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1982, Janine (Canongate Classics) [Paperback]

Alasdair Gray , Will Self
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

20 May 2003 Canongate Classics
An unforgettably challenging book about power and powerlessness, men and women, masters and servants, small countries and big countries, Alasdair Gray's exploration of the politics of pornography has lost none of its power to shock. 1982 Janine is a searing portrait of male need and inadequacy, as explored via the lonely sexual fantasies of Jock McLeish, failed husband, lover and businessman.Yet there is hope here, and the humour (if black) and the imaginative and textual energy of the narrative achieves its own kind of redemption in the end.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (20 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841953466
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841953465
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'1982, Janine has a verbal energy, an intensity of vision that has mostly been missing from the English novel since D. H. Lawrence.' New York Times

About the Author

Alasdair Gray is an old, asthmatic Glaswegian who lives by painting, writing and book design. He is currently working on a book about his visual art, A Life in Pictures, copiously illustrated, to be published by Canongate in 2008.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scotland, bleak and sad 5 Oct 1999
By A Customer
Gray's great second book is much better than the famous Lanark; though quite similar in some of its themes it is tighter, funnier and works more effectively. It concerns an aging security operative, desperately lonely and alcoholic, who is reviewing his life in a small Scottish hotel room. Without spoiling the book for anyone (I hope), he "finds himself" when, despairing at all the missed chances in his life he tries to kill himself and enters a dialogue with God. As an atheist this surprises him! A beautiful vignette of what it is to be Scottish, politically and sexually repressed. Replete with pretend literary notes like Lanark (one of several references to Flann O'Brien which Gray acknowledges), this is by far the better book. Sad though.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, What a Night! 8 Mar 2004
This inventive novel takes place over one difficult night in the life of Jock McLeish, security systems engineer: a night which brings him to the brink of suicide. It is an evocative mosaic, mingling the sadistic fantasies that fail to distract Jock from the bitter memories of his own life - poor decisions, casual cruelties, ill-judged liaisons - and his musings on the failings of his beloved Scotland. Eventually, a kind of resolution is reached.
It is all done in Gray's fluent and adventurous style. Fans of his other works should not hesitate; newcomers to his dark, Gothic fictions could happily(?) start here.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Great C20th Scottish novels... 11 Mar 2007
...up there with Sunset Song, in my humble opinion (and I should say that the latter, read when I was 14, was the novel for me which made fiction seemt he greatest thing in the world). Far better than Lanark - tighter, more humane, funnier and more serious. A wonder.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Work of Genius 1 July 2012
I picked this book up at random one day and was shocked by the first few pages which graphically describe a middle-aged alcoholic insomniac trying to masturbate to some sadistic rape fantasies. I thought I had accidentally picked up a porn novel. However (not minding a bit of titillation) I stuck with it and I'm very glad I did. The story twists to the drunkard reminiscing about his past relationships and what has caused him to have the fantasies he does. The stories are unexpectedly heartbreaking and with twists that confirm the author as a genius in my mind. In the end you realize the book is not and never was about sex, but a mild man with a past that haunts him. I have since read all of Alasdair Gray's novels and this is the best (forget the more famous Lanark). 1982 Janine is one of my all-time top 3 favorite books.

The typesetting plays an important and (to my knowledge) entirely original role in the story and for this reason I would recommend readers to buy the paper back; I can't imagine the kindle version having the same kind of impact. Whilst male readers will probably entirely identify with the sexual fantasies in the book as being perfectly ordinary, I imagine many female readers will be off-put by the constant references to rape.
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