This collection of 35 short stories--most of them being published in this country for the first time--has been selected and arranged by James Kelman himself from over two decades of his work. The stories of Busted Scotch are set in the working-class milieu of Scotland and England--the pubs, betting shops, tenements, bedrooms, snooker parlors, and decaying industrial workplaces. They range widely in length from a few paragraphs to twenty-plus pages, in style from the deceptively offhand to the highly farcical, and in subject matter from the casual everyday tragedies to the heartbreaking vicissitudes of romance and language.
A raw, wry vision of human survival in a bureaucratic world, How Late It Was, How Late opens one Sunday morning in Glasgow, Scotland, as Sammy, an ex-convict with a penchant for shoplifting, awakens in a lane and tries to remember the two-day drinking binge that landed him there. Then, things only get worse. Sammy gets in a fight with some soldiers, lands in jail, and discovers that he is completely blind. His girlfriend disappears, the police probe him endlessly, and his stab at Disability Compensation embroils him in the Kafkaesque red tape of the welfare system.<P><P> A masterpiece of black humor, subtle political parody, and Scottish lower-class vernacular.<P> Man Booker Prize winner
Giving voice to the dispossessed and crafting stories of lives held in the balance, James Kelman reaches us all. Penetrating deeply into the hearts, minds, and desperation of characters who find themselves in everyday situations--in the hospital, at a bus stop, in a living room with the endless roar of the vacuum cleaner and a distant wife--Kelman follows their streams of consciousness and brings their worries to life. With honesty and dark humor, he confronts the issues of language, class, politics, gender, and age--identity in all its forms.
I had cousins at sea. One was in the Cadets. I was wanting to join. My maw did not want me to but my da said I could if I wanted, it was a good life and ye saved yer money, except if ye were daft and done silly things. He said it to me. I would just have to grow up first. James Kelman's triumph in Kieron Smith, boy is to bring us completely inside the head of a child and remind us what strange and beautiful things happen in there. Here is the story of a boyhood in a large industrial city during a time of great social change. Kieron grows from age five to early adolescence amid the general trauma of everyday life--the death of a beloved grandparent, the move to a new home. A whole world is brilliantly realized: sectarian football matches; ferryboats on the river; the unfairness of being a younger brother; climbing drainpipes, trees, and roofs; dogs, cats, sex, and ghosts. This is a powerful, often hilarious, startlingly direct evocation of childhood.
James Kelman, the Man Booker Prize-winning author of How Late It Was, How Late, tells the story of Helen--a sister, a mother, a daughter--a very ordinary young woman. Her boyfriend said she was quirky but she is much more than that. Trust, love, relationships; parents, children, lovers; death, wealth, home: these are the ordinary parts of the everyday that become extraordinary when you think of them as Helen does, each waking hour. Mo Said She Was Quirky begins on Helen's way home from work, with the strangest of moments when a skinny, down-at-heel man crosses the road in front of her and appears to be her lost brother. What follows is an inspired and absorbing story of twenty-four hours in the life of a young woman.
In the critically acclaimed You Have to Be Careful in the Land of the Free, James Kelman has created an unforgettable character and a darkly comic portrait of a post-9/11 America. Jeremiah Brown, a Scottish immigrant in his early thirties, has lived in the United States for twelve years. He has moved as many times, from the East Coast to the West Coast and back again, all in the hope his luck would change. To add to his restlessness and indecision, he now has a nonrefundable ticket to Glasgow--by way of Seattle, Canada, Iceland, and England--to visit his mother. On his last night in the States, Jeremiah finds himself in a town south of Rapid City, moving from bar to bar, attracting and repelling strangers, losing count of the beers he has drunk. All the while he is haunted by memories and by an acute sense of foreboding.
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