Old Men in Love, Paperback Book
2.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Men in Love, like The Arabian Nights, is about a storyteller whose stories contain other stories.

As in Alasdair Gray's Lanark, 1982 Janine, Poor Things, and The Book of Prefaces, this one has many styles of narrative and location.

Periclean Athens, Renaissance Florence, Victorian Somerset mingle with Britain under the New Labour Party, viewed from the West End of Glasgow.

More than 50% is fact and the rest possible, but must be read to be believed.


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Old Men in Love by Alasdair Gray (2009) 311 ppThis is one of the few books I've bought in a while that was not on my wishlist. I had heard of the author (who wrote Lanark which is on the 1001 list and is on my shelf), and what I began to read in the store grabbed me, so I bought it.The opening part I read in the store consists of a narrative by a long-lost cousin of retired school teacher John Tunnock. She has recently learned that she is the sole heir of Tunnock, who died under mysterious circumstances. She is now in Glasgow to settle his estate, which includes a large antique-filled mansion. She is also going through his papers to determine how they should be handled. The rest of the book consists of portions of these papers. The papers include excerpts from a number of unpublished novels by Tunnock. One is set in ancient Rome and is about Socrates, one is set in Renaissance Italy and is about some of the more important early masters, and one is set in 19th century England about James Prince, founder of the Agapements. In between excerpts of the novels, Tunnock relates the story of his life, from a childhood spent with his elderly spinster aunts to the bizarre events that led to his death.I generally enjoy meta-fiction and books in which the author plays games with the reader, but I didn't particularly care for this book. I never fully engaged with John Tunnock's "novels", and while parts of his life were interesting reading, overall this wasn't enough to make it a good book for me. I can't point to any specific examples of bad writing--the catch just didn't match the hook.

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