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1982, Janine (Canongate Classics) Paperback – 20 May 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Classics; Main edition (20 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841953466
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841953465
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 384,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A great writer, perhaps the greatest living in Britain today." (Will Self)

"1982, Janine has a verbal energy, an intensity of vision that has mostly been missing from the English novel since D.H. Lawrence." (New York Times)

"Made me realise that contemporary fiction would still be a vivid and vital way of interpreting the world . . . 1982, Janine revived my flagging impetus to continue writing myself." (Jonathan Coe)

"Alasdair Gray is that rather rare bird among contemporary British writers-a genuine experimentalist . . . The influence of James Joyce, and . . . Laurence Stern, is very evident, but Gray does not seem merely derivative from these masters. He is very much his own man." (David Lodge)

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Introduced by Will Self

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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By A Customer on 5 Oct. 1999
Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'd warn against reading the reviews here, some of which contain spoilers, and the same is true of the introduction to the book, leave it to the end, it might influence your perception of the book too much. This book contains some pretty disturbing sexual content, but it is by no means a book that will give justification or pleasure to misogynists. It's not really 'pornographic', or erotic, because it is not written to arouse the reader. Anyone looking for a follow-up to 50 Shades of Grey should look elsewhere. The creepy content is justified, I feel, by the author's vision, which takes the full length of the book to be realised, so stick it out to the end. 1982, Janine will make you reflect on your life, your relationships, your occupation, and most of all the meaning of power and powerlessness, sexual, political and economic.
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