Lanark 1982
an unofficial Alasdair Gray website

McGrotty & Ludmilla (1990)
<Buy this book>

McGrotty and Ludmilla was the first publication from the Dog and Bone Press, a short-lived independent publishing company set up between Alasdair Gray, Angela Mullane and Chris Boyce. The acknowledgements at the end of the book tell the reader that, although originally written as a television play in 1973 for a series based on nursery tales in modern settings, McGrotty and Ludmilla first appeared as a radio play on the 18th of July, 1975. Grays says that he 'give[s] the date to show that, though a blatant plagiarist, I did not plagiarise the Whitehall comedy programme Yes Minister'. In February 1987, a stage version was produced at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow: details from this stage version found their way into the book and McGrotty's portrait on the cover is copied from actor Kevin McMonigle in the role.

Inside, a running commentary runs along the top of each page, and each chapter closes with a line drawing: lamps, thistles, spiders and skulls recur, reflecting the tone of preceding events. The blurb says that the book 'differs from […] Alasdair Gray's other books by having a hero who gets everything he wants, marries and lives happily ever after'.

The book is based on the tale of Aladdin, with the 'magic lamp' conferring great power a secret government report. McGrotty finds himself promoted a great speed, eventually becoming Prime MInister, by being so intensly unlikable that people simply want to get rid of him. The gift of a photographic memory means that after an accident with a three-bar electric fire, the version in his head is the only copy of the report in the world. Despite being lightweight, the book is great fun and a nice alternative to the heavyweight novels.

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.

<Buy from>

Not available from Try the UK site, Bookfinder (see lnks) or Morag McAlpine (below).

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.