Alasdair Gray confirmed his reputation as one of Scotland's most exciting literary talents with 1982, Janine, the bold and blistering novel which followed on from the success of his widely acclaimed début, Lanark. An exciting and innovative experiment in narrative style and form, 1982, Janine is narrated by Jock McLeish over the course of a single night in a dingy hotel room in Peebles or Selkirk - he isn't quite sure where. McLeish has became increasingly disillusioned with his life, and in his attempts to escape his existential misery he retreats into the bottom of a bottle and into a series of increasingly desperate and perverse pornographic fantasies.
Gray uses Jock McLeish, and his troubles, to examine the insecurities of man, the unequal relations of power and the fragmented notion of the individual in contemporary British (or more specifically, Scottish) society. A powerful mix of political, national and philosophical soul searching ultimately renders 1982, Janine a joyous, life-affirming call to arms for a Scottish society withered by post-industrial Thatcherite politics.
A novel of searing honest, humanity, passion and originality, 1982, Janine rightly belongs at the very pinnacle of contemporary Scottish fiction and deserves to be read, particularly in this similarly uncertain political era.