(The following contains some plot spoilers).
Recently, for my Scottish Fiction class, I had to read Alan Warner’s Morvern Callar. There are books in this world one reads and thinks “Did I actually just read this?” Morvern Callar was one of those books.
For the majority of the novel, I feel no sympathy for Morvern. Her boyfriend committed suicide but all she can do is steal his manuscript and money, chop him up into literal pieces, bury him, and move on without telling a single soul. What kind of person does that? Did she think no one would want to know he died? Would care?
Morvern goes out to a crazy party the night after discovering her dead boyfriend in the kitchen and has sex with two men and her best friend, Lanna. – Speaking of Lanna, why is she so carefree all the time? Lanna always lives her life as if there are no consequences. She is also obsessed with Morvern’s deceased boyfriend. While Lanna admitted to sleeping with him on the day before he killed himself, she only admits to that one instance. I think there was something deeper that went on between Lanna and Him.
Lanna is always up for anything. This, to me, shows a major character flaw. Lanna doesn’t really hold on to people, things, or moments in life. Each person she’s with is really just a fling, with the exception of Morvern. Morvern is her rock, her best friend, and the one person she will share literally everything with.
Through all the drugs, booze, and snogging, I think Morvern is coping with her boyfriend’s suicide. She may be using all of the things he had and taking claim of his work, but he did say he loved her. It was his own decision to kill himself and while that is gruesome and sad, I think it is clear that now one really missed Him. Not even Morvern.
While this book is an interesting commentary on development and a bleak society in Scotland, I don’t recommend it to anyone who is light of heart. Warner writes very graphic, though simply written, imagery.