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Trade Paperback. Table of Contents Rave and Reviews. About The Book.
About The Author. Photograph by Sigrid Estrada. Ann Beattie.
Walks with Men
Product Details. Raves and Reviews. Resources and Downloads. Morvern Callar is about a girl of that name who works in a supermarket. One morning she wakes up and finds that overnight her live-in boyfriend has cut his throat in the scullery and now lies there dead, while the Christmas tree lights continue to wink on and off.
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His computer screen is still lit. She then examines her Christmas presents, laid out at the foot of the tree, and weeps a little, touched by the useless little presents and the sadness of the world generally. Concerning what might be thought her most urgent problem she does almost nothing, and mentions it to nobody. Later she contrives to store his body in the loft beside his model railway.
She continues to speak of Him as if He were alive. The capital she always gives his pronouns seems to suggest a certain respect for the victim, a hint of mourning. He remains a presence, now and later. It is never hinted that Morvern is behaving badly or even oddly.
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She proceeds to live more or less contentedly on His money, spending much of it on bizarre drinks Southern Comfort mixed with lager and Pernod , on holidays in Spain and, above all, on raves. Superannuated non-participants may have little idea of what can happen at a rave, but Warner makes one feel quite expert. I slowed down the flashing Christmas tree lights.
Some, but not all, of her speech habits persist in the later novels. Warner is full of tricks and surprises. It turns out that his heroine is, unexpectedly but usefully, a training novelist, already equipped with a gift of lyric observation:. You saw the deaf man concentrate, pouring the beer down the inside of the slightly tipped glass, then he took a long sip and you saw his poorly shaved neck jumping as he swallowed, swallowed.
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You focused on the constellations of minute bubbles slipping back down the inside of the cold glass that was wet with condensation. A strip of scorching sun was moving across my table, coming from a join in the awning above. Nothing very Scots or indeed very demotic about that.
It has polish.
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Morvern is weirdly detached; her powers of attention are considerable but are not accompanied by the more ordinary emotions. The setting is of course absolutely Scottish, but the language of the heroine seems to have slipped further southwards. I have to admit I was never quite sure what was happening in this book.
Morvern saves herself and a child when a ferry sinks, and after much walking fetches up at an odd hotel for honeymooners, run by a sinister man called Brotherhood who has something to do with a flying-boat that crashed. It seems a propeller has to be retrieved from the lake. A corpse lies in a coffin that also contains his mobile phone, which can he heard to ring. The end is apocalyptic, the hotel aflame, Brotherhood drowning, Morvern giving birth to a daughter whose arrival is greeted by visits from three substitute Wise Men.
The Wise Men suggest a sketchy religious subplot, and the book ends with a reminiscence of the Christmas tree at the start of the first book; Morvern sets off with the Aircrash Investigator and the child, as if enacting the flight into Egypt. Perhaps he has found a genuine saint. Returning us from allegory to the commonplace, she lights a Silk Cut. I suppose the novel, which also contains a DJ who wants to set up a specially vast rave, is itself a rave, with a coherence perceptible only under its influence. Certainly one feels as if ordinary perception is suspended.
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