Then literature would have you believe that it is the bleakest most soul destroying pit of blackened abject despair The cities are populated with grey skinned downtrodden gurners whose only options are alcoholism drugs or suicide
The rivers Clyde Forth and Tay are not filled with water nay they are filled with the rivers Clyde Forth and Tay are not filled with water nay they are filled with the tears of Rangers Fans beaten housewives victims of police violence and neglected children Did Hadrian build his wall in 122 AD as a physical barrier to stem the tidal wave of depression moving down like some sort of unstoppable weather front from the north Possibly However I as an actual bonafide Scottish am here to tell you that this is not the case We can be a cheery bunch honestHow Late it Was How Late is doesn t xactly paint a cheerful picture of life in working class Glasgow and the bleakness is further nhanced by the fact that we only come to know protagonist Sammy via his stream of consciousness outpourings which are variously angry confused and stoic Add into the mix the fact that this book is written in working class Scottish dialect will make it seem grimmer to some and possibly completely incomprehensible to others Sammy is not having a good week In fact Sammy has the very good makings of a country and western ballad on his hands His girlfriend has left him the polis have beaten him up causing possible permanent blindness he s got no giro and his friends think he is a grass Presumably if he had a dog then that would have died as well The book spans just over a week in the life of Sammy as he struggles to adjust to his loss of sight although he is surprisingly sanguine about it which was probably key in getting people to mpathise with his plight I came to this with no preconceptions seriously I d never heard of it before but I had a vague inkling it was on the 1001 books to read before you die list so it was nice to pick it up and after the brief adjustment to grammar and vocab pause lite Cnt heavy become totally ngrossed Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh was published one year before Kelman s Booker Prize winning ffort and so presumably Welsh deserves a little credit for paving the way and preparing people for the full frontal attack of an ntire book written in Scottish dialect Check out my review of Morvern Callar if you wish to learn yerself Scotch before hand Waiting rooms Ye go into this room where ye wait Hoping s the same One of these days the cunts ll build ntire fucking buildings just for that Official hoping rooms where ye just go in and hope for whatever the fuck ye feel like hoping for One on very corner Course they had them already boozers Ye go in to hope and they sell ye a drink to help pass the time Ye see these cunts sitting there What re they there for They re hoping They re hoping for something The telly s rotten So they go out hoping for something better I m Just Away Out For A Pint Hen Be Back In away out for a pint hen be back in hour You hoping the football ll come on soon Aye I hope ye ll no be too long I ll no be no unless I meet some cunt I hope I don t People try to stop ll no be no unless I meet some cunt I hope I don t People try to stop stop ye doing things They dont allow ye to live But ye ve got to live If ye cannay live ye re as well dead What lse can ye do It would be good if somebody telt ye What way ye were supposed to live They dont fucking tell ye that but they ve got nay answers there man no to that yin that fucking uestion know what I m saying it s just big silences that s what ye fucking get big silences How no to live That s all they tell ye Fuck them all It s you They dont change but. Ll badly beaten and he slowly discovers completely blind And things get worse his girlfriend disappears the police uestion him for a crime they won't name and his stab at disability compensation mbroils him in the. ,
This was one of the last handful of Booker winners that I had not read I must admit to having been deterred by its reputation as a difficult read and as it turned out such concerns were groundlessYes the book a difficult read and as it turned out such concerns were groundlessYes the book mostly written in Glaswegian dialect but it is never at all hard to follow the antihero Sammy may be his own worst nemy but the tale of what happens when he wakes up blinded in a police cell is gripping and ultimately life affirming view spoiler ven if very little is resolved hide spoiler A difficult read not because the narration is told via Stream Of Consciousness Of A 38 Year Old Drunkard And consciousness of a 38 year old drunkard and convict because the language is that of a working class Scottish dialect that I am not familiar with I have no problem with difficult reads as I have read and liked the works of James Joyce and Samuel Beckett but they are written beautifully unlike this book of Kelman whose supposedly humor totally missed my funny bonesThe one that saved this book from getting 1 star rating for me is its Kafkaesue mood all throughout My take is that Kelman tried to show to the reader the true life of what is going on in the lives of the working class Scottish men For xample when Sammy this book s main protagonist is filing for disability because he thinks that he has turned blind and when he truthfully says the reason that he was arrested and beaten by the police he was denied of the disability When xamined by the physician he was also refused to be considered as blind I mean we the working class anywhere in the world are getting unfair treatment be it in the office in government offices like when we deal with social security salary tax and ven with medical insuranceSammy s insensitivity and directionless life is not something that is foreign to me too I had a cousin before whose child had to stay in my parent s house because he spends all his money on alcohol because he felt that his marriage was on the brink of falling apart So to forget about his pain he turned to drinking It was no different from Sammy whose wife left him and his kid was distant from him I just don t know why men like them fall for alcohol instead of fixing what is broken because obviously as in the case of Sammy and God's Pocket even that of my cousin alcohol does not solve anything When they wake up the problem is still thereI have not read any of the novels that Kelman beat up in 1994 in the Booker race I have The Folding Star tbr though so I guess I need to pick that up soon I have read 1992 s winner The English Patient 4 stars and I thought that Ondaatje s a lot better than this Iven prefer Kelman s 1992 novel my first by him another 1001 book Kieron Smith Boy 3 stars While I see some genius in this book I did not particularly ЯED enjoy reading it as it felt like a homework assignmentThe stream of consciousness writing style with a prodigious number of f words seemed a combination of the Sound and the Fury and Trainspotting The story is set in Glasgow and is a running commentary on a few days in the life of a young man Sammy who is a severe alcoholic and who is homeless some of the time and misses his girlfriend and tries to get her back to somextent He usually speaks about himself in the third person and he is also really good at getting his ass kicked so is hobbled by injuries I don t know if the protagonist is considered an anti hero but his life is pathetic so as a reader you certainly feel some mpathy as his life arcs toward an inevitable demiseThis book is very If you have never been to Scotland. One Sunday morning in Glasgow shoplifting x 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 ce. You have to That s the fucking crack Very few books can make a plateau styled plot like this one nticing What occurs when vision is impaired from page one OF HOW LATE IT WAS HOW How Late it Was How Well the other senses are heightened of course and this becomes an intrepid trek for the reader himself as he mirrors xactly the plight of the newly blinded outrageously ambivalent protagonist who suffers under the most nefarious of circumstances The Moreno experience is at once disorientating ultimately fierce Nauseatingven With great prose that s hard to forget or imitate I gather it would Be A Bitch To a bitch to this into another language for it would lose all its magic its uniue vernacular of the 90 s Scottish lower classes Pearl Ruled p53It s my mood I m sure it s my mood The dialect is actually really involving as a means to convey the character s Monsieur Pain emotional reality The structure of the narrative is beautifully used The 1994 Booker was well awarded indeedBut Sammy PoVman is working my nerve I cannay see is the precise moment where I justI can tI can not deal with this shithead one second I want tonter the book
*S Reality With A Truncheon *reality with a truncheon a hangover and just wail on this nasty ignorant testosterone poisoned public menace Maybe one daywho am I kidding I will not live long nough to voluntarily return to the company of this ghastly low class low brow shit How Late it Was How Late is about a Glaswegian man who having gone out and got drunk and nded up getting a beating from the police wakes up in a police cell to discover that he s gone blind It s written What If entirely in the Scots dialect and in a stream of consciousness style with no breaks for different chapters It s mostly first person as told by the unfortunate Glaswegian Sammy but Sammy gets confused and sometimes switches to third person It could not be praised for its readabilityIt sasy to see why this is the most controversial winner of The Booker Prize The choice of character and the swearing used as punctuation as is common in Glasgow would not appeal to the typical literary snob who would rather be reading lengthy fan fiction about Thomas Cromwell to help them to validate their Oxbridge degree Disclaimer I ve never read Wolf Hall I m sure it s lovely However it s one I started out with 4 starsI loved the language and the stream of consciousness style of writing it really intrigued me and I The Exhaustion Breakthrough enjoyed reading the story I was whizzing through it so I guess I have to give Kelman credit for thatI couldn t wait to find out what actually happened on the Saturday night what happened to Helen I swore he must have killed her in a violentpisode and he had become so traumatized he had mentally broken downor something to that affect I was desperate to know what illegal schemes Sammy was really hooked up into whether he would regain his The Exhaustion Breakthrough: Unmask the Hidden Reasons You're Tired and Beat Fatigue for Good eyesight whether the police would pick him up again how Charlie was involved maybe Sammy would get bumped offmy mind frantically creating differentndings and I couldn t wait to discover itbut the pages kept turning Sammy was stumbling back and forth to the shops wandering around his apartment paranoid about his future drinking cups of tea smoking I got down to 50 pages we meet his sonand I thought brilliant his boy is going coming into the storyhow is this going to unfold20 pageshe goes to the pub10 pagesIm waiting for the story to unfold and it finishesI almost threw the fucking book across the room The suspense was great now all James Kelman needs to do is actually finish the book Fucking Bampo. Kafkaesue 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 humo.