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Their Lips Talk of Mischief

Alan Warner

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.

Critic Reviews

Adorning the cover ... is a picture of a decrepit typewriter missing multiple letters - a fitting image for a novel that thrives on exploring the gaps in narratives. For amid the lips talking of mischief, Warner also subtly mines the silences in relationships, in a story that resonates poignantly with that which remains unsaid.

Paperback of the Week, The Observer
Critic Reviews

[G]litteringly explosive ... the perfect summer read.

The Times
Critic Reviews

[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.

Critic Reviews

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.

The List
Critic Reviews

Moving, funny, richly peopled and written with great gusto.

Financial Times
Critic Reviews

[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.

Robert McCrum, The Observer
Alan Warner

Alan Warner is the author of seven previous novels: Morvern Callar, which was made into a film starring Samantha Morton, These Demented Lands, The Sopranos, The Man Who Walks, The Worms Can Carry Me To Heaven, The Stars in the Bright Sky, which was longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize, and The Deadman’s Pedal, which won the 2013 James…

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Alan Warner