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The Sopranos


Dream Weaver
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This is one of the most beautiful, touching, entertaining, poignant, laugh out loud funny novels I have ever read.

 

I wonder if it would be better known if it hadn't come out in the same year with the same title as the drama series about New Jersey mobsters.

 

The story couldn't be more different, for The Sopranos is actually about, well, sopranos. It's a day in the life of a group of girls in the school choir who travel from the West coast of Scotland to Edinburgh for a competition, and then back again. That's it for plot, except that doesn't tell even 1% of the story. You have to train your eyes to 'hear' the Scottish dialect, but once you get beyond that, the dialogue cracks and bristles along. You get to know and really care about these girls, which is made all the more poignant by the fact that you know that theirs futures are far from secure.

 

Has anyone else read any Alan Warner? Morvern Callar is excellent once you get used to the passivity of the narrator (which was something the film failed to overcome), but I couldn't get into either These Demented Lands or The Man Who Walks, which had none of the dialogue that made The Sopranos stand out, and it was hard to care about any of the characters.

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I read this a few years ago and really liked it. From the beginning the girls seemed rough as hell, but instantly believable (I come from the west of Scotland and felt I already knew some of them!). I found I got fond of them gradually as I got to know and understand them, their troubles and most of all their affection for each other. I found it very impressive, (especially, I thought, from a male author). And extremely funny :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's been a while since I read it (2000 I guess as The Sopranos HBO series was on C4). I loved it, especially the story about the girl going for an abortion and the girl meeting her real father.

 

Obviously, I need to re-read it, because I thought it was set in Wales. Still, great book. I haven't read any more by the author and that tells me a lot. Usually, I gobble up anything else I can find by a new author I just discovered.

 

Loved the coach scenes. Took me right back to my school days.

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  • 4 years later...

I have no idea what possessed me to read a book about a group of teenage Scottish girls on a day trip with their Catholic School to sing in a school choir contest, but I am grateful for whatever it was that inspired me to pick it up, as I thoroughly enjoyed it and quickly became wrapped up in the lives of the five or six girls the story focuses on.

 

Particularly memorable was the mammoth drinking session undertaken by Fionnula and Kay, the girls' various attempts to get into the local nightclub and the coach scenes mentioned by Adrian.

 

It did stretch the bounds of plausibility given that so much happened in the course of one day (not least the change in relationship between Fionnula and Kay), but no matter as this was a fantastic bit of character driven writing based on a foundation of snappy dialogue reminiscent of Roddy Doyle's 'Barrytown' stories.

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  • 1 year later...
I haven't read any more by the author and that tells me a lot. Usually, I gobble up anything else I can find by a new author I just discovered.

 

this might be something about Warner's readership :(. I read another book of his "the worms will carry me to heaven" probably at the end of 2008 (finished it new years eve i recall or maybe 30th december) and despite enjoying it i've not read anything by him since until i got the follow up to "the sopranos" in "the stars in the bright sky" (currently reading)

 

that's actually why i looked for a thread about warner so i could get a feel if it's neccessary to have read "the sopranos" first. i don't think so. currently 60 pages in and i don't feel that ive missed anything

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I devoured Warner's first three novels years ago and this and "Morvern Callar" stand out as definitely worth the effort, sort of sequel to the latter "These Demented Lands" less so.

 

I've added his subsequent novels to mount TBR where they have languished. Maybe his presence on last year's Booker longlist will help rekindle my and others' interest in him.

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  • 5 years later...

66 years after reading the sequel, the stars in the bright sky, I finally read the predecessor in this novel (indeed earlier this year, I reread the sequel, if I had thought about it better, i would have got this book before rereading the sequel and read this, then reread the sequel).

 

One of the things about the order of the books not being read in chronological order  was that I didn't read this fresh. I had a predetermined idea of the characters in it. Kay and Finn were my favourite characters going in and this didn't change with this one. My favourite scene was the the pub scene with Kay and Finn though there are a lot of great scenes in the novel

 

A question in my mind was

 

they came second last in the competition. I wonder what last got up to ;)

 

 

this was a really enjoyable read, Warner has an excellent ear for conversation and his use of phonetical spelling works very well in capturing the characters in their reality. A superb novel from an author that in the last couple of years has became one of my favourites.

 

★★★★★

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