Poor Things: Alasdair Gray (A Harvest Book)

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9780156000680: Poor Things: Alasdair Gray (A Harvest Book)

With its tantalizing reminders of Mary Shelley, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Lewis Carroll, this is an up-todate nineteenth-century novel, informed by a thoroughly twentieth-century sensibility. Set in and around Glasgow and the Mediterranean in the early 1880s, it describes the love lives of two Scottish doctors and a twenty-five-year-old woman who has been created by one of them from human remains. A story of true love and scientific daring, it whirls the reader from the private operating rooms of late-Victorian Glasgow through aristocratic casinos, low-life Alexandria, and a Parisian bordello, reaching an interrupted climax in a Scottish church. It contains many unsanctified weddings, but hardly any perversions, and, as the Spectator put it, "an unexpected final twist doesn't make the novel seem trivial but, on the contrary, gives the vivid melodrama a retrospective gravity. You become aware that this odd book has been a great deal more than entertaining only on finishing it. Then your strongest desire is to start reading it again."

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Review:

This work of inspired lunacy effectively skewers class snobbery, British imperialism, prudishness and the tenets of received wisdom.

Witty and delightfully written.--Geoff Ryman

A riotously comic, up-to-date Victorian romance . . . deft and frolicsome.

Gray here retells a tale that amalgamates Frankenstein and Candide . . . Along the way Gray offers delightful conversation, a tricksy triple ending, and some very witty writing.

Witty and delightfully written. --Geoff Ryman

Probably a crank, possibly a genius, certainly an original and independent voice, Alasdair Gray . . . has the look of a latter-day William Blake, with his extravagant myth-making, his strong social conscience, his liberating vision of sexuality and his flashes of righteous indignation tempered with scathing wit and sly self-mockery. --Merle Rubin

Lewis Carroll and Conan Doyle are acknowledged, but the authors Gray really revises are Sterne and Diderot, both comically self-analytic, Defoe, the creator of strong women, and Samuel Johnson or Voltaire, profound allegorists of the search for a good society . . . Poor Things is amusing and admirably angry, compassionate, and ironic as it looks in 1992 at the early days modern as well Victorian of a better nation. --Barbara Hardy

Bella Baxter surely merits a place among the holy innocents of literature Lemuel Gulliver, Don Quixote, Huck Finn, Prince Kropotkin and Holden Caulfield . . . Bound to call to mind other acidic commentaries on human folly Rasselas, Tristram Shandy, Candide. But can it be that Gray, with his fierce Hibernian contempt for 20th Century solutions for age-old problems, is the most piercing thorn on the bush?

An unexpected final twist doesn't make the novel seem trivial but, on the contrary, gives the vivid melodrama a retrospective gravity. You become aware that this odd book has been a great deal more than entertaining only on finishing it. Then your strongest desire is to start reading it again.

Review:

"It wouldn't be an exaggeration to hail Alasdair Gray as one of Scotlands greatest living novelists." -- The List Festival Guide 9-15th August 2001

"The greatest Scottish novelist since Sir Walter Scott" -- Anthony Burgess

'A marvellous, endearing book ... a virtuoso feat of literary ventriloquism' -- New Statesman and Society

'The greatest Scottish novelist since Sir Walter Scott' -- Anthony Burgess

'This work of inspired lunacy effectively skewers class snobbery, British imperialism, prudishness and the tenets of received wisdom' -- Publishers Weekly

'Witty and delightfully written' -- New York Times Book Review

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Gray, Alasdair
Published by Harvest Books (1994)
ISBN 10: 0156000687 ISBN 13: 9780156000680
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Alasdair Gray
Published by Harvest Books (1994)
ISBN 10: 0156000687 ISBN 13: 9780156000680
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