by Chris Bertram on July 20, 2003

Having blogged about Alasdair Gray on Junius and declared my intention to read Lanark, of course I had to do so (especially given Henry’s encouragement). It is both an extraordinary and a really frustrating and perplexing work, combining as it does both the quasi-autobiographical story of Duncan Thaw and a Kafkaesque allegory about his double, Lanark. The Thaw parts (the middle of the book) I thought quite wonderful in their description of childhood and early youth both in Glasgow and as a wartime evacuee. The allegorical sections worked less well (sometimes the socialist didacticism is just too heavy-handed). The general effect is something like a random wander through a large gothic mansion: sometimes you find youself in a room full of interesting objects but the next moment at the end of a bare subterranean corridor. Recommended – but don’t expect an easy time.

{ 1 comment }


Jimmy Doyle 07.20.03 at 1:57 pm

Gray’s The Fall of Kelvin Walker is a brilliant allegorical novella with a much lighter touch; perhaps it may serve as an antidote to Lanark.

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