Saturday, August 21, 2004

Kelman

James Kelman, another Booker winner, has a very funny Scottish-American novel called You've Got to be Careful in the Land of the Free. His titles have always been wonderful. The one that won the Booker was called How Late it Was, How Late. One of my favorite titles. Dark and brooding and so Scottish it was nearly impossible to read. He's been able to tone down his dialogue or maybe I've just seen Trainspotting three times and his new one is easy enough to understand. Jeremiah Brown is a Scot who's been living in the upper Midwest for more than a decade and decides to go back to Scotland to see his Mum. He stops for a drink the night before he takes off and immediately the reader knows that he's not going to make it back to Scotland.
American blue-collar paranoia has never been so perfectly depicted.

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