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A Life In Pictures [Hardcover]

Alasdair Gray
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
RRP: 30.00
Price: 29.23 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Oct 2010
Alasdair Gray is known throughout Europe and beyond for his writing (Lanark; Unlikely Stories, Mostly; 1982, Janine among many others), but he is also a highly regarded artist who not only illustrates and designs his own books, but has created many beautiful and intriguing murals, portraits, paintings, posters – some of his most recent and vivid work adorns the revived Oran Mor, in Glasgow. Alasdair started painting and writing from an early age, and at 71 he’s still vigorously doing both. In this autobiography he gathers together the paintings that have mattered most to him over the years, and weaves the story of his life through and around them in his own inimitable way. Beautifully and copiously illustrated, designed by himself, this is life as seen by one of the millennium’s most unique, funny and wry creative geniuses.

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A Life In Pictures + Every Short Story by Alasdair Gray 1951-2012
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; First Edition edition (7 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841956406
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841956404
  • Product Dimensions: 26.2 x 25.1 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 196,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A necessary genius. --Ali Smith

A master at rummaging in the dustbins of the mind. --Daily Telegraph

A great writer, perhaps the greatest writer living in Britain today. --Will Self

Marvellous . . . a pleasure to hold and well as to read. --Times Literary Supplement

Book Description

The life-work of one of Britain’s most renowned and beloved writers and artists, Alasdair Gray.

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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous Collection, nicely designed 23 Oct 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I cannot believe how long it has taken for this book to exist. It is a crime, Gray is rightly described as a "modern-day William Blake" and he should be punted more and more outside of Scotland. He is so well loved, especially in the West End of Glasgow where his work is in multiple venues and many private homes.

I am no Alasdair Gray Scholar. I like his short stories and novellas - and less so his mighty door-stoppers such as Lanark, although I respect that book, for the life of me I couldn't penetrate it, but I still think he is a genuine polymath! However, it's his art I really like, and in particular the more line-based graphic style he uses for his book covers and illustrations. I also really like the way he has drawn and painted his nudes, which are both erotic and unashamedly well-padded. I've seen an awful lot of his work up close. I've gone to just about every venue in Glasgow that has a Gray mural and they are sumptuous, even the ones showing their age a bit. Some of them spill onto multiple surfaces, go round corners, up walls - and like the huge cavernous Oran Mor ceiling (and beyond). What I like about his style is that it is very much rooted in both Art Deco and a kind of 1960s idiosyncratic poster-like punch. It is both romantic and gritty at the same time. Some of the works have a counter-culture or renaissance feel about them, that makes me wonder what Glasgow was like at that time, with many of the portraits of the writers and artists sited near the mighty tower of Glasgow University.

This book seems to have been timed to coincide with two retrospectives of his art in Edinburgh and I knew I couldn't make the opening, so I decided to order the book instead.

And what a great visual anthology it is, very well laid out.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality production 15 Nov 2010
This book has been beautifully produced and I can only imagine that Mr Gray himself is the driving force behind this. The publishers have opted for good quality paper instead of that cheap and nasty recycled rough paper which so many of them use to save costs while pretending it is because they are environmentally responsible. The print quality is outstanding - crisp and bright - and the pages have been bound, rather than just glued. The cover, as you would expect from a Gray book, is beautifully detailed and embossed and there is a surprise extra image on the hardback when you take the dust jacket off (I'm always worried that one day they won't do this).
The book is stuffed to the gills with Alasdair's art and also with family photographs in the early pages. Your eye is darting all over the place as you light on one jewel after another. It has all of his dust jacket illustrations and so much more. The layout is reminiscent of a personal scrapbook, rather than a sterile one-image-to-a-page with a huge white margin round it. This doesn't detract from the art at all and we were grinning with delight as we looked through it. The art has been grouped so that you go on a journey through the artist's life and the images are of all sizes so you don't lose any of the detail.
I have to confess that I haven't read the text yet, but I will when I've had my fill of just looking at the art. The book is a joy to behold, which is just what you want from an art book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasury 12 Nov 2010
By Claire
I'm a huge fan of Gray, especially Lanark which I think is an awe-inspiring book. This is a beautifully produced book of his art and memoirs which is a must for anyone whose interest is piqued by his writing. It's been really gloriously produced too, and is a pleasure to dip into. Agree with other reviewers it has a real William Blake feel to it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Buy 30 Nov 2010
By Sharpey
This is a beautifully crafted book. Especially good for people who like pictures in a book and for those familiar with Glasgow. I didn't know of the author beforehand and this is a great introduction to his work. A good winter curl up with book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book 27 Nov 2010
this excellent bargain - at half the RRP - is a beautiful object in itself. It is an unusual autobiography in words and pictures, full of quirky interest. I bought it as a special present for a friend who has lived for many years in Glasgow - and it was a most successful choice!
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious 26 Oct 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I can not begin to say how much I am enjoying this.

I am caught between rushing to the next page and lingering over the last picture or relishing the plain speaking narrative.

I hope that these first few hours with Mr Gray will be a long term engagement :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Genius 26 April 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Brilliant book, great pictures and a comprehensive view of a national treasure,-Alasdair Gray. A well- produced and documented account of a Scottish genius.
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Now need to buy a coffee table worthy enough to place this magnificent book upon. Make sure your table is up to standard before purchasing !
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars praise be to mr Gray
Alisdair Gray is this centuries Blake, master novelist and wonderful artist. Would love to own one of his pieces but for now must revel in this beautiful collection of his... Read more
Published 15 months ago by C. Buckland
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't put your mug on this one
It's the perfect coffee table book. Words and pictures by a master craftsman of whom Scotland must be immensely proud.
Published 16 months ago by BettyBook
5.0 out of 5 stars An important book about an important artist.
Gray is arguably the most important artist of his generation. I live in the area much of his work is informed by, and although I'm a few years younger I recognise much of the... Read more
Published 17 months ago by David Sillars
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
I wonderful book by a wonderful artist. After ordering the book for myself I also bought one for someone else. It proved great as a present.
Published 18 months ago by HOEKSTRA, J.C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Gave as a gift — now everyone wants it
Everyone who saw this Christmas gift was drawn into the text and pictures, and now our friends all want copies!
Published 20 months ago by A. K. M. Adam
5.0 out of 5 stars Stoatin'!
Stunning. This is a must have for Gray fans but also for anyone needing an introduction to one of Scotland's greatest artists and writers. Read more
Published 20 months ago by David Jamieson
5.0 out of 5 stars ooooh!!
Alasdair Gray the quirky scottish auteur documented in a quality production, go find a copy, touch it... feel the urge to have one
Published 23 months ago by cens
5.0 out of 5 stars A Life in Pictures by Britains Picasso
This is a unique and fabulous book. If you are not familiar with this artist then you will be amazed to discover Britains Picasso. Read more
Published on 15 Jun 2012 by Noa
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent value
Absolutely delighted with my purchase which came in pristine condition and it was half the price that I had paid for the identical book, as a present for my daughter, last... Read more
Published on 20 Nov 2011 by Pollyanna
5.0 out of 5 stars An Affront to Good Taste and Civilized Values!
Being largely unaware of the (presumably self-styled, genius and polymath) pictauthor's previous obscurantic and *#@%ographic literarture (sick), I mistakenly stumbled upon and,... Read more
Published on 16 Jun 2011 by apardion
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