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The Sopranos [Paperback]

Alan Warner
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
Price: £8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

3 Jun 1999

The choir from Our Lady of Perpetual Succour School for Girls is being bussed to the national finals in the big, big city. And it's an important day for The Sopranos - Orla, Kylah, (Ra)Chell, Amanda Konky and Fionnula (the Cooler) - pub-crawling, shoplifting and body-piercing being the top priorities. Then it's time to lose that competition - lose, because a nuclear sub has just anchored in the bay and, tonight, the Man Trap disco will be full of submariners on shore-leave. There is no time for delays. . .

But after the fifth bottle of alco-pop up the back of the bus it's clear that all is not going to plan, for anyone. The Sopranos are never going to be the same.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (3 Jun 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099268744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099268741
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Alan Warner is the author of six other novels: Morvern Callar, These Demented Lands, The Man Who Walks, The Worms Can Carry Me To Heaven, The Stars in the Bright Sky, which was longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize, and The Deadman's Pedal. He is Writer in Residence at Edinburgh University.

Book Description

'Compassionate and rioutously funny. It is a long time since I read a novel which had me rocking with laughter' - The Times

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching but hilarious 27 Oct 1999
By A Customer
'Morvern Callar', Alan Warner's first book was bleak but beautiful, yet the sequel, 'These Demented Lands' was over ambitious and difficult to read, despite some crafted writing and original ideas. 'The Sopranos' restores Warner's place as one of Scotland's finest contemporary writers, telling the story of a day trip to Edinburgh for a school choir competition from the perspective of half a dozen teenage girls - the sopranos. Warner identifies with and writes authentically from the perspective of the six girls; the description, language and dialogue is vivid. Whilst the girls are rebellious and hilarious, we are also exposed to their hopes, fears and insecurities in what is a humane and delicate story. The level of detail brings out every facet of each of the girls' personalities, and Warner shows an exceptional understanding of his subjects' emotions and inhibitions. This is one of my books of the year - highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars girls at the end of civilization the cooler 13 Nov 2000
By A Customer
this is a wonderfully crafted and written book. (i dont normally do criticism). my favorite aspect of Warner's writing is his usage of the scottish way of speaking, his books have actually affected the way i speak and write informally. another aspect that i find exhilarating is the bleakness that he presents in these highland characters. it is very consuming. like pointing out light things in a dark room. on the issue of the girls' sexuality, there are many reasonable complaints about the fact that these girls act the way a dirty old man might want them to act, but i'm not so sure. i know girls here in boston and other cities that throw themselves fully into being promiscuous, based on the fact that they feel theres no other way. the girls are living in some blank highland town with no future other than being poor, getting drunk, having as much sex as possible and in the end, getting knocked up. the seemingly self-destructive sexual behavior can account fr this. the bi-sexuality could as well be seen as a quest for something more than what existence has offered, but thats not an excuse because bi-sexuality does exist in great quantity and not just in fiction. in the end, this is just an incredible read, so so good. whether you feel it's a dirty man's wishbook or a tale of existing when yr existence means nothing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strangely warming 24 Oct 2002
This is a difficult book to describe. Following a school choir as they travel to Edinburgh for a contest, this does take a while to get going. Initially the characters are unsympathetic, there is little event to capture interest, and the school cliques are stifling.
As the girls take in the city, however, their masks drop, and we see a more human, vulnerable side to their characters. Events take a turn for the worse, and secrets come out.
Even so, it is only with the return to their hometown and a night on the tiles that we have some true tension and the various stories come to a close.
You finish the book with a subtle affection for the characters, and a hope that things will be alright no matter what. Strangely affirming, in that way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
"The Sopranos" follows a group of Catholic schoolgirls through 24 hours as they prepare for, travel to, and recover from, an annual choir competition in Edinburgh. This summing-up gives you a totally false picture of the novel -- and of the girls. As soon as they get free of their teachers, they change into street clothes and set off into the capital city in search of clothes, CDs, alcohol, and men. Snogging (kissing) and shagging (shagging) with near-strangers they pick up--night club bouncers, railway station countermen, miscellaneous bumblers--fill a large part of their fantasy lives & even an important part of their waking lives. These half-dozen accidents-waiting-to-happen become real to us and each other as they go through lives some might call sordid and others soaring. A loose parrot and a caged budgie form an image of what these girls do for each other. Sometimes baffling, sometimes maddening, always compelling. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As modern a book as I have read this decade 13 Nov 1998
By A Customer
"The Sopranos" is Warner's best book yet. After the over-reaching ambition of "These Demented Lands", the author not only recaptures the spirit of his debut novel, "Morvern Callar", but shows he has many more strings to his bow. His portrait of five Scottish teenagers on a trip to Edinburgh from their west-coast home is by turns touching and amusing, farcical and serious. Warner's examination of fatal illness in the character of Orla represents one of the most sympathetic treatments of this kind of subject matter any contemporary author has attempted. Perhaps most impressive is Warner's uncanny grasp of Scottish speech and idiom - he exceeds Irvine Welsh in this respect and uses this feel for language as a tool for examining the characters' inner workings. A magnificent book and worthy of the most serious literary plaudits.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of my top 5 read of 2010 13 Feb 2011
This book takes place over a short period of time and follows school girls Fionula (the Cooler), Chell, Manda, Kylah, Orla and posh girl Kay on their choir trip the big city. The girls take the opportunity of a day away from the provincial Port town where they live to make the most of the city, namely it's drinking places and it's men.

I was always one of the good girls at school, but I did go to a school where other girls would drink on the coach, and would make crude signs to show to the lorry drivers. I recognise that world and it was interesting to enter it. The girls are both lovable and shocking. The amount they drink is huge and unsurprisingly the book contains lots of throwing up and a scene in A@E. When reading it all seems very funny, and I wonder if it is possible to feel drunk on Warner's prose.

For me the best drawn characters where Fionula, who befriends the wretched and no longer good-girl Kay; Kay who is dealing with her own secret and Orla who is in remission from cancer. All the characters have some level of back-story, giving them a realness and a vulnerability in contrast to their bravado. The friendship between the girls is well caught.

I read this and then I HAD to read Stars in the Night Sky which had just come out in print. I was so glad I read it at that point, I don't think I'd have liked to have waited the 10 years it took Warner to write a follow up to find out what happened next. I'd love it of Warner wrote some more stories, set in the Port, about Morven and these girls....once you've fallen in love with Warner's world you just want to stay there!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Grew on me.
Yes, in the end I did like it. My first impression was disappointment, exacerbated to a large extent by the fact that I'd just finished Kelman's 'How late it was, how late' and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Sandra Davies
3.0 out of 5 stars It had no relation to the hit TV show. I did not understand its...
I got this book a while ago and found that it had no relation to the famous Italian America mob family in Jersey. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Mr. Simon C. Robinson
3.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, sad and funny
The Sopranos takes place in the course of one day, following a group of Catholic schoolgirls as they take the bus from their small Scottish village to the city to enter into a... Read more
Published on 27 Dec 2010 by Book 1981
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling and tragi-comiedy
When we meet the titular Sopranos they are about to set off from 'The Port' (A thinly disguised Oban) to a choir-competition in Edinburgh. Read more
Published on 5 Sep 2010 by O Waddock Hunt
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Recommended
Having read all the 5 star reviews, I was begining to think I was missing the point of this book, but on a closer inspection I see 4 reviews are from the same person "A Customer"... Read more
Published on 4 Jan 2008 by Ken Woodmixer
2.0 out of 5 stars Dirty old man
This book gets off to a strong start. The chapters that introduce us to the characters (particularly Orla) are wonderfully written. Read more
Published on 17 Jun 2007 by Al
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of Moral Vandalism
Like a lot of People , I was introduced to Alan Warner`s work by Lynne Ramsey`s film adaptation of Morvern callar. Read more
Published on 1 Mar 2003 by Richard J. Westwood
5.0 out of 5 stars how did he do it!
warner has written a book with so much knowlegde on small town scottish school girls it worries me how he did it. every character can be found across the playground in any school. Read more
Published on 5 Feb 2002 by
5.0 out of 5 stars Humane eye, nice attitude
I was recommended to Alan Warner by Michael Moorcock who was enthusiastic about his quirky mindset and if you like that strange mix of surrealism and down-to-earth common sense... Read more
Published on 25 Jan 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and funny
Warner is back on form with this one. An esemble piece rather than the single voice of his previous books, yet again he exactly captures small town Scotland (or anywhere). Read more
Published on 12 Mar 2001
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