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Unlikely Stories, Mostly (Canongate Classics)

Unlikely Stories, Mostly (Canongate Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Alasdair Gray , Alasdair. Gray
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

‘Too clever for its own good in parts, but otherwise a damned good read.’ Col. Sebastian Moran in the Simla Times

‘This anthology may be likened to a vast architectural folly imblending the idioms of the Greek, Gothic, Oriental, Baroque, Scottish Baronial and Bauhaus schools. Like one who, absently sauntering the streets of Barcelona, suddenly beholds the breathtaking grandeur of Gaudi’s Familia Sagrada, I am compelled to admire a display of power and intricacy whose precise purpose evades me. Is the structure haunted by a truth too exalted and ghostly to dwell in a plainer edifice? Perhaps. I wonder. I doubt.’ Lady Nicola Stewart, Countess of Dunfermline in The Celtic Needlewoman

Alasdair Gray’s most playful book earned a place in this Classic Series by being in print since first published by Canongate in 1983. This completely amended edition has two new stories; also a postscript by the author and Douglas Gifford.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3397 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; New edition edition (1 April 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004V31IFS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #396,910 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Gray's second turn, following his indespensible debut "Lanark", is a book that truly desrves the epithet "iconoclastic". We have never seen its like before nor, sadly, will we ever again. A series of short narratives that recall the surrealism and invention of "Lanark"'s 3rd and 4th books and that lay down the recurring themes that would mark Gray's work throughout the 1980s. From the opening tale of "The Star", a narrative written when Gray was only 17 and already displaying his prodigious talent, through the typographical pyrotechnics of "Logopandocy" to the utterly sublime "Five Letters from an Eastern Empire", Gray never fails to astonish or disappoint. As you would expect from the erstwhile artist, it is also a gorgeous book to behold, embellished with Gray's quirky black & white illustrations throughout and experimental typesetting that would come to a head in "1982, Janine".
"Unlikely Stories" is a perfect starting place for those curious about the work of Scotland's greatest living writer as well as essential for fans of his other work.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different and brilliant 9 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had not read any of his work until I heard him on the radio and wanted to find out more about his work. Bought this as a starter and greatly enjoy his allegorical, spare writing. Written years ago, it is rooted in its time but continues to speak to the social circumstances of today. I will read much more of his work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unlikely author, mostly 31 Aug 2001
By Phil Moores - Published on
1982 Janine is Gray's best book (and his own favourite) but is difficult to get hold of, Lanark is his most important but difficult to get through, Poor Things is his most successful but not weighty enough. Unlikely Stories, Mostly is just right -- like Little Bear's porridge.
This book is more an anthology of Gray's early works than a collection of stories. One was written when he was 15, others were written when he was at Art College. Considering he was 46 when it was published, there's hope for all of us. Highlights are Five Letters From an Eastern Empire, a masterful portayal of censorship in art and the control a dictatorship can have on creative minds; the Tale of the White Dog, after reading it you'll be more enquiring about your potential in-laws; and The Cause of Some Recent Changes.
Some dislike the long central story Logopandocy. However if, before reading it, you know it is about a real person and the high-falutin' dense, sometimes willfully obscure, language accurately reflects Urqhuart's own writing (in fact, tones it down considerably) you may enjoy it more.
But despite the writing itself, the book would be a joy to own just for the way it looks. The paperback is a poor substitute for the original hardback, but is still one of the most beautiful mainstream publications you can own. The original had a slip inserted, which said "Erratum: This slip has been inserted by mistake". The whole is smothered in Gray's own wicked illustrations, inspired by Blake, Eric Gill and Stanley Spencer. I can't really recommend this highly enough.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars i bought this man a drink 1 Aug 1999
By B2 - Published on
and he said "whiskey" and I said "with what" and he said "just whiskey, I'm scottish."
this book is an irreplacable companion to any trip to Scotland. this book is neat. oh, and so much more.
as with all of Alasdair's work it is a lyrico-poetic journey through a scots writer's personal Scottish playland. and it is also a mini-history of his literary efforts, something not all of us can be proud of, but Alasdair's talent is such that he has been producing gems since infancy.
why four stars? the big long story in the middle. logopoan -- something. thoroughly unsatisfying and makes you ask, "Alasdair, Alasdair, what were you thinking?" Maybe I'd like it more if I was Scottish. I'm not.
But Prometheus. . . wow. Please read this story. Writer or artist or rocket surgeon. . . it'll change the way you look at things. Isn't that why we read books??
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exuberance 2 Jan 2011
By D. P. Birkett - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Alasdair Gray was in the vanguard of the modern dirty Scottish novelists. This is an early collection, mostly of SF and dystopia fantasy stories, with a long pseudo-historical pastiche of Thomas Urquhart (the 17th century translator of Rabelais). It is dressed up with delightful but distracting typographical gimmicks and drawings and there are some amusing spoofs in the front and back matter. I was impressed by Alasdair Gray's wit and erudition but I'd agree with, Colonel Sebastian Moran, the reviewer quoted on the back cover, that the book is "too clever for its own good" in parts. The authors quest for originality and comic gimmicks overwhelm the task of telling a story. Almost every one displays a rare and brilliant talent but the longer ones then go on displaying the talent at the expense of telling the tale.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite Likely, Really 25 Jan 2007
By R. J MOSS - Published on
Lurking betwixt the whacky covers which feature gray Gray art, are these brilliantly witty little tales which explode between your ears. Think of Vonnegut, Kafka, even Philip Dick, or the late great Robert Altman's shock/horror movie,'Images'. No, this is not the comfort zone, but the stimulation zone, the traveller's tonic...the world re-mapped in Surrealist vent and the colonisers' grasp in all the wrong places. Powers are misplaced and misappropriated. Vasco Pyjama(thank you Michael Leunig) is out there at the far edge of consciousness. Start anywhere in the collection (though they're arranged chronologically for those so fixed on 'development'). Anyway, I'd start with'The Spread of Ian Nichol' as a primier and don't draw breath until you've finished,'The Axel Tree' with its Swiftian swipe at Modernism. Go Alisdair! This is my grey pick since its advent to my shelves during a bitter mid 1990s winter.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Comedy of the White Dog 18 Dec 2013
By Ruven Schwartz - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
is one of the finest, wickedest tales ever told. Everything else in this book is good, or good enough. But that white dog story is worth coming back to over and over and over. Woof. :)
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