What a curious book. This guy is layered a bit like an onion and there really isn’t any reason to trust anyone who claims anything in the entire book. The humor is droll, very Scotch, and the type that makes you want to smack the people upside the head for being goofballs. It was an enjoyable, somewhat ribald read that is reminiscent of a Jerry Springer Show, with a bit more class.
Alisdair Gray claims that he found the book Poor Things through a colleague and when he sent it for publication the original was lost. Convenient, for now there is no evidence to back up his claim that the entire work is fiction. The memoir was written by Archibald McCandless and is summarily dismissed as poppycock in a rant by his wife Victoria Baxter McCandless. Alisdair Gray claims that he chose to put the letter at the end instead of using it as a forward because he felt that it might detract from the story.
There is also a sort of appendix which contains supposed evidence, assembled by Gray, to support the claims of McCandless. All of the evidence is circumstantial. With all of these confidence games being played you might miss the contemporary social commentary via apparent Victorian era social commentary, but it is there.
It is also hilarious that Victoria claims that Archibald basically plagiarized themes from other novels. [Since that is what Gray certainly did, he gives us a wink that he knows we know, how very meta, to beat a dead horse] This is one Frankenstein’s monster of a book, but for all its complicatededededness it reads like pudding eats; effortlessly.