Lanark 1982
an unofficial Alasdair Gray website

The Fall of Kelvin Walker (1985)

The Fall of Kelvin Walker was adapted from a play of the same name. The play was written in 1964 and produced by BBC television in 1968 and staged in 1972. Unusually for Gray novels and short story collections, the book is not illustrated inside.

The book's front flap gives a brief quote from the book and a short blurb: "[Kelvin Walker] plans to start at the top and through his absurd ambition, a megalomania surfaces that is unrelieved by his insensitive and ruthless attempts at friendship and romance".

The work is based on Gray's experiences when he came down from Scotland to London to work on a film called 'Under the Helmet' made by a friend of his for the Huw Weldon television programme Monitor. The film was about Gray's painting and poetry and was made in such a way that the viewer was likely to assume, although this was never stated, that Gray was dead - that he was alive and well being only revealed at the very end. Gray saw how possible it was for someone to create an entirely new life there, casting off their inhibitions and all the social connections you've had through your life that conspire to hold you where you are. The result was the Kelvin Walker play.

Gray's cover art was ditched for the first Penguin paperback edition, but reinstated for later printings in an amended form (the falling man's face is more devilish and tortured and a red and black flame replaces the turquoise background).

Alasdair Gray's books are sometimes difficult to get hold of. Where they are available, I have included links below to the amazon sites in the UK and the USA. Where a record is on their database, they will usually include links to used-book sellers who can offer the title, even if it is not available direct from amazon themselves.

Alternatively, you can try emailing Morag McAlpine, who can send you a list of available titles. She usually has a variety of out-of-print books, often signed, and also a selection of prints of Gray's artwork, also signed.