1982, Janine

Backlog of tiny reviews 1

I thought that this was the only Alasdair Gray novel I hadn’t yet read. I was a bit scared of it when I first discovered Gray: the idea of reading a novel which is mostly set within the elaborate sexual fantasies of a thwarted and bitterly alcoholic middle-aged man didn’t seem like my idea of fun. It was a bit too close to home, as I was a thwarted and bitterly borderline-alcoholic young man, who was also too prudish to really laugh about sex.

And 1982, Janine is one of the funniest books about male sexual fantasy ever. I wouldn’t have thought so back then, nor would I have got the references to Beyond the Fringe in chapter 12 – a long novella-within-a-novel telling the story of the narrator’s involvement in a political cabaret at the Edinburgh Fringe in the 60s.

The ending moved me to tears, and I bet that wouldn’t have happened had I read it back then either.

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