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Alisdair Gray, Old Men in Love : an excerpt

Alisdair Gray, Old Men in Love : an excerpt

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Published by Gavin Grant
June 2010: a new novel from Alisdair Gray, which The Times of London called “Beautiful, inventive, ambitious and nuts.” And, it is! It's controversial, political, historical, and probably a few other -als.

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.

“Our nearest contemporary equivalent to Blake, our sweetest-natured screwed-up visionary.”—London Evening Standard

“The culmination of a lifetime spent honing his unique ideas and approach.” —New Statesman

“That very rare bird among contemporary British writers—a genuine experimentalist. The influence of James Joyce, and Lauren Sterne, is very evident, but Gray does not seem merely derivative from these masters. He is very much his own man.” —David Lodge

"This is one of Alasdair Gray's best novels. (...) A preoccupation with the true meaning of democratic accountability is one of several themes uniting these linked stories. Freedom, including artistic freedom, is at the core of Old Men in Love. Gray is sly and witty, but also, and more impressively, he writes with stylish honesty. Presented as a schoolteacher's book, Old Men in Love has a didactic tone at times, but gets away with it. (...) Postmodern it may be, but this is clearly a work by a lover of Dickens, Scott, James Hogg and John Galt. Its rewardingly readable narratives owe as much to the narrative quirkiness of the great age of 19th-century fiction as to today's tricksiness. Old Men in Love shows Gray's old strengths confidently renascent."
—Robert Crawford, The Independent

"Waywardness is central to this novel’s artistic vision; waywardness, rather than rebellion in the Romantic style. (...) Once again, in this ingenious, engaging novel, Alasdair Gray has struck a blow for an altogether more meaningful sort of freedom."
—Michael Kerrigan, Times Literary Supplement

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.
June 2010: a new novel from Alisdair Gray, which The Times of London called “Beautiful, inventive, ambitious and nuts.” And, it is! It's controversial, political, historical, and probably a few other -als.

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.

“Our nearest contemporary equivalent to Blake, our sweetest-natured screwed-up visionary.”—London Evening Standard

“The culmination of a lifetime spent honing his unique ideas and approach.” —New Statesman

“That very rare bird among contemporary British writers—a genuine experimentalist. The influence of James Joyce, and Lauren Sterne, is very evident, but Gray does not seem merely derivative from these masters. He is very much his own man.” —David Lodge

"This is one of Alasdair Gray's best novels. (...) A preoccupation with the true meaning of democratic accountability is one of several themes uniting these linked stories. Freedom, including artistic freedom, is at the core of Old Men in Love. Gray is sly and witty, but also, and more impressively, he writes with stylish honesty. Presented as a schoolteacher's book, Old Men in Love has a didactic tone at times, but gets away with it. (...) Postmodern it may be, but this is clearly a work by a lover of Dickens, Scott, James Hogg and John Galt. Its rewardingly readable narratives owe as much to the narrative quirkiness of the great age of 19th-century fiction as to today's tricksiness. Old Men in Love shows Gray's old strengths confidently renascent."
—Robert Crawford, The Independent

"Waywardness is central to this novel’s artistic vision; waywardness, rather than rebellion in the Romantic style. (...) Once again, in this ingenious, engaging novel, Alasdair Gray has struck a blow for an altogether more meaningful sort of freedom."
—Michael Kerrigan, Times Literary Supplement

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.

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Published by: Gavin Grant on Apr 19, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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10/14/2013

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OLD MEN in LOVE
 
 John Tunnock1940 – 2007

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