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So I Am Glad

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  351 ratings  ·  33 reviews
The ferociously talented author of Original Bliss and On Bullfighting offers this haunting tale of two forlorn people who find in each other a hope and love as genuine and original as this marvelous book in which they come to life.

M. Jennifer M. Wilson has decided to become a voice. A professional enunciator, an announcer, a voice-over artist, she has retreated into a wor
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 9th 2001 by Vintage (first published 1995)
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3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  351 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scottish-novels
This is a difficult one to review and to categorise. It could be described as a fairy tale/fable, it is certainly satire; there is a love story thrown in (of sorts) and a touch of magical realism. The issues explored are serious ones, including child sexual abuse and its later life consequences for the protagonist Jennifer Wilson. It is set in Glasgow, with a brief foray to Paris.
Kennedy writes well and her prose is lyrical and sharp with some very amusing asides relating to the political backd
Jul 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
I remember liking this book enough to track down more of A.L. Kennedy's work but I also remember knowing that I did not completely understand what was going on throughout the story. Images from it stick in my head and that is always the true test for me of a book I ultimately look back on with great affection and reverance if not complete adoration. I probably read this in 2002, it is a book I associate with my friend as I think we both read it although I cannot remember if it was her love for i ...more
I chose this book on a total whim; I didn't even know what it was about, and I kept at it for about 130 pages, but it just didn't hook me in the way I'd hoped.

Kennedy is a solid literary stylist and has a gift for describing the minutiae of human existence (without being dull), and it's always a treat to read something in a Scottish dialect (although not over-the-top like Irvine Welsh's stuff), but at the end of the day, the tendency to eschew strong plot for deep character focus just didn't pul
Sep 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
kennedy is one of my favorites, along with Angela Carter and Penelope Fitzgerald. I used to be obsessed with a girl who believed that she was the Cyrano in one of her previous lives. Reading this book at the same time was pretty cool.
Jul 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Cyrano de Bergerac turns up in Partick, fights a duel in a park just off Crow Road. I was charmed by this book.

How about a sequel : 'Choderlos de Laclos in Kelvinside'?
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
Eh? Jennifer was an intelligent, witty, self-aware narrator, knowing when to expand on a scene, when to draw a curtain over it; the dialogue between the flatmates was sharp, funny and believable. But I just had no idea what was going on with the plot. Every time Martin/Savinien opened his mouth I switched off.
She can write, she really can evoke emotion, touch on the unsayable. Unfortunately, she only started writing like that in the final chapter. I wished the whole book had been like that. Instead, there was a lot of un-Savinion related gibberish, internal monologue, distracting side lines. Tedious, almost impossible to progress through.
And. There could have been so much more Cyrano in this book.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it liked it
A difficult one to rate. I suspect I'd enjoy it more on a second reading, when I'm not expecting a rational explanation for the weirdness! Great writing. Interesting to be in the head of such a cold and isolated character.
Atie Reynaert
I don’t now whether I absolutely love this or hate it
May 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed-by-kate
"What could happen between the professionally calm and the long-term
dead?" Behind this incantation from the recent prize-winning Scottish
novel So I Am Glad, one can almost hear the chuckle of its mad-scientist
author, A.L. Kennedy. Her story--a romance set in contemporary
Glasgow--is at once inopportune and darkly funny. Its overall success depends
upon the reader's willingness to humor a bizarre plot device: Savinien de
Cyrano de Bergerac--the seventeenth-century philosopher, not the
Caroline Taggart
May 29, 2014 rated it liked it
This book has had wonderful reviews, but I found it a real struggle and nearly gave up several times. The narrator, Jennifer, is a misfit, someone who doesn’t do feelings and relationships. She reads – new bulletins and the like – for a living. Fair enough – potentially a very interesting character. She’s living in a shared flat in Glasgow and when the new flatmate appears, he turns out to be a reincarnation of the long-dead French author Cyrano de Bergerac. OK, no problem with that, or with the ...more
Helen Varley
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a couple of pages into this book i realised that i've already read it. i knew i'd read something by this author but i didn't realise it was this one. i think this is more of a reflection on the poor state of my memory for non-essential things, rather than on the quality of the book - i now have a vague memory of liking it the first time round, so let's see what i think this time ...

ok now that i have read it again i can say that i am disgusted by my bad bad memory. this is a great book, kennedy'
Jan 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Wonderful writer -- and a very weird book. I liked the writing and the way that the novel connected imagination with reality, but the plot and characters are weird enough (a man who glows in the dark and is a reincarnated Cyrano de Bergerac, a woman seemingly without emotions who has an extremely checkered sexual past) that the book might not be everyone's cup of tea.
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
Initially disappointing because very different from 'Paradise' which I thoroughly enjoyed, and also I am not a fan of the vaguely fantastic. Nevertheless, the writing, as ever, was such that I was drawn in, kept re-reading sentences for joy in their construction, and able to enjoy the story of it, even though I finished feeling slightly guilty that I knew nothing about Cyrano de Bergerac.
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely bit of strangeness. A woman finds her new housemate is ... No, I can’t even give you that much without spoiling it a bit. Sufficed to say its a sweet sort of magical, mixed with sordid and gritty sort of realism. Is in large part about writing and writers without being too navel gazing.

Also sad stuff and sex which is how you know its Alison’s work. Would deffo recommend.
Lydia Clarke
I liked this, but I had to skip some pages in the middle and toward the end. I thought the idea was pretty good, and the writing is worthwhile, but it's not really well put together. It was definitely vivid, and there are some good parts... I can't recommend it hands down, but I wouldn't say it's not worth reading.
Gilly McGillicuddy
From my LJ post at the time:

I'm actually liking a book I'm having to read this year, which is.. oh so wonderful news. Book is "So I Am Glad" by A.L. Kennedy, by the way. >.> I keep researching Cyrano de Bergerac now, because it's fun to find parallels. I suppose I've never stopped being a research maiden.
Jul 04, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Denise by: Aye Write
I've heard so many positive things about ALK, and being Scottish bumped her a little bit further up my to-read list. I have put it down to being bad timing, or a bad first read, but I just couldn't get into this book. It felt a bit too much like hard work.
It's going back to the library, but I will definitely have another go, perhaps a different book next time.
Mike Ingram
Aug 09, 2008 rated it did not like it
I gave up on this book after way too much dialogue that read like exposition. Maybe it gets better? I liked the first chapter, and I liked some of the narrative, but, seriously, the long stretches of really artificial and stilted dialogue were just too much to bear.
Mar 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I've always liked A.L Kennedy's writing, emotionally raw and Cyrano de Bergerac was never so interesting as in this book. I also liked her book 'Everything you need', some rather nice unpredictable bits, I'll never forget the white pointer shark appearance !
Gayla Bassham
Jul 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010-reads
Abandoning because I just can't get into this book. At all. I struggled through half of it yesterday, and finally decided that life was too short. I'm giving it two stars because I'm pretty sure it's not you, A. L. Kennedy, it's me.
Lesley Dickson
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure. I think I have to go have a lie down and think about this. Cracking book though. A.L. Kennedy is the sort of writer who makes you read every single word very carefully, savoring them and not allowing a single chance to 'skim' over anything.
Jan 09, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned, 2010
i was just so bored. a better reader would give it more than 16 pages.

still not sure how i wound up with this book in the first place. i think someone left it at my parents condo?
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious, sad and beautiful, this novel is well worth the read. I'd do it again, except my sisters dog ate it.
Alison Brown
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Liked it so much I wrote a Masters thesis on it (partially, anyway). And miraculously, I still liked the novel after I'd written the thesis.

Sharon Mensing
Jun 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Cyrano de Bergerac appears in modern day England. An odd book about the difficulty of connecting with others. Started slow but became more and more engaging until I ended up sad that it was over.
Estranho e diferente. Um daqueles livros que não perdiam nada em serem "dissecados" no sofá de um psicanalista.
Sep 03, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Page 205... I do not like this book and have resolved not to continue.
Jul 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007
i love a.l. kennedy. this one had an odd fantastic aspect, but it was a moving portrait of love.
Manda Graham
Dec 09, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern, fiction
Couldn't stand this. The writing style was interesting but it was so vague.
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Alison Louise Kennedy is a Scottish writer of novels, short stories and non-fiction. She is known for a characteristically dark tone, a blending of realism and fantasy, and for her serious approach to her work. She occasionally contributes columns and reviews to UK and European newspapers including the fictional diary of her pet parrot named Charlie.
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