4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Work of Genius,
This review is from: 1982, Janine (Canongate Classics) (Paperback)
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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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 Dec 2012 22:50:39 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 10 Dec 2012 22:51:27 GMT]
Posted on 10 Dec 2012 22:50:58 GMT
The reviews here persuaded me to get this, I completely agree with good reviews here. A must read, its a shame might have to be a bit careful who to recommend it to, Im only half way through. I gave up on Lanark half way through back in the 80s and never read Gray again until now. I can believe Janine is his best.
As you have read all his books, are there other ones you would recommend?
In reply to an earlier post on 12 Dec 2012 20:32:06 GMT
Jonathon Smith says:
Glad to speak to someone who feels the same way about Janine and Lanark! If you are looking for more of Gray's work I would try 'Poor Things' and 'Unlikely Stories, Mostly'. They both have stories with plenty of twists. 'Something Leather' has lots of amusing inside jokes, but the core stories are weak. In general the later works I have found to be less entertaining and less clever than the early ones.
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jan 2013 23:17:09 GMT
Thanks very much for that will go for these, must finish 1982 though, cheers
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