- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Hachette Scotland (23 July 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0755319400
- ISBN-13: 978-0755319404
- Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 23.1 x 3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,063,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Death of a Ladies' Man Paperback – 23 Jul 2009
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'Bissett's third novel is delivered with invention and flair' (Esquire)
'Hilarious, disturbing and hugely entertaining... Bain is a remarkable creation' (Big Issue)
'He has pulled the sheets back on Lothario men and shown them lying there wriggling, pathetic, and bare-bummed...Bissett proves himself to be a fresh, compelling and distinctly Scottish literary talent' (Scotland on Sunday)
'A high-speed, coke-fuelled rollercoaster ride through bars, classrooms and bedrooms' (Scotsman)
'This is a novel of real ambition and complexity, at its heart a delicious tension between the desire to be good and darker urges in a world of ever fewer boundaries' (Gutter magazine)
'Definitely worth a read... ****' (Look)
A vital read for anyone who wants to understand just who the hell some men think they areSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
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It's not that the book has any great narrative storyline - the main character is a 30 year-old teacher who lives with his mother after a painful divorce, but has started recently dating one of his colleagues at the school, a more mature 41 year-old woman. Charlie however just can't help himself when it comes to women - he's worked out all the tricks a long time ago, knows what he wants and knows how to get it. Could his ladies man reputation prevent him from a more mature and loving relationship - or is that even what he really wants?
Plot-wise there's nothing here to get too excited about, but the strength of Death of a Ladies' Man rather is in the writing. It's simply dazzling. Perhaps too dazzling for some, with long risky string-of-consciousness passages, and messing about with typefaces and font sizes as a rule generally isn't a good idea. It's what's behind these experiments that counts however and, although in some respects the book is just an updating of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Bissett makes it relevant and purposeful, placing it within the context of the environment of our society, questioning the attitudes and morals of the world we live in today - getting to grip with what women want as well as men.
Contrary to what you would expect then, there's no lazy characterisation in Death of a Ladies' Man. The title actually comes from Leonard Cohen, and the novel is seeped in the songwriters mood and influence, finding a poetic melancholy behind Charlie's actions. Bissett then cuts through autonomic behaviour, social conformity, the laws of attraction, the art of seduction and gets to the human qualities underneath. Can we beat the programming or is there a high price to pay? Bissett's book likewise goes further than most, is occasionally shocking and explicit, sounds like it has been ripped up painfully from the soul of the writer, but it's a risk that more than pays off.
Very different from Boyracers and Adam Spark (although they were both excellent too). Easier to read than them in many ways as written in more "standard" English. Loved the mixing of typefaces and writing styles, particularly the "screen play" parts. Would make an excellent film/TV/play adaptation if anyone out there is listening.
Was privileged to meet the author at a book launch recently. He read from the book and is clearly also a talented actor/performer. Lovely guy, too. By the way, I also recommend you listen to the tracks mentioned in the book - most are available on Amazon MP3 download. Terrific music and brilliantly appropriate.
The Socialism issue- as raised in an unfavorable review. It seems to me that as he has evolved from his young self so he has drifted away from any practical connection to his political beliefs. He would like to reconnect but where is the time as the persuit of pleasure and an increasing dependence on drugs and alcohol take over in the aftermath of his divorce and the painful hardening of his soul which ensues.
To me the key line of text refers to the kiss with Yvonne he remembers as the tenderest he has ever known and which he still in a way pines for even as he persues all the pleasures of the flesh. There is a sense of longing for all things lost; a holding back on the need to cry over all the spoilt ideals and loss of innocence.
The writing is never less than riveting, funny and thought provoking. Yes if I stop and think about it there are some scenes which don't ring 100% true (for me his relationship with a significantly older female colleague) but this is not purporting to be hard boiled realism so I didn't question it until now as I type this.
To me the author is not moralising on drug culture or promiscuity but casting a razor sharp eye on these topics (among others) and weaving a great story around them.
It won't be for everyone but I'd reccomend everyone give it a try.
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