Morvern Callar

Morvern Callar

by Alan Warner




Morvern Callar, a low-paid employee in the local supermarket in a desolate and beautiful port town in the west of Scotland, wakes one morning in late December to find her strange boyfriend has committed suicide and is dead on the kitchen floor. Morvern's reaction is both intriguing and immoral. What she does next is even more appalling. Moving across a blurred European landscape-from rural poverty and drunken mayhem of the port to the Mediterranean rave scene-we experience everything from Morvern's stark, unflinching perspective.

Morvern is utterly hypnotizing from her very first sentence to her last. She rarely goes anywhere without the Walkman left behind as a Christmas present by her dead boyfriend, and as she narrates this strange story, she takes care to tell the reader exactly what music she is listening to, giving the stunning effect of a sound track running behind her voice.

In much the same way that Patrick McCabe managed to tell an incredibly rich and haunting story through the eyes of an emotionally disturbed boy in The Butcher Boy, Alan Warner probes the vast internal emptiness of a generation by using the cool, haunting voice of a female narrator lost in the profound anomie of the ecstasy generation. Morvern is a brilliant creation, not so much memorable as utterly unforgettable."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385487412
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/17/1997
Series: Morvern Callar Cycle , #1
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

Alan Warner is the author of three novels: Morvern Callar, soon to be a film by Lynn Ramsay; These Demented Lands, which won the 1998 Encore Award; and The Sopranos, also soon to be a film.

Reading Group Guide

1. Morvern Callar is the female narrator of the novel. How successful is the author in convincing the reader that this is an authentic female voice? Is it ever possible for a male writer to truly convince the reader of a female voice?

2. The boyfriend kills himself, and Morvern finds him dead on the kitchen floor. Eventually she disposes of the body and inherits his wealth, as he has organised for her. How does Warner make us believe such an unlikely series of events, and does it matter that the novel is propelled by such a fantastical set of actions?

3. Morvern steals the credit for her dead boyfriend's book without any apparent conscience but when her friend, Lanna, betrays her by sleeping with her boyfriend, she takes a moral stance against her. What is the overall moral tone of the book: moral, immoral or amoral?

4. Morvern is always described as quiet and an outsider, she gives nothing away and seeks to be on her own, whether it is in Scotland or the Mediterranean. How does this set her apart from the other characters, and we ever really find out anything about her?

5. Morvern Callar contains various descriptions of non working-class characters: the boyfriend, the Central belt boys, the London publishers and the University ornithologist. How do their characters express the class conflict of the book? Who manipulates who when Morvern is drawn in to contact with them?

6. At the end of the novel, Morvern is pregnant with the 'child of the raves'. How have circumstances changes for Morvern, has she now found her freedom? Is it a happy ending?

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