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Ten Tales Tall and True (1993)
Getting Started - A Prologue
Houses & Small Labour Parties
Loss Of The Golden Silence
Are You A Lesbian?
The Marriage Feast
A New World
The Trendelenburg Position
Near The Driver
Mr Meikle - An Epilogue
Notes, Thanks and Critic Fuel
Listen to Alasdair Gray read an extract from 'The Trendelenburg Position'. (30 secs)
Ten Tales Tall and True contains Gray's mid-career short stories and reflect a man at home in his craft. Gone, perhaps regretably, are the pyrotechnics of Unlikely Stories, Mostly. Here the stories are well-written, well-crafted and consistently satisfying. While there is nothing to compare with the likes of 'Five Letters from an Eastern Empire', equally there is nothing like 'Logopandocy', which looks fabulous but perhaps not one in 25 readers ploughed their way though.
The first edition had its navy blue boards embossed in silver, front and back, with the same design: a lattice background, a picture of a (scots?) pine tree-stump putting forth a healthy new shoot beside the motto 'TRY AGAIN', a spider dangles by a thread from the lattice. The same design was later used on the boards of A History Maker.
Printed in a spectrum of colours, from red to green, the front flap of the dust jacket says:
The back flap contains a pencil drawing of Gray by James Bliss and the first promise of The Anthology of Prefaces, which he says '[h]e plans to complete [ ] before the 21st century, and meanwhile supports himself by the pleasant exercise of writing and illustrating popular fiction'.
This book contains more tales than ten
so the title is a tall tale too.
I would spoil my book if I shortened it,
spoil the title if I made it true'.
Within the book, there are many line illustrations, mainly of animals and their tails. Each story, apart from the last, opens with a large capital letter illuminated with another animal drawing. The right-hand page of each spread has a different phrase commenting upon the action on the page, acting as a running commentary upon plot and characters. A list of work by the author includes, under 'In Preparation', The Anthology of Prefaces and, with Angela Mullane, The State We Are In.
Some copies of the 1st hardback edition were issued with a small erratum slip (100mm x 40mm, in black ink). It includes the information that the story beginning on p111, Time Travel, should be dedicated to James Kelman.
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Paperback also available.