By Alasdair Gray
Lanark cover



From its first publication in 1981, Lanark was hailed as a masterpiece and it has come to be widely regarded as the most remarkable and influential Scottish novel of the second half of the twentieth century. A work of extraordinary imagination and wide-ranging concerns, its playful narrative conveys at its core a profound message, both personal and political, about humankind's inability to love, and yet our compulsion to go on trying. With its echoes of Dante, Blake, Joyce, Kafka, and Lewis Carroll, Lanark has been published all over the world and to unanimous acclaim.

Year of Publication


Lanark begins with Book III – already the reader knows they are in the hands of an author willing to subvert and stretch the novel in many ways. The story of Duncan Thaw, a disaffected art student, is wrapped inside the story of Lanark, a man afflicted with dragonhide disease in an eerie, twilit city. Reality and fantasy clash, Glasgow is reborn and the Author makes an unexpected appearance. -- Stuart Kelly

Author Biography

Alasdair Gray is a Glasgow writer and artist, most famous for his novel Lanark (1981): 'if a city hasn't been used by an artist, not even the inhabitants live there imaginatively' remarks one of the characters, but Gray imagined and drew the city into its being in the late 20th century. His poetry has a similarly questioning, subversive tone but is also honest and painfully aware of loss.