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Alasdair Gray: A Secretary’s Biography

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Glass plays Boswell to Gray's Johnson in this humorous yet rigorous biography. Glass has used the inventive techniques of Gray's fiction to bear, mixing a chronological narrative of his subject's life with his own diaries of meeting, getting to know and working with the celebrated artist, writer and campaigner. Glass plays Boswell to Gray's Johnson in this humorous yet rigorous biography. Glass has used the inventive techniques of Gray's fiction to bear, mixing a chronological narrative of his subject's life with his own diaries of meeting, getting to know and working with the celebrated artist, writer and campaigner.


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Glass plays Boswell to Gray's Johnson in this humorous yet rigorous biography. Glass has used the inventive techniques of Gray's fiction to bear, mixing a chronological narrative of his subject's life with his own diaries of meeting, getting to know and working with the celebrated artist, writer and campaigner. Glass plays Boswell to Gray's Johnson in this humorous yet rigorous biography. Glass has used the inventive techniques of Gray's fiction to bear, mixing a chronological narrative of his subject's life with his own diaries of meeting, getting to know and working with the celebrated artist, writer and campaigner.

30 review for Alasdair Gray: A Secretary’s Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    Rodge Glass was a man who knew what he wanted. What he wanted was to be Alasdair Gray’s indentured servant for life. After a spell at Gray’s short-lived CW classes in Glasgow, he attached himself umbilically to his mentor/idol and hasn’t let go since. This, naturally, has helped him launch his career as a novelist and has embroiled him in whatever “scene” happens to be ongoing at the moment (such “scenes” usually comprise people from certain CW groups or those who fortuitously attend certain lit Rodge Glass was a man who knew what he wanted. What he wanted was to be Alasdair Gray’s indentured servant for life. After a spell at Gray’s short-lived CW classes in Glasgow, he attached himself umbilically to his mentor/idol and hasn’t let go since. This, naturally, has helped him launch his career as a novelist and has embroiled him in whatever “scene” happens to be ongoing at the moment (such “scenes” usually comprise people from certain CW groups or those who fortuitously attend certain literary events, rather than an uprising of fresh unstoppable literary talent). But despite this cynical manoeuvring (which Glass admits is a nice side-effect of his devotion), Glass’s biography is a nuts-and-bolts account of the fat asthmatic Glasgow pedestrian’s life from 0-74 (Gray is 77 now), interspersed with snippets from Glass’s “diaries” which expand upon the story with additional anecdotal information and personal accounts of their professional relationship. The overall portrait is of an explosively creative talent mostly in disarray—he was never able to commit himself to one discipline entirely, and his frustration at this is shown throughout his “obscure” years—and a largely affectionate study of his career and works. Personal info is limited (at the author’s behest) to Gray’s disastrous first marriage and his happy final marriage, and no info is given about Gray’s success as a father at all. So it’s mainly a career retrospective with the odd sparkle of revealing information (among them Gray’s habit of urinating in the sink in front of students in his university office), and succeeds at unravelling some of the self-mythologizing and deception behind the man. Mostly he was broke, unhappy and unable to stop working. (And crap at sex). Nowadays he’s broke, unable to stop, but happy. (Still crap at sex). You can’t ask for more in life, especially if you’re a Scottish artist.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Felicity

    After a slowish start am now enjoying this and 'seeing' the man himself; Ciara might like this! Became annoyed with it , too much trivia, gave up After a slowish start am now enjoying this and 'seeing' the man himself; Ciara might like this! Became annoyed with it , too much trivia, gave up

  3. 5 out of 5

    John Boyce

    An excellent, flawed and revealing biography which has made me wish to revisit some of my Alasdair Gray collection, especially Lanark.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mdimelow

  5. 5 out of 5

    geographyofhope

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  7. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Jamieson

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alice Doyle

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carlos

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Castillo

  12. 5 out of 5

    Darren Murr

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mick

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  16. 5 out of 5

    Conor Forbes

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessie Rose

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  20. 4 out of 5

    Felicia Maisey

  21. 4 out of 5

    David Allison

  22. 5 out of 5

    Beatriz

  23. 4 out of 5

    Paul Dembina

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ben Schaffer

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Rear

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stargazer

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ewan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  29. 5 out of 5

    Iain

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kicking_k

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