Poor Things

Overview

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 creation. The hilarious tale of love and scandal that ensues would be "the ...

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Overview

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 creation. The 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 (a.k.a. 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 authors.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

Geoff Ryman - The New York Times
“Witty and delightfully written.”
Merle Rubin - Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Probably a crank, possibly a genius, certainly an original and independent voice, Alasdair Gray . . . has the look of a latter-day
William Blake, with his extravagant myth-making, his strong social conscience, his liberating vision of sexuality and his flashes of righteous indignation tempered with scathing wit and sly self-mockery.”
Barbara Hardy - Times Literary Supplement
“Lewis Carroll and Conan Doyle are acknowledged, but the authors Gray really revises are Sterne and Diderot, both comically self-analytic, Defoe, the creator of strong women, and Samuel Johnson or Voltaire, profound allegorists of the search for a good society . . . Poor Things is amusing and admirably angry, compassionate, and ironic as it looks in 1992 at the early days—modern as well Victorian—of a better nation.”
Chicago Tribune
“Bella Baxter surely merits a place among the holy innocents of literature—Lemuel Gulliver, Don Quixote, Huck Finn, Prince Kropotkin and Holden Caulfield . . . Bound to call to mind other acidic commentaries on human folly—Rasselas, Tristram Shandy, Candide. But can it be that Gray, with his fierce Hibernian contempt for 20th Century solutions for age-old problems, is the most piercing thorn on the bush?”
Washington Post Book World
“Gray here retells a tale that amalgamates Frankenstein and Candide . . . Along the way Gray offers delightful conversation, a tricksy triple ending, and some very witty writing.”
Spectator
“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 deal more than entertaining only on finishing it. Then your strongest desire is to start reading it again.”
The Boston Globe
“A riotously comic, up-to-date Victorian romance . . . deft and frolicsome.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564783073
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Series: British Literature Series
  • Edition description: 1ST DALKEY
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 402,956
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Alasdair Gray was born in 1934 in Glasgow, where he still lives. A painter as well as a writer, Mr. Gray describes himself as "an artist in words and pictures." He is the author of Poor Things, Lannark, and 1982 Janine, among other novels and story collections.

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