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Old Men in Love

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  162 Ratings  ·  18 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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Aug 16, 2011 William1 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, uk, 21-ce, scotland
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 07, 2012 Alan rated it it was ok  ·  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
Jul 29, 2011 Phil rated it really liked it
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 it was ok
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
Feb 04, 2012 Kyle Muntz rated it liked it
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
Kally Sheng
No financial arrangement is ever flawless. - Lady Sara Sim-Jaegar, Introduction, Pg. 2

They love their messes like cats that have not been housetrained so claim a new territory by pissing over it. - Tunnock's Diary 2001, Pg. 9

"Nature has created many men who are small and insignificant in appearance but who are endowed with spirits so full of greatness and hearts of such boundless courage that they have no peace until they undertake difficult and almost impossible tasks and bring them to completi
Nov 02, 2010 Smoothw rated it liked it
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
Feb 25, 2016 Albertine67 rated it liked it
Difficult to rate: I found some of the historical fiction sections quite trying (and ended up skimming over the initial part on Socrates), though I found those on the 19th century religious cult engrossing). I really enjoyed the sections following the main character, John Tunnock, which built up vivid pictures of old and new Glasgow. The drawings and production of the book is, of course, beautiful. I liked it and am glad to have read it, but perhaps only recommended to those who are, like me, al ...more
Nov 23, 2007 Doogyjim rated it it was ok
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.
Jun 06, 2013 Scott rated it it was ok
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.
Jun 20, 2013 Pavla rated it really liked it
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 :)
May 02, 2012 Lyra rated it really liked it

May pull off the "At Swim Two Birds" concept better than O'Brien's original. Not Gray's best, but enjoyable.
Gill rated it it was ok
Oct 08, 2012
Cyndy rated it liked it
Dec 06, 2008
John rated it really liked it
Jan 27, 2013
Andrew W.m.
Andrew W.m. rated it it was amazing
Jun 15, 2010
Graeme Potter
Graeme Potter rated it really liked it
Jul 24, 2016
Jon Noble
Jon Noble rated it liked it
Oct 08, 2015
Adina rated it really liked it
Mar 15, 2012
Freder rated it liked it
Jan 30, 2017
Aaron Mcilhenny
Aaron Mcilhenny rated it it was amazing
Jan 03, 2016
Gareth Pottle
Gareth Pottle rated it really liked it
Oct 11, 2012
Scott rated it it was ok
Jul 17, 2010
Dave Hodgkinson
Mar 07, 2013 Dave Hodgkinson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Awful. Abandoned.
Adina rated it liked it
Dec 29, 2012
Ryan Hays
Ryan Hays rated it liked it
Oct 05, 2013
Erik rated it really liked it
Mar 22, 2012
Paul Dembina
Paul Dembina rated it liked it
Jun 23, 2012
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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
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