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The Sopranos Paperback – 3 Jun 1999


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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: 49,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"In a spill of vivid and corruscating language... Alan Warner has emerged as a writer of great inventiveness" (Annie Proulx)

"Wonderful... humane, unique, a page-turner with a neat series of bombshells at the end" (Daily Telegraph)

"Warner provides every nuance of the characters in a sustained tour de force... This is the most profound of Warner's books. His sense of place and atmosphere remains extraordinarily intense" (Guardian)

"Wonderful... Humane, unique, a page-turner with a neat series of bombshells at the end" (Daily Telegraph)

"Wickedly funny... Warner can combine literary style with go-anywhere demotic humour... Like St Trinians with condoms and male nudity" (Independent)

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

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Oct 1999
Format: Paperback
'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 By A Customer on 13 Nov 2000
Format: Paperback
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 By Mr. Paul J. Bradshaw on 24 Oct 2002
Format: Paperback
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 on 9 Aug 1999
Format: Paperback
"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 By A Customer on 13 Nov 1998
Format: Paperback
"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 By Lucinda Stern on 13 Feb 2011
Format: Paperback
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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