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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, What a Night!
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...
Published on 8 Mar 2004 by P. Western

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3 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's repulsive
Potential readers should know that large parts of this book consist of extremely nasty and unpleasant pornographic sexual fantasies.

This is a quote from Alisdair Gray, the author. It is part of an interview on his own website. He cannot read his own book.

"When writing the pornographic parts of 1982 Janine I was deliberately shocking myself. Though...
Published on 26 Mar 2009 by Baby Blue


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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
By 
P. Western (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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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
This review is from: 1982, Janine (Paperback)
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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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
This review is from: 1982, Janine (Hardcover)
...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
By 
Jonathon Smith (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A genius at work..., 10 Sep 2010
Alasdair Gray confirmed his reputation as one of Scotland's most exciting literary talents with 1982, Janine, the bold and blistering novel which followed on from the success of his widely acclaimed début, Lanark. An exciting and innovative experiment in narrative style and form, 1982, Janine is narrated by Jock McLeish over the course of a single night in a dingy hotel room in Peebles or Selkirk - he isn't quite sure where. McLeish has became increasingly disillusioned with his life, and in his attempts to escape his existential misery he retreats into the bottom of a bottle and into a series of increasingly desperate and perverse pornographic fantasies.

Gray uses Jock McLeish, and his troubles, to examine the insecurities of man, the unequal relations of power and the fragmented notion of the individual in contemporary British (or more specifically, Scottish) society. A powerful mix of political, national and philosophical soul searching ultimately renders 1982, Janine a joyous, life-affirming call to arms for a Scottish society withered by post-industrial Thatcherite politics.

A novel of searing honest, humanity, passion and originality, 1982, Janine rightly belongs at the very pinnacle of contemporary Scottish fiction and deserves to be read, particularly in this similarly uncertain political era.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A searingly honest, fabulous book, 13 July 2009
By 
D. Heales (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Rightly or wrongly, I was hesitant about beginning this book despite being a fan of Alasdair Gray's other work. My fears were totally misplaced. This is a serious, funny, heartbreaking and thoroughly engaging book but is most remarkable for its unflinching honesty.

Recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Misunderstood, 17 May 2010
It is interesting to how much criticism there is about the author of this book rather than a discussion of what it contains. On reading this I guess I had the same response as others that initially it appeared to be a series of sexual fantasies which were more to do with Gray that the main character of the novel. Subsequently reading to the end revealed that this is certainly not the case. The women in the characters mind who he is initially objectifying and subjecting to his control gradually begin to change. In the end it is he who is under their control as they reveal his flaws, it is they who have the power. Bizarrely this is the catalyst for a sort of redemption. I don't think I have ever read anything like this novel. A kind of wonky classic which defies categorisation just like it's author.
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3 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's repulsive, 26 Mar 2009
By 
Potential readers should know that large parts of this book consist of extremely nasty and unpleasant pornographic sexual fantasies.

This is a quote from Alisdair Gray, the author. It is part of an interview on his own website. He cannot read his own book.

"When writing the pornographic parts of 1982 Janine I was deliberately shocking myself. Though I think it my best novel, I cannot now reread it - I'm back to being as old fashioned as I was before imagining it."

I read some of the rest of the book which is why it gets two stars instead of one.
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1982, Janine
1982, Janine by Alasdair Gray (Hardcover - Oct 1984)
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