Old Men in Love
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Old Men in Love

3.28 of 5 stars 3.28  ·  rating details  ·  113 ratings  ·  16 reviews
'Alasdair Gray's new novel, Old Men in Love, exhibits all of those faintly preposterous foibles that make him a writer more loved than prized. The bulk of the text constitutes the posthumous papers of a recondite - yet venal - retired Glaswegian schoolmaster, named John Tunnock (as in the celebrated tea cake), that have, seemingly, been edited and collated by Gray himself....more
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published 2007 by Bloomsbury
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Who said If you can't make your novel great at least make it peculiar? I don't recall. Anyway, that appears to be the modus operandi in Alasdair Gray's Old Men In Love. John Tunnock, a retired Glaswegian school teacher, has been found murdered in his Glasgow home and the crime is unsolved when his nearest relative is tracked down in Beverly Hills, California, and bequeathed a modest legacy. It includes Tunnock's house and numerous miscellaneous writings. A fictional Alasdair Gray is consulted as...more
MJ Nicholls
I read this since my undiagnosed obsessive-compulsiveness towards canon completion (or oeuvre overdoing) bade me do it. Do you see. No question mark. There was simply no way, having read eighteen other books by Alasdair Gray, and sampled two others, plus a biography, I wasn’t going to read Old Men in Love, his last novel. Illogical. In this universe, in this incarnation of me I was always going to read Old Men in Love at some point. Kismet. Geddit. No question mark. My verdict is really irreleva...more
Mar 08, 2012 Alan rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Old men in love
Recommended to Alan by: Previous work
It is not a novel, no matter how Will Self starts his "short review" on the dust jacket. Alasdair Gray's book Old Men in Love is, instead, a hodgepodge of loosely-connected fragments, all (or almost all) ostensibly from the pen of the departed John Sim Tunnock, a Glaswegian schoolteacher and would-be author. Gray is merely the editor, the assembler, of these fragments—or such is the conceit, anyway.

The fragments presented are primarily historical fictions, whose settings range from Periclean Ath...more
Gray's fiction can mostly be divided in two: those based on plays written in the 60s and 70s (The History Maker, McGrotty and Ludmilla, Agnes Belfridge, Something Leather) and that written fresh (Lanark, Poor Things, 1982 Janine). As a rule, the latter is always much better and fresher. Old Men in Love is different, consisting of three long sections adapted from earlier plays, enveloped in a conceipt that they're the writings of John Tunnock (as in the nice teacakes) and gathered together and ed...more
Jun 11, 2010 Elaine rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
Eh. Lanark was great, and this book in the realist memoirs section and the diaries of the main character is still really vibrant. Even Gray's typical framing devices -- the meta-referential "criticism" pointing out that the book is largely recycled (and that pointing that out is in itself criticism deflection), the notes, the gorgeous design, the real people mingling with the fictional -- all this has its charm. But the historical fictions that are the book's ostensible driving force are frankly...more
Razvan Zamfirescu
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kyle Muntz
This was the last of Gray's more interesting novels that I hadn't read. In my opinion, he's written one masterpiece (Lanark), and one other great novel (Janine 1982), which is good without being on the same level. Old Men in Love is interesting but mostly reads as a collage of material that wouldn't necessarily be very interesting on its own, with the exception of the Socratic chapters, which I would have preferred to see fleshed out as a full novel and could have been a genuine contribution to...more
I was going to give this three stars for most of the book, as it is mainly a series of disconnected vignettes with the thinnest of connecting tissue, a fix up novel like many science fiction novels written before 1960 or so, and while Gray is a strong writer there was none of the fantastical imagination that made me enjoy Lanark and an earlier short story collection of his, but by the time I reached the end I did have a smile on my face so I raise my grade to 4 stars. Basically the fundamental d...more
A bit of a disappointment to be honest. Not enough narrative drive and frankly more than a little bit dull. It's intellectually stimulating and beautifully produced and illustrated as ever, but using the device of collected 'found' unfinished writings doesn't really bond all these writings into a coherent whole.

Gray cheerfully admits that much of it is recycled but his honesty and admission of the book's faults can't paper over the cracks although it does make you like him just as much as ever....more
At times Gray seemed to recognised the issue with this book: the framing narrative is fascinating and Tunnock is a character worth exploring. However, these sections are too few and instead we delve into Tunnock's writing which is overdrawn and mundane. I can't help feeling there is an enjoyable book here, just the focus needs to be taken away from historical dramas.
My first encounter with the work of Alasdair Gray and I really enjoyed it! Switching from one story to another was pretty entertaining, plus it encouraged me to take an interest in Socrates and his fellows, which earned this book one more star :)
Kally Sheng
Jul 20, 2014 Kally Sheng is currently reading it
Shelves: alasdair-gray
Hunger and dread make sleep difficult. - Pg 14

"A soul that doesn't fit its body is as uncomfortable as a foot that doesn't fit its shoe." - Socrates, Pg. 39

"Ugliness encourages virtue." - Socrates, Pg. 39

May pull off the "At Swim Two Birds" concept better than O'Brien's original. Not Gray's best, but enjoyable.
This wasn't really my cup of tea at all.
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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
More about Alasdair Gray...
Lanark Poor Things 1982, Janine Unlikely Stories, Mostly Ten Tales Tall And True

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