It’s been difficult to keep things ticking over on here recently and it may be that if anyone is waiting for something then it’s not a book review. But that’s what you’re getting.
Not that Alan Bissett’s ‘Death of a Ladies Man’ is lacking in musical credentials. His previous books have all had their own particular sound tracks and ‘DoaLM’ is no different. In fact it’s positively dripping with indie street cred featuring as it does references to Zoey van Goey and Malcolm Middleton on its very first page.
The soundtrack to this novel would be a mighty fine one but the music is largely peripheral to the emotional thrust of the novel even if one of the key incidents happens at the ABC in Glasgow. More of that later.
The novel’s main protagonist is teacher Charlie Bain, indie music fan and sex addict. It’s fair to say that he does not treat the women in his life well. However unlike one heavily critical reviewer, I still found myself rooting for Charlie hoping that he would turn things around.
The afore mentioned incident at the ABC (watching Sons and Daughters and Y’All Is Fantasy Island don’t you know) is when things really start falling apart as Charlie’s coke fuelled antics start to catch up with him. The question is which of the women in his life will help get him back on track. Girfriend Julie? Long term friend Nadine? His mum? Or even star pupil Monise? The longer the book goes on the more options it seems close off for Charlie.
Although it’s very funny in places, it’s an uncomfortable read in others. Compared to ‘The Incredible Adam Spark’ which also balances light and dark, ‘Death of A Ladies Man’ is far far darker. Yet it is a compelling read even if it eschews any easy way out.
Read it. [Buy it]
A tune mentioned in the book: