Download Audible Poor Things By Alasdair Gray – Mariahilff.de

Only bad religions depend on mysteries, just as bad governments depend on secret police Truth, beauty and goodness are not mysterious, they are the commonest, most obvious, most essential facts of life, like sunlight, air and bread Poor Things is a brilliant stylization to the Victorian novel a real cornucopia of reminiscences to the great novels of the nineteenth century but being a postmodernistic tale it is generously laden with mockery of all sorts of Gothic motifs.The pictures showed m Only bad religions depend on mysteries, just as bad governments depend on secret police Truth, beauty and goodness are not mysterious, they are the commonest, most obvious, most essential facts of life, like sunlight, air and bread Poor Things is a brilliant stylization to the Victorian novel a real cornucopia of reminiscences to the great novels of the nineteenth century but being a postmodernistic tale it is generously laden with mockery of all sorts of Gothic motifs.The pictures showed many kinds of people The ugliest and most comical are Scots, Irish, foreign, poor, servants, rich folk who have been poor until very recently, small men, old unmarried women and Socialists The Socialists are ugliest, very dirty and hairy with weak chins, and seem to spend their time grumbling to other people at street corners What are Socialists, Duncan I asked Fools who think the world should be improved Why Is something wrong with it The Socialists are wrong with it and my infernal luck You told me once that luck is a solemn name for ignorance Do not torture me, Bell It is a fine butjeering companion toThe French Lieutenant s Womanby John Fowles both books are an original outlook on the Victorian epoch with the modern eyes They are something like a lesson and warning to contemporary man Politics, like filling and emptying cesspools, is filthy work and women should be protected from it Some people are authentic human beings but some are just Frankensteins One of Alasdair Gray s most brilliant creations, Poor Things is a postmodern revision of Frankenstein that replaces the traditional monster with Bella Baxter a beautiful young erotomaniac brought back to life with the brain of an infant Godwin Baxter s scientific ambition to create the perfect companion is realized when he finds the drowned body of Bella, but his dream is thwarted by Dr Archibald McCandless s jealous love for Baxter s creationThe hilarious tale of love and scandal that ensues would be the whole story in the hands of a lesser author which in fact it is, for this account is actually written by Dr McCandless For Gray, though, this is only half the story, after which Bella aka Victoria McCandless has her own say in the matter Satirizing the classic Victorian novel, Poor Things is a hilarious political allegory and a thought provoking duel between the desires of men and the independence of women, from one of Scotland s most accomplished author Almost the only thing that dragged me away from this rollicking novel was a school production of Oliver in which my daughter Georgia soon to be 16, can that possibly be was cavorting and twirling as part of the chorus line oom papah, oom papah, that s how it goes, and then warbling a solo Where Is Love as Mrs Bedwin The Housekeeper over Oliver s sleeping form she looked so pretty with her hair piled up on her head, something she never does in real life There was a schoolgirl usher who Almost the only thing that dragged me away from this rollicking novel was a school production of Oliver in which my daughter Georgia soon to be 16, can that possibly be was cavorting and twirling as part of the chorus line oom papah, oom papah, that s how it goes, and then warbling a solo Where Is Love as Mrs Bedwin The Housekeeper over Oliver s sleeping form she looked so pretty with her hair piled up on her head, something she never does in real life There was a schoolgirl usher who sat next to us on the front row, and before the performance started, she got chatting We asked her if she had wanted to be in Oliver, and she said she had been, but had to drop out, because her dad just died WhatYou can imagine our interested smiles freezing and dropping to the floor in splinters Oh yes, it was just a couple of weeks ago, and her mum is still in the hospital very ill from the same thing as killed her dad WhatWe really didn t know what to say, and she seemed so matter of fact about this ghastly tragedy At that uneasy moment, the orphans arrived and started lining up for their gruel After the whole thing was done and we had gone through every single part of the evening and told Georgia precisely who was good or bad, what we thought of the sound effects for Nancy s murder and the cut of Mr Bumble s jib, we mentioned this awful story Oh that was Grace, she said, rolling her eyes She was going to be Mrs Bumble but she was kicked out for not turning up to rehearsals No, her dad hadn t died and her mother wasn t in any hospital with a life threatening ailment I think I would have heard about that Grace is a compulsive liar Everyone knows that And so is Alasdair Gray Poor Things is a Victorian narrative by a Scottish public Health Officer named Archibald McCandless which is immediately contradicted completely by a letter essay written by the principal of the narrative, his wife Bella Baxter aka Victoria McCandless, which is in turn cross examined and undermined to an extent by a series of contemporary notes appended by Alisdair Gray Some novels given to japery wheezy faux academic pastiche do this check out House of Leaves for a rock and roll example, or Pale Fire by Nabokov, probably the grandaddy of the genre.It s great fun how could it not be when you get, for instance, the great Glaswegian seducer Duncan Wedderburn justifying himself in terms such as these No delicious scullions, tempting laundry manglers, lucious latrine scrubbers ever lost a day s work by dallying with Duncan Wedderburn, though the shortness and irregularity of their free time meant I had to court several at once Or again, savour the Dickensian turn of phrase of Bella, our heroine, talking about a trip to Argentine to try to discover some of her own mysterious history In Buenos Aires we tried to visit my parents grave, but Baxter found the railway company that paid for the interment had put them in a graveyard on the edge of a bottomless canyon, so when Chimborazo or Cotopaxi or Popocatapetl erupted the whole shebang collapsed in an avalance to the bottom crushing headstones coffins skeletons to a powder of in fin it se im al atoms Seeing them in that state would have been like visiting a heap of caster sugar.I ve now read four Alasdair Gray books, all completely different from each other, except as regards to their linguistic effervescence Lanark is the big masterpiece But if you fancy a bit of Victoriana with a dash of Breughel, a spoonful of Engels and a garnishing of Mary Shelley, Poor Things will do for you as it did for me BkC 154Rating 3 of fiveThe Publisher Says With its tantalizing reminders of Mary Shelley, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Lewis Carroll, this is an up to date nineteenth century novel, informed by a thoroughly twentieth century sensibility Set in and around Glasgow and the Mediterranean in the early 1880s, it describes the love lives of two Scottish doctors and a twenty five year old woman who has been created by one of them from human remains A story of true love and scientific dar BkC 154Rating 3 of fiveThe Publisher Says With its tantalizing reminders of Mary Shelley, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Lewis Carroll, this is an up to date nineteenth century novel, informed by a thoroughly twentieth century sensibility Set in and around Glasgow and the Mediterranean in the early 1880s, it describes the love lives of two Scottish doctors and a twenty five year old woman who has been created by one of them from human remains A story of true love and scientific daring, it whirls the reader from the private operating rooms of late Victorian Glasgow through aristocratic casinos, low life Alexandria, and a Parisian bordello, reaching an interrupted climax in a Scottish church It contains many unsanctified weddings, but hardly any perversions, and, as The Spectator put it, an unexpected final twist doesn t make the novel seem trivial but, on the contrary, gives the vivid melodrama a retrospective gravity You become aware that this odd book has been a great dealthan entertaining only on finishing it Then your strongest desire is to start reading it again My Review Arch Witty at times, fall down funny once or twice But when I think of this book, as I seldom do, the word resounding through my head is, Arch There is something of the old time gay subculture campiness, now fast disappearing in this day of mainstreaming, gaybies, and marriage equality on the march, about this erudite man s hommage to the Gothic romantic classic Frankenstein NB I did not just imply Gray is a gay man It s an irreverence for the venerated objects of culture, an inside outing of tradition, that seems to me less and less to be found, to the great impoverishment of culture in general Gray has done that here, has in this book sexualized the myth of Frankenstein s monster in a kind of appreciative send up of both the sexual obsession of modern readers and the repression through action of Victorian ones The exotic Mediterranean locales, specifically the louche climes of Alexandria, the successor to then Austrian ruled Venice as the wickedness capital of the world, make the story feel of the time The aura of sinful wickedness is period as well The narrative, and its ending, are 20th century approvedand probably the best bit of the book.I take off an entire star, though, for the sheer wearing endless sameness of the arch tone Put that eyebrow back down, sir Uncrook that pinky Alas, he never does Tis a pity Its been a long time since a book played such havoc with my emotional state driving me up and down the gamut of elation and despair, calling at all stops in between In the end, I am left impotent with rage , mostly at myself, for breaking my cardinal rule and going past page 70 which is my internal cut off for books that don t make the cut Because now I have lost three hours of my life reading this hogwash that I will never regain again.We start off with a gentle enough preamble about Baxter Its been a long time since a book played such havoc with my emotional state driving me up and down the gamut of elation and despair, calling at all stops in between In the end, I am left impotent with rage , mostly at myself, for breaking my cardinal rule and going past page 70 which is my internal cut off for books that don t make the cut Because now I have lost three hours of my life reading this hogwash that I will never regain again.We start off with a gentle enough preamble about Baxter and McCandles, two dubious specimens of Victorian quack medicine, whereupon Baxter revives a dead woman by replacing her brain with that of her 9 month old infant Who wakes up an amnesiac, a blank slate upon which to project hopefully the best of 19c enlightened thought Now, since I have, admittedly only skimmed through Pygmalion, Dracula and Frankenstein, I wasn t so inured as not to be able to enjoy this, although a nagging sense of disappointment did make me wish Gray had infused a little je ne se quoi in this modern retelling of the Bride of Frankenstein Perhaps a subtle deviation in tone, cadence, style, characterisation from Shelley wouldn t have been amissStill, it was only page 40 or so, so onward I pressed And then, in due course, of course, of course, McCandles gets to meet Bride aka Bella, at a moment when her brain happens to be the equivalent of a twelve year old girl Within seconds the besotted Victorian proposes marriage, trembling like a leaf before the fine form of this child woman Now, I simply can NOT abide this type of behaviour in real life Where being a Victorian is not a prerequisite for securing a trophy wife , so I don t see why I have to make allowances for this disgusting habit in my reads Luckily, this novel wasn t on my kindle so I could indulge my indignation and fling it half way across the room where it whacked the wall and sliced through the Osborne Little like a serrated knife through butter but it was so worth it I left it there on the floor all day so I could give it a great old wholloping kick every time I passed by But, and yet.I had actually enjoyed Gray s Janine1982 so well, plus, the cover of Poor things does say in great big bold that it won the Guardian fiction prize in 1992 and I still somewhat respect the Guardian So in the evening I decided to give it a wee chance again And now Things picked up considerably Bella has run off with a shameless libertine, a rogue of the first order, a cad, aI m running out of Victorian superlatives, but one gets the meaning The next few chapters are a letter from said scoundrel to Baxter, in which he bemoans his elopement with Bella because she has turned out to be a voracious nymphomaniac who has literally and mentally drained him dry This letter, which runs the course of several chapters, could be its own standalone short story and is the highlight of the book Humorous, poignant and at pains to break with clich , it gives a hysterical spin on 19c notions of Gretna Green phenotypes.Alas, this high was not to last Immediately after this interlude, we have a letter from Bella and this too runs through asome chapters By the end of which I caught myself puckered up as I sucked on this lemon Now we have Bella s education as her blank mind is exposed to 19 political, social, cultural, educational and other beliefs Condensed in ten pages But the reduced Shakespeare company this ain t For god s sake, Either use a fictional story line as the skeleton on which to hang your philosophical and spiritual template, Like Robert Pirsig and Carlos Castenada do so successfully, or shut up Just don t try to set the world on fire with a few soundbites of Malthusian population dynamics and Winwood Reade s Martyrdom musings, applied to the Napoleonic wars and subsequent unemployment, randomly, briefly and without context This half baked Pigmalion take on educating Bella falls flat on its condensed 19c socio political face This book just doesn t know what to do with itself its trying to be all things to all men.And finally, the denouement Yes, we find out through Bella s memoirs, that indeed that is what this book was trying to be her hapless husband McCandles whom she eventually marries, and who was the author of this hodgepodge , was in fact copying every known 19 c century writer And it goes like this, in Bella s words What morbid Victorian fantasy has he NOT filched from I find traces of The Coming Race, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Dracula, Triby, Haggard, The case book of Sherlock Holmes So thats alright then Sew up a book together and har de har, so the book becomes the modern day monster , apply Chinese water torture to the reader through use of every clich known to man, and exonerate yourself afterwards by claiming it was all an artistic ploy Crafty, because what idiot now would muster up the courage to slag off this Victorian pastiche shown through the optic of a post modernist cynic After all, the author himself admits he was plagiarising for the sake of arte Well, yours truly for starters For Christmas, I may send him a copy of The Emperor s New Clothes , from a fan 3.5 stars This is my second time reading Poor Things, around 6 years on from the first time I ve knocked it down half a star from the first reading, because upon a re read I found there were sections that I found quite boring this time around.I usually find Alasdair Gray s writing a bit of a mixed bag In this book there s definitely a lot to like allusions to Frankenstein and other gothic classics, Victorianism, sex, dark humour, and brilliant illustrations courtesy of Gray himself I alway 3.5 stars This is my second time reading Poor Things, around 6 years on from the first time I ve knocked it down half a star from the first reading, because upon a re read I found there were sections that I found quite boring this time around.I usually find Alasdair Gray s writing a bit of a mixed bag In this book there s definitely a lot to like allusions to Frankenstein and other gothic classics, Victorianism, sex, dark humour, and brilliant illustrations courtesy of Gray himself I always think it s best to read an Alasdair Gray book in hard copy to fully appreciate the book as an object as well as a story.The book follows the account of Archie McCandless, a Scottish public health officer, who falls in love with a strange woman named Bella Baxter, created by his medical friend Godwin Baxter by implanting her unborn child s brain into her lifeless body Strange Yes it is Messed up Undoubtedly so, but that s just Gray for you.There were sections that just didn t do it for me this time around The long letter narrated by Bella Baxter had points in it where I really wished I could just skim the words, because it involved politics and philosophy and things that I felt drew me out of the narrative particularly in contrast to the darkly funny letter from her another character narrating the same events There was also a fair amount of historical points in the back of the book from Gray himself that just wouldn t let me go when all I wanted was to leave the story where it had ended at a rather satisfying point I felt.Sometimes I dislike the way Gray puts himself into his novels I ve seen it before in Lanark and found it rather pretentious , but I did enjoy the way he created a book within a book in this novel It made the reading experienceinteresting and it was fun to imagine all the familiar Glasgow landmarks throughout.I d recommend this as a good place to start with Alasdair Gray s writing you ll quickly find out whether or not you re a fan of his style This Frankenstein re imagining I realize that word was created by marketing for bad movies but it seems appropriate , with seasoning from various other Victorian tales of the gothic fantastic, gives a radically extended role to the monster and his in this case, her narrative, which was the only part of Shelley s original I really liked anyway The core story is full of charm and humor and faux Victorianism and delightful weirdness, though it s very much a cartoon Not just in its medically im This Frankenstein re imagining I realize that word was created by marketing for bad movies but it seems appropriate , with seasoning from various other Victorian tales of the gothic fantastic, gives a radically extended role to the monster and his in this case, her narrative, which was the only part of Shelley s original I really liked anyway The core story is full of charm and humor and faux Victorianism and delightful weirdness, though it s very much a cartoon Not just in its medically impossible premise but in numerous instances of strange hyper romanticized behavior characters proposing marriage almost at first sight, screaming so loudly that they can be heard for miles around, that sort of thing Given that such excesses are common but not pervasive, it s never quite clear what level of realism we should expect out of the story at any given moment But it s still lots of fun.On the basis of that core story, I d give the book maybe 4 stars at most However, the core text is not the entire book It is surrounded by a frame story which calls its accuracy into question As many other people have commented, the whole thing feels a lot like Pale Fire we spend most of the book reading what is heavily suggested to be the work of an eccentric, delusional or mendacious hack In Pale Fire, though, Charles Kinbote s unreliability is entirely conveyed through internal evidence we realize he s a hack because he comes off as one albeit one who can write real pretty Archibald McCandless, the author of the core story in Poor Things, doesn t exude incompetence the way Kinbote does, and the only internal evidence for his unreliability is the cartoonish quality of the events he relates This makes the McCandless is wrong interpretation almost as hard to believe as the events McCandless relates, because it s hard to connect the sensitive, likable voice of the core text with the rather pathetic man described in the frame narrative.This is a small defect, but it is necessary, because it allows McCandless unlike Kinbote to charm the reader and thus enlist them, almost against their will, for his side The core story, in its fanciful unreality, would be a very light confection on its own But as it started to disperse, near the end, into an intractable mess of worldly facts, I found myself desperately wanting it back This joyously silly book ends, surprisingly, in a tone of sublime melancholy The value of all that cartoon silliness and light is in the fact that you can t have themA realer feeling than realism alone can offer I really enjoyed this It was genuinely funny and it was written in a quite fresh and unique way It was a parody of a lot of different stuff from the early 20s which I loved. A stirring melange of Frankenstein and Pygmalion I bought my copy of this at a great shop in Camden I then read half in Heathrow and finished such flying over the Atlantic. I was hesitant to read Poor Things because there is a lot going on in this novel The book has strange formatting and images It s written to sound like a Victorian classic, but it s also satirizing Victorian classics It s a bizarre feminist Frankenstein reimagining told by multiple unreliable narrators It s a book within a book I wasn t sure if it would be too meta for me to get interested in the story I often feel distant from metafiction because it can be too clever for its own good.The m I was hesitant to read Poor Things because there is a lot going on in this novel The book has strange formatting and images It s written to sound like a Victorian classic, but it s also satirizing Victorian classics It s a bizarre feminist Frankenstein reimagining told by multiple unreliable narrators It s a book within a book I wasn t sure if it would be too meta for me to get interested in the story I often feel distant from metafiction because it can be too clever for its own good.The majority of Poor Things is made up of a memoir written and self published by the main character, Dr Archibald McCandless He tells the story of how his friend, Dr Godwin Baxter, acquires the body of a drowned pregnant woman Baxter resurrects the woman by replacing her brain with the brain of her unborn baby Baxter names his creation Bella Baxter and tries to make her into his perfect companion This works out well until Bella and McCandless fall in love and get married This isn t a spoiler McCandless says it in the beginning of his book The second part of Poor Things is a letter from Bella to her great grandchildren After her husband s death, she reads the memoir he wrote and decides that she needs to set the record straight Her marriage to McCandless was far from perfect, and her Frankenstein like resurrection wasn t anywhere near as mysterious as he made it seem You, dear reader, have now two accounts to choose between and there can be no doubt which is most probable Poor ThingsI have mixed feelings about this book It definitely wasn t too meta for me, but I did have problems with it The beginning and end are entertaining I laughed at Bella s erotomania and the way that her sex drive and wandering eye exhaust men She quickly turns their fantasies into nightmares But, the middle of this book is extraordinarily boring This is one of those novels where the characters don t do much I have to admit that I skimmed parts of the middle and that I considered giving up on the book multiple times The middle mostly consists of McCandless and Baxter talking and reading letters I lost patience with the lack of action The only reason that I kept reading was because I knew that Bella s side of the story would be told at the end, and I wanted to hear it.I also got annoyed with reading Bella s rambling, punctuation less dialogue and writing I know that she supposedly has the brain of an unborn baby, but I skimmed some of her letters and dialogue because I couldn t take it Dear God I am tired It is late Writing like Shakespeare is hard work for a woman with a cracked head who cannot spell properly Poor ThingsEven though I was bored for the majority of the book, there are a few things that I really like about it The author does an excellent job with the unreliable narrators They have vastly different interpretations of the same events A character who is likeable from one person s perspective can be a total jerk from another s It s very realistic.I also like the feminism Every man sees Bella as a blank slate They each try to make her into what they want They tell her what to believe about religion and politics They try to form her into their ideal wife or companion Even McCandless attempts to make Bella what he wants by taking it upon himself to tell the world her story The reader doesn t get to hear Bella s real voice until the end Everything else she says in the book is filtered through the male narrators It isn t until the end that the reader realizes that Bella may be manipulating the men just as much as they are manipulating her She uses the men to make a difference in the world I clenched my teeth and fists to stop them biting and scratching these clever men who want no care for the helpless sick small, who use religions and politics to stay comfortably superior to all that pain who make religions and politics, excuses to spread misery with fire and sword and how could I stop all this I did not know what to do Poor ThingsI can t say that I recommend reading Poor Things because I thought the majority of it was slow, but if you re interested in feminist literature, you might want to check it out