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The Fall of Kelvin Walker
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The Fall of Kelvin Walker

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  161 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Drawing on a mixture of Scottish archetypes and British stereotypes and expressing all the author's cynicism towards religion, the media and the imperial British centre, this brief fable was reportedly inspired by Gray's own visit to London as a struggling artist to record a documentary called Under The Helmet (in which he tried to increase his sales by suggesting that he ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published 1986 by George Braziller (first published 1985)
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Tom Willard
Feb 14, 2015 Tom Willard rated it really liked it
I like a book that shouts in all caps to me, GOODBYE!! A proper exit is demanded in a book that stands on such formalities. The only thing that could out duel Gray's adieu is an ANTICLIMAX, tidily, almost mockingly so, detailing the eventualities of the dramatis personae of this narrative. And it is true, things are always easier for the English. What did I really know about the Scot Gray? I knew his books looked odd, that he is far too fond of large fonts and there lies a woodcut quality to man ...more
MJ Nicholls
Feb 09, 2011 MJ Nicholls rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, hoots-mon

One from Gray's raging nationalist staple. A confident Scot from a remote village goes to London to make his fame and fortune, but can't shake his father's Calvinist guilt. A rather dour book with no redemption. Lovely. (Nice cover, too).
Feb 18, 2015 Nigel rated it it was amazing
A Scottish Calvinist replaces God with Nietzsche and travels to London to force himself on the world through sheer will and bare faced cheek and complete and utter self-assurance. His rise is rapid, his fall abrupt and along the way he tramples through a few lives of the poor and powerless and the rich and powerful and is rather like an alien visiting from another planet. Funny and odd and... well, odd and funny. Funny peculiar rather than funny ha-ha, mind you.
Jan 20, 2016 Fraser rated it really liked it
Of its time, a tale of a somewhat sociopathic individual moving from a small town in Scotland to wreak havoc in London. The story is somewhat predictable, but the situations uncomfortable and the writing Gray's dependable dour style.
Jun 24, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
Cynical, dour, slightly depressing, Scottish, witty, succinct. A good quick read.
Nov 02, 2014 Fergus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dour and cynical and angry and funny and typically great.
Oct 19, 2011 Slickdpdx rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The origins of this slim novel as a play show in witty snippets of dialogue and bold strokes that quickly paint the rise (and fall) of a young Scot and self-proclaimed Nietzschean determined to take London and the World. A good read.
Jun 14, 2010 Juno rated it really liked it
That's two by Gray now and at the end of both I've found myself sort of speechless. Pointed, acidly pointed and yet, somehow, sympathetic. Or maybe human. Also quite funny.
Iain Watson
The Fall of Kelvin Walker by Alasdair Gray (1991)
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Alasdair Gray trained as a painter at the local Glasgow school of art. He was 47 when he published his first novel, Lanark (1981), which combines all sorts of genres, from sci-fi to autobiography and literary criticism, into a fantastic account of the city of Unthank - a thinly disguised Glasgow.

Gray shows an interest in sex which borders on the unhealthy, as indicated by the title of his 1990 nov
More about Alasdair Gray...

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