Customer Review

3 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's repulsive, 26 Mar 2009
This review is from: 1982, Janine (Canongate Classics) (Paperback)
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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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Oct 2009 21:30:35 BDT
Trimalchio says:
I don't think this actually counts as literary criticism.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Oct 2009 18:48:11 GMT
Baby Blue says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on 11 Jan 2010 08:01:42 GMT
James Morton says:
"When writing the pornographic parts of 1982 Janine I was deliberately w****** myself", might have been a more honest quote. It really is problematic when an author writes about his or her sexual fantasies in what purports to be Literature. Have you ever seen the cartoons of Robert Crumb?

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Mar 2011 00:36:30 GMT
lexo1941 says:
I don't know what Literature is, or whether or not 1982 Janine 'purports to be' it, but I do know that although this book contains passages of pornographic fantasy, they are depicted in the book as being the unsuccessful pornographic fantasies of a suicidal, alcoholic, right-wing, white-collar Scottish male, and that one of the most important bits of the book is his realisation that his sexual fantasies only arouse him because they are essentially his own attempts to reconcile himself to his situation in life. The rest of the book, i.e. the entire second half of it, does not consist of those sexual fantasies at all but is his very honest attempt to examine his own life and to see how he got to where he is. I suggest you read this book, if you haven't already.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Mar 2011 00:37:07 GMT
lexo1941 says:
This book is not crap, as you would know if you had actually bothered to read the whole thing. Since you didn't bother to read the whole thing, your opinion is worthless.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Mar 2011 00:51:19 GMT
Baby Blue says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Mar 2011 01:14:48 GMT
Last edited by the author on 1 Mar 2011 01:21:08 GMT
lexo1941 says:
But, by your own account, you haven't read it. So what do you know?

Incidentally, there are very many more working-class characters than Denny in Gray's books, and she is not 'always described in animal terms'; the very narrator of 1982 Janine notes that Denny is more intelligent than he is, in that she actually asks searching and difficult questions and he doesn't. Since you haven't read all of Gray's books, I wouldn't make sweeping statements about all of them, and since you haven't even read this one, I wouldn't bother commenting about it at all.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Mar 2011 01:16:37 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 1 Mar 2011 01:20:55 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Mar 2011 01:24:39 GMT
Baby Blue says:
I have read about 80-90% of it because it was part of a course. I jumped the filth. Name another working-class character in Gray. From my memory, Denny is more or less alaways described as making noises like an animal. Her lower cast unsuitability is very clear as is the contrast with the educated theatre group.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Mar 2011 01:33:02 GMT
lexo1941 says:
Your memory is faulty. I doubt you read as much as you claim. You clearly didn't read pp. 213-16, where Jock concedes that Denny was more intelligent than he was.

I am Irish, and am therefore not quite as sensitive to the Byzantine complexity of the British class system as you obviously are, but even my foreigner's eye can tell that among the other working-class characters in Gray's work are Duncan Thaw's parents in Lanark (Mr Thaw worked in a munitions factory during WW2); Drummond's father in the same novel; Jock McLeish's parents in 1982 Janine (Mr McLeish is a railwayman); the title character in The Spread of Ian Nicol (riveter); most if not all of the characters in the story Houses and Small Labour Parties; the two main characters of the short story Property (construction workers). There are others: I would argue that Donalda in Something Leather is working-class, and so, at least in his origin if his accent when discombobulated is anything to go by, is the tyrannical teacher Hislop in 1982 Janine, although since he's become a teacher he's obviously *hardly* working-class any more, my *god*.

Btw, I know that class is a big thing in the UK in a way that it's not where I come from; in Ireland, class-consciousness amounts to little more than a sense of how much money a person has, and even then it's not very effective, especially since the collapse of the Irish economy - birth has nothing to do with it and nobody gives a toss about the decayed remnants of the Irish ruling class. Your peculiar obsession with class is as depressing as your ignorance of the work that you spout about so confidently. Go back and read it. And stop trying to pretend that Alasdair Gray is some kind of Scottish Tory, when it's incredibly easy to demonstrate that he isn't.
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