Read the ends of our tethers thirteen sorry stories thirteen sorry stories by Alasdair Gray Online


Since 1981, when Alasdair Gray's first novel Lanark was published by Canongate, his characters have aged as fast as their author. The Ends of Our Tethers shows the high jinks of many folk in the last stages of physical, moral and social decrepitude - a sure tonic for the young. The first work of fiction in over six years by one of Britain's most original and brilliant writSince 1981, when Alasdair Gray's first novel Lanark was published by Canongate, his characters have aged as fast as their author. The Ends of Our Tethers shows the high jinks of many folk in the last stages of physical, moral and social decrepitude - a sure tonic for the young. The first work of fiction in over six years by one of Britain's most original and brilliant writers, this wonderful (and very funny) new collection reaffirms Gray's position as a master of the short story. The Ends of Our Tethers is vintage Gray - experimental, mischievous, wide-ranging but also subtly connected. And as always the work is hallmarked with his highly engaging prose style, dry wit and fecund imagination. These thirteen tales challenge prejudice, question social imbalances and explore human foibles. In 'No Bluebeard', a socially reclusive man, veteran of three marriages, meets a disturbed and eccentric woman desperate to remain hidden from her family. In 'Job's Skin Game' a father develops a skin condition in response to the emotional shock of losing his two sons in the September 11th attacks and his fortune in the dot-com crisis. The exquisite pleasure he takes from scratching and peeling his dead epidermis becomes his sole preoccupation and a metaphor for what is ultimately a wholly sane response to tragedy. 'Wellbeing' offers a politically charged dystopian vision of a future Britain as seen through the eyes of a once-revered writer, now homeless yet stubbornly refusing to move to a more hospitable country as 'there are better ways of living than being happy, but they require strength and sanity.' Beautifully produced and illustrated throughout with Gray's distinctive drawings, this is an important and highly accessible collection....

Title : the ends of our tethers thirteen sorry stories thirteen sorry stories
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ISBN : 28383556
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

the ends of our tethers thirteen sorry stories thirteen sorry stories Reviews

  • MJ Nicholls
    2019-01-24 09:05

    Gray is constantly surprising me—whenever I consign him to the dustbin of mediocrity, he returns with a superb collection of short fiction. After a seven-year absence (where he worked as a writing professor in Glasgow), he returned refreshed with thirteen tales about senility, creativity and politics. ‘No Bluebeard’ is the longest: an account of the narrator’s three marriages based on Gray’s shaky relationship history and his marriage to a steely Scandinavian who shared her name with Olympic Danish swimmer Inge Sorensen. Boasts the most awkward use of the C word in a piece of fiction (outside Updike). Also notable is ‘Aiblins’ about a deranged poet who tries blackmailing his old tutor into getting his work published through braggart posing. ‘Job’s Skin Game’ is the best story about recurring eczema you’re likely to read (outside Updike) and brims with scabby mischief. The other pieces here are brief, memorable, bittersweet and perfect. Gray is a little grey deity.

  • Anita Dalton
    2019-01-28 07:45

    You can read my entire discussion here.Review snippet: Tilda is not a woman given to subterfuge. She does not manipulate and she does not really fight with him. But as he tries to force her into a role he thinks more appropriate – like making her shop for clothes she does not want or care about – he comes to understand that her passivity is not a ploy. He realizes the woman who fucks with ease is really as disengaged from sex as she is from shopping, though he doesn’t have to threaten to throw her out to make her acquiesce to sex. One gets the feeling that anything she does not have to leave the house to do she is fine enough just enduring in her disembodied sort of way.He slowly begins to understand her because her constant nearness forces him to. She hates being apart from him, even when he takes a daily walk. Their days took on a near-boring sameness for him, but not for her. She sat at the floor and watched him work, ate the meals he cooked and did little else.I asked if she would like a television set? A Walkman radio? Magazines? She said, “A properly furnished mind cunt is its own feast cunt and does not need such expensive and foolish extravagances.”God, I loved Tilda completely after reading that sentence. The narrator tells us she stops using the word “cunt” so much as their time together went on, but he still had a hard time knowing what was going on in her properly furnished mind.

  • Angus McKeogh
    2019-01-31 09:02

    A smidgen above average and not nearly good enough to qualify as great. Three or four of the stories were quirky and entertaining and the rest seemed odd or unfinished. Also included a dated piece of journalistic reportage. Ho hum.

  • Jennifer
    2019-02-01 15:02

    This little book is one of my favorite finds ever in the used book section at Schulers. I was expecting to find no Alasdair Gray. I was just looking to feel superior or deprived, I suppose, but instead I found two books! Now I know I've mentioned that the short story is not my favorite format, but I needed a short story collection for the book bingo challenge at work, and Alasdair Gray should certainly make it more interesting.For the most part (excepting the last story), this is Gray separated from all his big speculative fiction concepts. There are no portals to other worlds here, no women reanimated from spare parts. Aside from that, they remain true to the themes of Gray's work -- tortured (but usually well-meaning) relationships between men and women, class and politics, art's place in the world...It's a wonderful little book. Some of the stories are quite strange, yes, full of outsiders and holders of unpopular opinions. Although each story features someone at the end of their tether in some way, for the most part these are people struggling to make the best of whatever the situation they are in. Most of them find a kind of peace, even if it is a sad peace. Finally, I love the object of the book itself. Its strange little illustrations and the non-standard blocking of the stories. You will not confuse this book for any other book.

  • Channing
    2019-01-18 06:55

    Anybody who thinks that Irvine Welsh is a true literary original has never read anything by Alasdair Gray. That said, he's one of those authors that, in general, I respect more than I actually enjoy reading. When he gets bits of text interweaving in little boxes all backwards and upside-down, it's a wee bit too conceptually rigorous for me.He writes great short stories, though, and you'll find plenty of them in here. The one on his contemporary retelling of the story of Job is particularly good. There's also plenty of not so subtle but intelligently delivered commentary about Blair-era Britain and Gray's raging contempt for it.The other thing I love about all of Gray's books is the blurbs in the back. Most authors only include positive raves for their work. A few might toss in a negative review just to be funny. Gray includes them all, from the most ass-kissingly hyperbolic praise of his champions in the British press to those reviewers who see him as a talentless hack deserving of an extremely painful and drawn-out death. Sometimes the reviews of his books make for more entertaining reading than the books themselves...But this one is great. And he also draws some pretty funny pictures...

  • Tuck
    2019-02-18 06:57

    13 stories about the disasters men and women visit on each other. soooo sad, funny, snarky, irreverent. should have a WARNING label on front: do not crack this if you a. have no sense of humor b. already lost your heart in this self-same sewer and what's the point?! c. both or best read while listening to arab strap

  • Rowena
    2019-01-30 10:59

    Weird little stories but they did grow on me in the end. The story about the man who was obsessed with his eczema is cringeworthy, to say the least.

  • Stefan Szczelkun
    2019-02-12 06:57

    Crafted wring that hits home.

  • K.C. David
    2019-02-12 11:59

    This book has a collection of 13 short stories, all of which vary from alright to good. However, the short story No Bluebeard, which is also the longest of the 13, is absoluteley wonderful, and on its own in my opinion make this book worth purchasing.

  • Alan
    2019-02-01 11:58

    "[...]I closed my eyes and enjoyed walking on a grassy hilltop beside a tall, slender, beautiful young woman I had loved when I was fifty. Even in this dream I knew our love was in the past, that my virility was dead and that no beautiful woman would ever love me again. I told her this. She grew angry and called me selfish because I was only dreaming of her to cheer myself up. This was obviously true so I forgot her by staring at a hill on the far side of a valley[...]"—"Wellbeing," p.167Let the part stand in for the whole—the above excerpt, though more fanciful than most of the stories in The Ends of Our Tethers, perfectly captures Gray's defiantly glum tone.Some of the sorry stories in this book are astonishingly mundane; "My Ex Husband," for example, could have been transcribed from a social worker's interview tape. Others, the scathing "Fifteenth February 2003" in particular, with its well-timed (though of course utterly ineffectual) indictment of the upcoming invasion of Iraq, show Gray's outspoken side and keen political awareness. One or two—such as "Job's Skin Game" with its typology of scabs—are actively unpleasant. A sense of quiet misery pervades all of them; the book's subtitle is accurate. And yet...In the hands of a lesser author, these would be nothing but miserable. In Gray's... though I did not enjoy this collection quite so much as I did Unlikely Stories Mostly, it is a measure of Gray's greatness that he takes such unpromising material and turns it into tales which are so intensely interesting.

  • Ele Munjeli
    2019-01-27 07:11

    This was the first book I've read by Gray. I can't remember where I stumbled on it, but someone mentioned he was a force in typography. I love it when authors use the medium and play with fonts or layout. The Ends of Our Tethers was mild in graphics, yet tastefully laid out. The stories are rather short, entirely set in Scotland, and converge on a point of realization or illumination, which is often of no more than futility. It is a book about the rather familiar and unpopular emotions of frustration and acceptance. There are times when the author is painfully frank. Job's Skin Game revels in a gruesome obsession, and the creativity of language and description is agonizing. Though not quite my cup of tea, I'll definitely read more of Gray; the craft here was apparent.

  • Jessica
    2019-02-09 12:49

    I read this shortly after reading and adoring Gray's short-story collection Unlikely Stories Mostly. The Ends of Our Tethers was published much more recently, and I really hope all of his writing hasn't gone down the tubes as much as this collection indicates, because this book is hardly worth mentioning. There were a couple of decent stories and a lot of really uninteresting ones. Definitely NOT the place to start if you want to read some Alasdair Gray.

  • John
    2019-01-21 14:00

    This is a quirky collection of stories, at times it reminded me of the deadpan tall tale style of some of the Mark Twain stories I've read, but with more gritty urban working class ennui. The best stories, imo, were "Job's Skin Game", a lovingly glum story about a thrice married man with a skin ailment, and "Wellbeing", a wonderful quasi-fantasy story about a famous homeless man with a rich imagination.

  • Dawn
    2019-02-01 11:51

    It has been a couple months since I've read this and I can't remember what I liked or disliked. I do recall that the stories were not my cup of tea and speed reading through almost all of them. Not the most helpful review, I know, but I think this was just a case of picking the wrong book for my tastes.

  • Lucysnow1851
    2019-01-25 11:04

    Read this little book. It is so funny and brilliant and real. 13 short stories about how life can go wrong and yet it is still funny and unique. "Job's Skin Game" was my favorite, a story about a man who enjoys his eczema a little too much.

  • Ewan Wilson
    2019-02-01 07:04

    some wonderful stories here. he has such an honest narrative style which I love. I wish he would keep going and producing stories forever. sometimes I want to meet him in his twenties and tell him to stop being such a pussy though.

  • Mason
    2019-01-19 14:59

    The short stories vary from too short to just a little long. Some feel cast off, while others are truly poignant. One caution: that guy on the cover has no trousers. While this is a perfect waiting room book, I should have left the cover in the truck.

  • Katherine
    2019-02-08 12:09

    I always really enjoy his writing - it's like nothing else I've read. I can't really say anything more intelligent than that. Also, I like the fact that he oversees the design of his books, down to the typesetting, and I believe he does the illustrations (!) as well.

  • Ben Schaffer
    2019-01-20 13:15


  • april violet
    2019-02-14 11:50

    I just wasn't in the right frame of mind for this. I'd give him another shot.

  • Don
    2019-02-09 06:55

    Black humour mainly about the business of getting older and gradually falling apart.

  • Geraud
    2019-02-04 15:15

    readable but not the best of Gray's short work.