Lori rated it really liked it. I adore this book. I was already an intermittent reviewer of fiction in the TLS but I suspect that the Lanark commission arose because of two factors — my nationality Scottish — colonial version and because I knew the city of Glasgow, having spent four years there at university.

There have been numerous interpretations of Lanark with varying explanations of what it means and who the characters are, and also what has influenced Gray and his writing.


One of the most characteristically postmodern parts of the book is the Epilogue, in which Lanark meets the author in the guise of the character “Nastler”. This realisation — that like every great artist he is essentially on his own in uncharted territory — is both exhilarating and terrifying.

#weird Lanark by Alasdair Gray – The Spider’s House

This section of Lanark is very much autobiographical, mirroring numerous events in Gray’s life such as his evacuation during the war to Perthshire, the occasion of a dance at the Glasgow School of Art, and Gray’s continuing health problems with asthma and eczema.

These books are written in a fantastical manner in a Kafkaesque style, introducing nightmarish notions such as characters growing mouths on their bodies and a disease called “dragonhide”.

View all 3 comments. It’s very neatly handled. A more narcissistic, misogynistic and antisocial character I’ve seldom met, and I found it hard to keep reading about him. Retrieved 27 July But what is relevant is that the guy sitting in front of me put the book he was readi I do not know what Labark just read.

Lanark is important to Scotland, important to science fiction, important to modernism. This section reads like it’s trying too hard.

Lanark: A Life in Four Books – Wikipedia

This note, well the entire section, appears to reconcile the disparate narratives which occupy the novel. A Life in Three Acts”. I loved this book. The inventiveness and the subtlety are gone, and now it feels like something that’s waiting for you to assign a one-to-one correlation between its world and the world outside the text. The point and the glory of Lanark — and of much of the greatest science fiction — is that the two are inseparable.

I do not know what I just read. Some novels are like the Cheshire Cat, the only thing left of them is their smile. The latter was likely intentional, portraits of hell should be infernal, I suppose. But their efforts remain a constant, and something, at least something. I promise not to feel offended. Lists with This Book. His humour is frequently self-deprecating and self-satirising, as with the fake reviews on the back of his paperbacks, the bad reviews lovingly reprinted and the famous erratum slip in Unlikely Stories, Mostly: Let me just clarify, I go by the Goodreads star rating system.


And more importantly, it will hopefully move its readers to be more alasdaig in fighting the military capitalist juggernaut than its titular character. Thirty years later Gray has returned to the University and is presently one third of the chair of creative writing, alongside James Kelman and Tom Leonard.

Lanark by Alasdair Gray

What do you say to people, oh it’s a great book, in fact it’s a terrible book, don’t go past page whatever you do, uh, dude, I can’t describe it you’ll just have to read it yourself? Gray needed the overarching machinery of allegory and fable to make Lanark transcend its origins.

His other abiding interest is Scottish identity. Both the Mitchell Library and the National Library of Scotland also hold Gray manuscript material, a list of which is available from the supervisors desk in the Special Collections reading room.

If you were to read most histories of post-war Scottish literature, you would be forgiven in thinking that there were two distinct periods — BL and AL, or Before Lanark and After Lanark. View all 17 comments. Out of his short-circuiting brain came this astonishing wonder.

A life in lanrk books. Oct 29, Andrew S.