“Poor Things” is a novel by Alasdair Gray set in Victorian Scotland. It follows the story of Bella Baxter, a young woman with a troubled past who is resurrected by a surgeon named Archibald McCandless using the brain of her deceased husband, Godwin. As Bella navigates her new life, she becomes entangled in a web of manipulation, power struggles, and societal expectations. The novel explores themes of identity, gender dynamics, and the consequences of scientific experimentation, all while offering a satirical commentary on Victorian society.

Genre: Fiction

 

List of awards

Poor Things is now on my list of favorite books. Find some of the awards it has won.

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  • Poor Things is a novel written by Scottish author Alasdair Gray, first published in 1992. The premise of the novel revolves around a narrative that blends elements of science fiction, social satire, and metafiction. The story is set in late 19th-century Scotland and centers on the character of Bella Baxter, a young woman who is initially found dead in the Firth of Clyde but is brought back to life by the eccentric Dr. Archibald McCandless through a combination of surgery and galvanism (the use of electricity to stimulate muscle movement).

    Bella, now resurrected and renamed Bella Caledonia, is unaware of her past life and begins a new existence under the care of Dr. McCandless. As the story unfolds, Bella becomes entangled in a web of political intrigue, social commentary, and personal drama. The novel explores themes such as identity, power dynamics, and the nature of humanity, all against the backdrop of Victorian Scotland.

    One of the central themes of Poor Things is the role of science and technology in shaping human lives and society, as well as the ethical implications of scientific experimentation. Additionally, the novel incorporates elements of satire, humor, and literary pastiche, making it a rich and complex work that defies easy categorization.

  • The plot of “Poor Things” revolves around the central character, Bella Baxter, who is found dead in the Firth of Clyde in late 19th-century Scotland. However, she is brought back to life by the eccentric surgeon Dr. Archibald McCandless through a combination of surgery and galvanism. Renaming her Bella Caledonia, McCandless presents her to society as his ward.

    As Bella Caledonia navigates her new life, she becomes entangled in a complex web of relationships and events. She marries Godwin Baxter, a wealthy industrialist who is unaware of her past, and the couple travels to Egypt for their honeymoon. In Egypt, Bella encounters a former lover, Mosey, who reveals her true identity and the circumstances surrounding her “death.”

    Upon returning to Scotland, Bella finds herself torn between her past and present, her feelings for McCandless and Godwin, and the political and social currents of the time. The narrative delves into themes of identity, power dynamics, and the consequences of scientific experimentation.

    Throughout the novel, Alasdair Gray employs various narrative techniques, including metafictional elements and satirical commentary, to explore these themes and create a richly layered story. Ultimately, “Poor Things” is a tale of love, betrayal, and self-discovery set against the backdrop of Victorian Scotland.

  • Poor Things was shot on film and so it’s adapted into a so-called absurdist comedy movie. Poor Things is directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and produced by Emma Stone. I truly loved watching it at a cinema in Amsterdam. It’s also available to watch online, starting Feb. 27 to buy or rent digitally at Apple TV, Prime Video, and other video-on-demand platforms. It will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 12.

  • Poor Things is a novel written by Scottish author Alasdair Gray, first published in 1992. The story is set in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, primarily in Glasgow, Scotland. The narrative unfolds during the Victorian era, particularly around the 1880s and 1890s.


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