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Lanark: A Life in Four Books [Format Kindle]

Alasdair Gray

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Lanark, a modern vision of hell set in the disintegrating cities of Unthank and Glasgow, tells the interwoven stories of Lanark and Duncan Thaw. A work of extraordinary, playful imagination, it conveys a profound message, both personal and political, about humankind's inability to love, and yet our compulsion is to go on trying. First published in 1981, Lanark immediately established Gray as one of Britain's leading writers, compared with - among others - Dante, Blake, Joyce, Orwell, Kafka, Huxley and Lewis Carroll. This new edition includes an introduction by William Boyd as well as the author's fascinating addendum, the 'Tailpiece' (2001).

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.4 étoiles sur 5  14 commentaires
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Highly readable contemporary Scottish fiction 28 octobre 2012
Par skiersexcuse - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Alasdair Gray's Lanark is a grimy and dystopian allegory of the afterlife and working class life in Glasgow (renamed Unthank) in the latter half of last century that bookends a poignant and often dark realistic bildungsroman.

Most importantly, it is highly readable novel littered with musings on the nature of art, writing, sex, class and politics.

The four books together defy classification: it is part satire, part tragicomedy, part polemic. I highly recommend.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Pretentious but Brilliant 28 mai 2015
Par James J. Duffy - Publié sur
"Lanark" starts off with a young man arriving at a strange, other-worldly city by train. He does not remember why he came there, where he came from, or even his own name. He has few possessions, and his pockets are full of sand and sea shells. He takes the name Lanark after a poster he sees. His newly adopted city is a strange place. The sun never shines and no one seems to even remember it. People disappear without a trace on a regular basis. Many suffer from unnatural diseases, such as the appearance of mouths all over the body or the growth of dragon scales. But things get really odd when Lanark learns where it is that everyone is disappearing to. Is this Hell? Or is it just a nightmare version of Glasgow?

"Lanark" is both weird and epic. While not without its faults, it is a reading experience that isn't easily forgotten. It's unfortunate that it isn't more well known than it is.

When reading "Lanark" it is best to know that you're getting two very different novels for the price of one. Gray arranges his book in a strange way: it is divided into four books, numbered 3, 1, 2, and 4. There is also a prologue before book 1 and an epilogue a few chapters before the end, because "it is too important." The 3rd and 4th books are an epic dystopia, describing a civilization's descent into madness and self-consumption. Books 1 and 2 are a fairly straight-forward fictionalized autobiography of Gray's childhood and early adulthood as a neurotic young artist.

Most readers won't like "Lanark." Specifically, people who like "realist" autobiographical novels probably won't like books 3 and 4, and people who like dystopian fantasy probably will struggle through 1 and 2. It is possible to read them separately, but this is a mistake. There is a thematic unity to the work that gives it strength. Books 3 and 4 are simply books 1 and 2 on a much larger scale.

So, is "Lanark" merely literary self-indulgence combined with some post-modernity? Well, indulgent and post-modern it may be, but there is still a poetic depth to "Lanark." It is a work that asks "why must we always fail to love when love is just what can save us?" Gray may not have the answer, but the question is worth asking, and at the very least "Lanark" will leave you with a lot to think about.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One Man Against the Machine 5 février 2015
Par Jeremy Garber - Publié sur
A fascinating, experimental yet eminently readable, funny and serious, neo-Romantic novel about a guy at odds with the world(s) around him. Lanark is a self-aware novel in which the main character switches back and forth between an allegorical post-apocalyptic world and the grim landscape of industrial Scotland. The protagonist, a somewhat slothful wannabe artist, tries desperately to create epic works of art and to find True Romance, but lacks the willpower or compassion to do either. When he finds himself in the other world, he becomes a pawn of the military-industrial complex that is (literally!) eating its citizens and the planet alive in the search for growing profit. It is this social critique that, even forty years later, is the most pointed and poignant message of this novel - that the forces of greed and fear are rolling juggernauts that seek to control all of society just to add on a buck or two to their existing billions. The author is a keen enough writer to be completely aware of his preachy tendencies and even to mock them at the same time he speaks them - including an epilogue three chapters before the conclusion of the novel in which the protagonist meets the author himself and the author implies that all of literature has led up to the creation of this book! Sexy, funny, and importantly political, Lanark is worth the investment of time it takes to get what's going on in these several hundred pages. And more importantly, it will hopefully move its readers to be more successful in fighting the military capitalist juggernaut than its titular character.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A brilliant and original novel 24 juillet 2015
Par Pamela Scott - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
Lanark is one of my favourite books of all time. I’d consider it to be Gray’s magnum opus. I love the way the novel is split into four segments and the story of Thaw and Lanark isn’t told in chronological order. This works really well. I enjoyed the Thaw sections the best. They seem to be based at least in part of Gray’s life and are really enjoyable. I liked Lanark’s sections better in the second time around. These are very different than Thaw’s sections and can be hard to adjust to for a first time reader. Lanark draws inspiration from the work of William Blake and Dante’s The Divine Comedy. I love Blake’s work. A colour illustrated copy of his Songs of Innocence and Experience is a treasured possession. I also love The Divine Comedy. I have a battered copy that I’ve read. Lanark is brilliant, original novel – of a very rare and wonderful kind. I gave Grey’s debut novel 4 stars the first time I read it but enjoyed it better the second time.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Get it! 28 avril 2013
Par Lance - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
It's one of the most magnificent things I've ever read. Gray has an ability to capture profound truths in words that I would liken to Vonnegut, combined with a style that recalls Kafka, Joyce, Dante. If you like any of those authors I just listed, do yourself a favor and pick up this book immediately. You will not be disappointed.
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