of this book:
Originally written as a radio play, then
revised for the stage, Alasdair Gray finally turned McGrotty and Ludmilla into
a novel. The plot, as he freely acknowledges, is taken from the I. Specifically,
it is the Aladdin story, transposed to modern Whitehall.
Mungo McGrotty rises from his humble governmental post to the heights of power,
helped by the mysterious Harbinger Report which holds marvelous powers of blackmail.
In this fantastical comedy McGrotty finds (and keeps -- unusual in a Gray tale)
happiness and love. He is no bright light -- "I don't read books" he
acknowledges ("I'm glad to hear it," he is told: "They can be terribly
misleading.") -- but he knows what he wants, and he also turns out to be
a fairly decent fellow. Helped by his partner and true love, Ludmilla, he first
flirts with ambition, and then winds up doing the right thing.
and amusing, and not near as dark as much of Gray's writing, McGrotty and
Ludmilla is a most enjoyable entertainment. Truly a modern tale out of the
Arabian Nights. New York Review of Books
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