(NOT A CAUSAL LIGHT READ!)
I often compare books to food, some are snacks, meals, a feast, etc. Lanark: A Life in 4 Books is a carnivores dream, this book is all meat. It’s 560 pages of metaphors, similes, and a twisted reality that will give your brain plenty to chew on for a long time. Lanark is part fantasy and part biography that took Alasdair Gray nearly 30 years to write. The story is told out of order (book 3 is at the beginning), and the Epilogue comes before the last 4 chapters, yet the story flows perfectly.
Alasdair Gray has masterfully created a bizarre fantasy world that is so tightly wrapped around reality that the two become one. I found the story totally unpredictable.. It has a dark, and bleak feel to it, but somehow it manages to keep a spark of hope throughout the book.
The main character isn’t very likable, but I found myself caring for him (or at least what happens to him) and understanding him. As for the other characters it’s more about understanding what they represented. The fact is everything in this book is a representation of some aspect of life. I’m still having Ah-ha moments where I’m putting it all together. I won’t give details simply because I don’t want to ruin any of it.
Lanark: A Life In 4 Books is one of the best novels of our time. The title says it all (this book is about life).