Playlist: Lanark: A Life in Four Books by Alasdair Gray

I know. It’s been forever since I’ve done one of these. That’s on me, but this is one of my favorite books and this playlist has been buzzing around my mind since I read it back in 2015.

Set in the disintegrating cities of Unthank and Glasgow, this modern vision of hell and humanity tells the interwoven stories of two men: Lanark and Duncan Thaw. As the Life in Four Books unfolds, the strange, buried relationship between Lanark and Thaw slowly starts to emerge.

Lanark is a towering work of the imagination and is the culmination of twenty-five years of work by Gray, who also illustrated and designed the novel. On its first publication it was immediately recognised as a major work of literature, and drew comparisons with Dante, Blake, Joyce, Orwell, Kafka, Huxley and Lewis Carroll. Thirty years on, its power, majesty, anger and relevance have only intensified.




Hypnosis Theme (Phonovisions Symphonic Version) – Wax Tailor

State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.) – Jim James

Summa – Arvo Part

Arépo – Hugues Le Bars (I had trouble finding this on youtube)

Love is Blindness – Jack White

Eros by Ludovico Einaudi

Can’t Pretend – Tom Odell

(Also if Lanark was to be a modern dance…it would be “If At All” by Rami Be’er)

Basically for this playlist I included songs that invoked a paralysis of love and an impeding sense of failure. Additionally, I looked for songs that were slightly futuristic that included themes of controlling institutions and technology.

I know this was a rather short explanation, but more than any of the other playlists these songs just seen fit with Lanark in a way that I can’t entirely describe. Perhaps it is because Lanark is such an intense work that is itself hard to describe completely. It creates in the reader a mind simultaneously comfortable and on edge, as if at any moment what they are reading is going to come out and start talking to them.

Anyway, that’s perhaps not entirely understandable…but read the book, then it will be clearer.





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