Added to my collection of Alasdair Gray books the other day. The wonderful Toppings Book Shop in Bath just happened to have a few copies of A History Maker on the shelves. And I couldn’t resist. Alasdair Gray describes himself as “a fat old asthmatic Glaswegian who lives by painting and writing.” If you haven’t read him, do! This is his website.
A History Maker is written with his usual wit and playful pastiche, and is set in a futuristic Scottish Borders. Men and women have clearly defined roles; society is matriarchal and men fight wars as a spectator sport. This short novel muses on civilisation, the organisation of society, and the place of an individual within it, but presented in a surreal and humorous manner, with his usual literary cleverness.
I also decided I had waited long enough to purchase a copy of A Life in Pictures, his “Autopictography”. This is a beautifully produced book (as his always are), with great care taken over images, text and layout. He uses images of his own work, and those that inspired him, to tell the tale of his life and loves, his trials and tribulations, his dreams and desires. It gives an interesting insight into his creative pre-occupations and process, revealing a restless imagination at work.