Alan Warner – Their Lips Talk of Mischief

IN the unloved climate of Thatcher’s London, youthful Douglas Cunningham, an aspiring writer meets his literary soul-mate in Llewellyn Smith, who lives in an Acton tower block with his baby daughter and beautiful wife Aoife.

Moving in with them, the trio and baby eke out an existence on dole payments, pints, porridge and pasta, Llewellyn and Cunningham have a pub on the corner, a parental allowance, an extensive collection of Penguin Modern Classics and poorly paid employment writing captions for the eagerly awaited 1985 Cat Calendar.

Keen to arrive on the London scene lovably feckless literary schemers rarely put pen to paper. Their ambitions soon evaporate when they encounter stark reality and the downside of alcohol excess. Ultimately Douglas is forced to choose between this strange ménage à trois and a return to a safer life back home in Scotland.

Since Alan Warner burst on to the scene nearly 20 years ago with Morvern Caller he’s proved himself incapable of writing dull books, Their Lips Talk of Mischief is both funny and poignant and as entertaining as anything he’s ever written.  Although containing recognisable themes of Withnail and I, his latest novel is yet another great addition to an exemplary body of work.

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