I'm a fan of Alasdair Gray (he of Lanark and the brilliant short story 'Five Letters from an Eastern Empire', among others), but one of his recent statements has me puzzled. In a review for the excellent Scottish writer Agnes Owens' The Complete Novellas, he says that "prospective readers should not be repelled by the semi-pornographic cover design." I'd seen the cover when I first read that, and couldn't see what he was on about, but assumed that perhaps there was something nastier on the spine or back. But now that I've got my copy, I still don't know what he is banging on about.
A girl with an iPod and a young boy without a shirt surely don't come anywhere near being semi-pornographic, even under the most elastic definition of the term.
The photo is a detail from 'Bybysitter' by Julie Blackmon, one of her 'Domestic Vacations' series. While these aren't exactly my cup of tea, I do like the way she's created images of suburban family life that look like the sort of pseudo-lifelike reconstructions you might find in some far-future museum of anthropology.