- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (21 Aug. 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 057131127X
- ISBN-13: 978-0571311279
- Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.6 x 23.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 518,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Their Lips Talk of Mischief Paperback – 21 Aug 2014
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[G]litteringly explosive ... the perfect summer read. (The Times)
[T]his craftily engineered and winningly nostalgic novel is at last a story of lost illusions. It ends in a flash-frame of aporia, an impossible decision to be made: in lesser hands this might feel like a copout, but Warner knows exactly what he is doing. (Guardian)
Warner has always been the contemporary Scottish writer most interested in literary style; combining slangy, stylised speech with a baroque phrasing and syntax, he is incapable of writing a dull book. (The List)
Moving, funny, richly peopled and written with great gusto. (Financial Times)
[O]ne of Scotland's best, a writer who has begun to create his own, often surreal, imaginative world out of the flotsam and jetsam - the detritus - of modern life. (The Observer)
[An] ebullient but underlyingly sombre book. (Sunday Times)
Their Lips Talk of Mischief paints a sharp picture of deception, obsession and love. It encourages runaways to look forwards rather than backwards, yet never discloses its journey's end. It shows Warner at his finest, all his talents in cahoots. (Scotland on Sunday)
Their Lips Talk of Mischief is that rare thing - a book about books that will actually appeal to those without literary doctorates ... this is a novel that rises above its meta self-reflexiveness to cover frustrated ambition, friendship, desire, love - and a good deal of sex ... Warner has a peculiar eye for detail that is delightful and disturbing. (We Love This Book)
Their Lips Talk of Mischief, Alan Warner's first novel with Faber, is a darkly comic tale of hope and humanity against the grim urban and political landscape of Margaret Thatcher's BritainSee all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
The unlikely setting is Acton in the mid-80s. Narrator Douglas Cunningham and Llewellen meet in the waiting-room of the local hospital A&E. Lou (as he's known) has gone to be re-stitched after recent major heart surgery. Cunningham (as Lou calls him) is a Scottish student drop-out with nowhere to sleep. Lou offers him a bed for the night in his squalid tower-block flat. But first, they must get their hands on some booze and chicken dhansak.
And so begins a beautiful friendship. But waiting back at the flat are Lou's gorgeous ex-model girlfriend Aoife and baby daughter Lily. Cunningham just can't help falling in love with both of them. And that's about it really, plot-wise. It's all highly reminiscent of 'Withnail and I' (not that I'm complaining; it must be one of the best male-bonding movies of all time) and Alan Warner's desperate duo are very nearly as monstrously appealing as Bruce Robinson's Withnail and him. Funny, tender and enjoyable.
What's new is the way you find yourself mroe and more trying to see round the corners, and it becomes less evident who is driving events and their developments. This is apparnet in the plot surprises, of which there are plenty, and then more and more as motivation becomes darker, and you cease to be so sure which of the protagonists is the one moving things forwards.
There's a fair amount of literary reference in the pub conversations between Douglas and Llewellen, but no mention of what to me seems the background book, Ford's The Good Soldier, also a tale of two men whose bond may be benign or may be poisoned, and where the women alternate between seeming agents of the action and then its victims. This too is a book more about the chemistry between the people in the household rather than about any one of them.
In the second half of the novel, there are constant reversals, good guys can appear to be villians, or perhaps as just pitiable. And instead of going with what's immediate and vividly present, windows open on what's unsaid or omitted.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Probably our best living British writer. The only other book that affected me so profoundly in the last year was Brideshead, I kid you not.Published 17 months ago by J. R. Collinson
Loved this novel: well drawn anti heroes who you really engage with. What Alan Warner does best. Real life that is easy to relate to told in Warner's humorous yet honest style.Published on 1 Mar. 2015 by I. Mcpherson
Alan Warner is an accomplished comic writer, specialising in unlovely characters on the margins of society. Read morePublished on 22 Jan. 2015 by MisterHobgoblin
Imaginative, brilliant wit. Loved the pace and the characters--the names!--and all the mischief, the darkness of which was offset brilliantly by the presence of Lily the baby. Read morePublished on 16 Jan. 2015 by CivilEyes
It is hard to read (and review) this book without reference to Withnail and I. Set in 1985 Llewellyn and Douglas are a pair of slackers with vague ambitions of writing but... Read morePublished on 3 Dec. 2014 by Wynne Kelly