Something Leather

Alasdair Gray


Book, 22.2 x 14.2 cm, 251 p., language : English, publisher : Jonathan Cape Ltd., London, ISBN : 0-224-02627-5.
Materials: Ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2027/158).

Literary synopsis

Toward the end of this bawdy social satire, in a chapter somewhat contemptuously called "Critic Fuel: An Epilogue," Gray reports a conversation with the avant-garde writer Kathy Acker in which he complained that he had no ideas for stories, and she suggested that he write one with a female protagonist. Although skeptical of his ability to "imagine how a woman felt when alone," Gray writes a story about "modest, conventional" June, who, on a lark, decides to buy "something leather." This novel is what becomes of her and the three women who cross her path: Senga, a brutish dominatrix; Senga's dim assistant Donalda; and Harry, a disturbed but nonetheless faddishly successful artist. The tale's trajectory is simple: June is converted from her life as a secretary to a pipe-fitting mogul to a leather-clad woman with a shaved head and a taste for pain. Gray's concerns, though toying with the psychosexual, center on the sociopolitical.

- Julie Grau

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