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James Kelman was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1989 with A Disaffection, which also won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. He went on to win the Booker Prize five years later with How Late it Was, How Late, before being shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2009 and 2011.
'The truth is he didn't care how long he was going away. Forever would have suited him. It didn't matter it was America.' Murdo, a teenager obsessed with music, wishes for a life beyond the constraints of his Scottish island home and dreams of becoming his own man. Tom, battered by loss, stumbles backwards towards the future, terrified of losing his dignity, his control, his son and the last of his family life. Both are in search of something new as they set out on an expedition into the American South. On the road we discover whether the hopes of youth can conquer the fears of age.
WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE 'A passionate, scintillating, brilliant song of a book' Guardian Sammy's had a bad week. Most of it's just a blank space in his mind, and the bits that he can remember, he'd rather not. His wallet's gone, along with his new shoes, he's been arrested then beaten up by the police and thrown out on the street - and he's just gone blind. He remembers a row with his girlfriend, but she seems to have disappeared; and he might have been trying to fix a bit of business up with an old mate, he's not too sure. Things aren't looking too good for Sammy and his problems have hardly begun.
SHORTLISTED FOR SALTIRE FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR, 2017 LONGLISTED FOR THE EDGE HILL PRIZE, 2018 A local tries to sell his sister to a trucker as he passes through town; a couple put their children to bed and hear a loud scratching at the wall; a man looks into a mirror and reflects on becoming more like his father. Sparky, touching and brilliantly daring, these stories uncover human feeling in the ordinary and the everyday, and are a reminder of Kelman's exceptional talent.
Shortlisted for Saltire Fiction Book of the Year 2016 'A celebration of what it is to be human' Spectator Murdo, a teenager obsessed with music, dreams of a life beyond home. His recently widowed dad, Tom, stumbles towards the future, terrified of losing what remains of his family. Both are in search of something as they set out from rural Scotland on a journey to the American South.
SHORTLISTED FOR SALTIRE FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR, 2017 LONGLISTED FOR THE EDGE HILL PRIZE, 2018 A trucker passes through a town he used to know and a local tries to sell him his sister; a couple put their children to bed and hear a loud scratching at the wall; a Principal and his associate examine the dead body before them; a man looks into a mirror and reflects on becoming more like his father. Sparky, touching and brilliantly daring, these stories uncover human feeling in the ordinary and the everyday, and are a reminder of Kelman's exceptional talent.
Giving voice to the dispossessed and crafting stories of lives on the edge, lives almost lost, lives held in the balance, James Kelman writes about the things that touch us all. With honesty, toughness and humour, he confronts the issues of language, class, politics, gender and age - identity in all its forms - with a sympathetic pen and a sharp and observant eye. No other British writer today penetrates so deeply into the hearts, minds and desperation of his characters, and this collection is as uncompromising, and as beautiful, as anything he has ever written.
One Sunday morning in Glasgow, shoplifting ex-con Sammy awakens in an alley, wearing another man's shoes and trying to remember his two-day drinking binge. He gets in a scrap with some soldiers and revives in a jail cell, badly beaten and, he slowly discovers, completely blind. And things get worse: his girlfriend disappears, the police question him for a crime they won't name, and his stab at disability compensation embroils him in the Kafkaesque red tape of the welfare bureaucracy. Told in the utterly uncensored language of the Scottish working class, this is a dark and subtly political parable of struggle and survival, rich with irony and black humor.
Jeremiah Brown is a man of extremes. So when he nips out for a quick drink on the eve of returning to his native Scotland after twelve years in America, anything could happen. Anything at all. Just one quick drink to help him sleep but there's something about this town and this bar that reminds him of his ex. Soon the memories are flooding in and as the night goes on and the decision to stop smoking looks increasingly ill-timed for a card-carrying alien of questionable politics, Jeremiah getting on that flight tomorrow starts to seem far from certain. Is there any such thing as a certainty? Not tonight. Tonight the only thing certain is that you have to be very careful in the land of the free.
Patrick Doyle is a twenty-nine-year-old teacher in an ordinary comprehensive school. Isolated, frustrated and increasingly bitter at the system he is employed to maintain, he begins his rebellion, fuelled by drink and his passionate, unrequited love for a fellow teacher.
A first collection of plays by James Kelman, whose novel A Disaffection won the 1989 James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The plays provide evidence of Kelman's linguistic craftsmanship, ironic humour and ear for dialogue.
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