Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Fifty Years of Alasdair Gray

Actually the following book spans sixty one years but I couldn't resist the pun in the title of this blog post. Anyway, this arrived for me the other day. Filled with scores of superb stories (including my favourite ever novella, 'Five Letters from an Eastern Empire') it's a thousand page monster and spans almost the entire career of one of our most original and brilliant living writers. Furthermore the design is a work of art because the volume is crammed with Gray's illustrations and he is one of our finest draughtsmen. I am going to stick my neck out and declare that this is the best collection of short stories ever published...

Gray is one of my biggest literary heroes. I met him once, back in 1995, and he was a delightful bloke. Publishers say he can be "awkward" but I find that hard to believe. Mind you, I haven't worked with him. He did, however, sign my copy of Poor Things and it's a book I have treasured ever since. What I like about Gray's work so much is that it's simultaneously intellectual and emotional, personal and political, profound and light, serious and comic: it's writing for the head and the heart at the same time. I would love to be regarded as the Welsh 'equivalent' of Alasdair Gray one day. I have a heck of a lot more work to do to earn that accolade! But it remains an aspiration.

Just ordered it. Thanks for the information.
It's a heck of a book, Des. Really quite staggering. I am in awe of it!
I thought you would be interested to know that I have started a real-time review of this book HERE.
Des! Magnificent! I very much look forward to seeing what you think.
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