This review was originally on Goodreads
Can’s Tago Mago is a complex album, filled with weird sounds and scant melodies. Yet is is inventive and an immersive experience. Author Alan Warner, however, does not really tackle the album from a technical point of view, rather he makes Tago Mago the epicentre of his coming of age into music. If you’re looking for a good anecdote about music consumerism in the late 70’s then this is a great book. If you want to know more about specific drums the skip to the last 20 pages, where Warner interviews Jaki Liebezeit and Michael Karoli and they talk about the recording and certain trivia.
Personally I like the mix of personal and factual, and it doubles as an enjoyable read.
I read Morvern Callar back in 2002 , just before the film was released (usually when there’s an adaptation I read the book beforehand) and I simply loved it. I was working at the bookstore at the time and I could relate to Movern’s depiction of the typical 9 to 5 job.
One day Morvern Callar wakes up and finds out that her boyfriend has committed suicide. The only thing he leaves is a novel on his computer. After debating the situation (and looking for an escape from her routinely life) Morvern decides to print out the manuscript and send it to a publisher.
The book is accepted and Morvern finds herself with a lot of money from the book’s advance. After a stint in Ibiza (where things go horribly wrong) she returns quite poor and settles back (more or less) into life.
I like a book which I can relate to and Morvern Callar showed up in my life at the right time. On the plus side Callar is also mentioning music – something, which can render a book out of date but here it works fine ( in the novel Callar carries a walkman and tell us what she’s listening to – i carry a discman all the time so I have a constant soundtrack ). Also it’s in musical working class Scottish dialect that made Irvine Welsh’s early novel great so I bonded with this novel nicely.
Combining realism , satire and a dose of black humor Morvern Callar is a perfect read. It may not be up everyone’s alley but if you’re for that stuff then do check it out.