A Life in Four Books

Alasdair Gray

But I do enjoy words—some words—for their own sake! Words like river, and dawn, and daylight, and time. These words seem much richer than our experiences of the things they represent
Lanark by Alasdair Gray (Paperback ISBN 9781782117148) book cover

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‘The best Scottish novelist since Sir Walter Scott’ ANTHONY BURGESS
The cornerstone epic, introduced by William Boyd

‘Probably the greatest novel of the century’ Observer
‘Remarkable … A work of loving and vivid imagination, yielding copious riches’ WILLIAM BOYD

Lanark, a modern vision of hell, is set in the disintegrating cities of Unthank and Glasgow, and tells the interwoven stories of Lanark and Duncan Thaw. A work of extraordinary imagination and wide range, its playful narrative techniques convey a profound message, both personal and political, about humankind’s inability to love, and yet our compulsion to go on trying.

First published in 1981, Lanark immediately established Gray as one of Britain’s leading writers.

“I was absolutely knocked out by Lanark. I think it’s the best in Scottish literature this century”
Iain Banks

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“Probably the greatest novel of the century … it marked the beginning of a new era”
James Campbell

“It was time Scotland produced a shattering work of fiction in the modern idiom. This is it … [Gray is] the best Scottish novelist since Sir Walter Scott”
Anthony Burgess

“When dawn comes up and retires in dismay, we find ourselves in the presence of an overpowering surreal imagination. A saga of a city where reality is about as reliable as a Salvador Dali watch”
Brian Aldiss

“A quite extraordinary achievement, the most remarkable thing in Scottish fiction for a very long time. It has changed the landscape”
Allan Massie
the Scotsman

Alasdair Gray

Born in 1934, Alasdair Gray graduated in design and mural painting from Glasgow School of Art. Since 1981, when Lanark was published by Canongate, he has written, designed and illustrated seven novels, several books of short stories, a collection of his stage, radio and TV plays and a book of his visual art, A Life in Pictures.

In his own words, ‘Alasdair Gray is a fat, spectacled, balding, increasingly old Glaswegian pedestrian who has mainly lived by writing and designing books, most of them fiction.’