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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous Collection, nicely designed, 23 Oct 2010
By 
Chris M. Dooks "bovinelife" (Glasgow) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Life In Pictures (Hardcover)
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. The format of the book is an excellent democratic choice, being square, considering how many different formats his works are in. None of the illustrations seem to go over two pages (I always think it's such a waste when that happens). It could have been an even bigger book dimension-wise, as some of the more epic renderings suffer a tiny bit, but not much. My only niggle, and it's a pretty big one, is that the images which are murals and look really vibrant in the flesh, have been printed a little drab in this volume. The graphic works come out well, but the tonal range of the painted works is very disappointing in the volume. Such a shame, but Gray's work is strong enough in totality that this will not affect new fans to his magnificent Glaswegian documentations! Absolutely brilliant. I would have awarded five stars but because of the printing, I'm knocking a star off.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality production, 15 Nov 2010
By 
A. Peyton "Adella Peyton" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Life In Pictures (Hardcover)
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
This review is from: A Life In Pictures (Hardcover)
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
This review is from: A Life In Pictures (Hardcover)
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
By 
Bf Baughan - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Life In Pictures (Hardcover)
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
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This review is from: A Life In Pictures (Hardcover)
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
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This review is from: A Life In Pictures (Hardcover)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Alasdair master book designer surpasses himself, 8 Sep 2013
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This review is from: A Life In Pictures (Hardcover)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars praise be to mr Gray, 20 Jun 2013
By 
C. Buckland (glasgow) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Life In Pictures (Hardcover)
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 works.....oh and he gets my vote for the next DR Who!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't put your mug on this one, 19 May 2013
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This review is from: A Life In Pictures (Hardcover)
It's the perfect coffee table book. Words and pictures by a master craftsman of whom Scotland must be immensely proud.
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A Life In Pictures
A Life In Pictures by Alasdair Gray (Hardcover - 7 Oct 2010)
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