Their Lips Talk of Mischief
Their Lips Talk of Mischief, Alan Warner’s first novel with Faber, is a darkly comic tale of hope and humanity against the grim urban and political landscape of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain
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High up in the Conrad Flats that loom bleakly over Acton, two future stars of the literary scene – or so they assume – are hard at work, tapping out words of wit and brilliance between ill-paid jobs writing captions for the Cat Calendar 1985 and blurbs for trashy novels with titles like Brothel of the Vampire. Just twenty-one but already well entrenched in a life eked out on dole payments, pints and dollops of porridge and pasta, Llewellyn and Cunningham don’t have it too bad: a pub on the corner, a misdirected parental allowance, and the delightful company of Aoife, Llewellyn’s model fiancée, mother of his young baby – and the woman of Cunningham’s increasingly vivid dreams.
Alan Warner’s superb new novel sees the author of Morvern Callar at the top of his game.
[G]litteringly explosive ... the perfect summer read.
[T]his craftily engineered and winningly nostalgic novel is at last a story of lost illusions. It ends in a flash-frame of aporia, an impossible decision to be made: in lesser hands this might feel like a copout, but Warner knows exactly what he is doing.
Warner has always been the contemporary Scottish writer most interested in literary style; combining slangy, stylised speech with a baroque phrasing and syntax, he is incapable of writing a dull book.
Moving, funny, richly peopled and written with great gusto.
[O]ne of Scotland's best, a writer who has begun to create his own, often surreal, imaginative world out of the flotsam and jetsam - the detritus - of modern life.
[An] ebullient but underlyingly sombre book.
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