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James Kelman Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

A Chancer (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
Greyhound for Breakfast (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Disaffection (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
How Late It Was, How Late (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Good Times (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Translated Accounts (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
You Have to be Careful in the Land of the Free (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Kieron Smith, Boy (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mo Said She Was Quirky (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dirt Road (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
God's Teeth and Other Phenomena (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Some Recent Attacks (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
And the Judges Said... (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Why Ideas Matter (With: Noam Chomsky) (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
The State Is Your Enemy (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
The State is the Enemy (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
All We Have Is the Story (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

An Old Pub Near the Angel (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
Not, Not While the Giro (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Bus Conductor Hines (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Burn (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hardie and Baird & Other Plays (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Essays and Stories (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Seven Stories (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Selected Stories (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
If it is Your Life (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Lean Third (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
That Was a Shiver (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Keep Moving and No Questions (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Colors of a New Day(1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ahead of its Time(1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Best British Short Stories 2017(2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

James Kelman is an award-winning literary fiction author from Glasgow that is best known for his short stories and controversial novels.

The author was born in Glasgow in 1946 and is known for his distaste for formal education. Kelman never had any interest in formal education for much of his life as he quit school at fifteen and only went back to formal education when he was already a writer.
As a young writer in his twenties, he went to university as a student of philosophy and literature but ultimately never finished his degree.

He asserted that he never liked the way literature was taught at university. Because of his experiences, he would go on to become a strong proponent of self-education.
Kelman believes that it was the books he used to read on his own as a youth that he got much of his inspiration for his novels.

Some of the authors he used to read include the likes of Louie L’amour the writer of Westerns and Harold Robbins the commercial novelist in addition to literary authors such as Jack Kerouac.
Due to his interest in painting, he also read biographies of great artists when he was in his teens.

After leaving school aged 15, James Kelman was apprenticed as a compositor and then followed periods of unemployment.

Despite seemingly having no focus, he remained a keen reader but it was not until his late twenties during the 1970s that he began acknowledging that he had some creative ability.
He would then enroll in a writing course alongside Tom Leonard, Liz Lochhead, and Alasdair Gray under the tutelage of Philip Hobsbaum then one of the most influential writers.

James made his debut with the publishing of “An Old Pub Near the Angel” in 1973. But it was not until a decade later in 1983 that he really came into his own with the publishing of “Not, Not While the Giro.”
He published his first novel “The Bus Conductor Hines” in 1984 and established his name for his commitment to artistic flair in showing the reality of life in Britain under Margaret Thatcher.

It was during this time that he began getting a lot of recognition and won several awards. He won the James Tait Black Award and was also nominated for the Booker Prize for his novel “A Disaffection,” which he published in 1989.
Over the years, Kelman has come to be described as a realist, existential, gritty postmodernist author compared to the likes of Beckett, Joyce, and Kafka.

In 1994, James Kelman became a mainstream author as he achieved literary prominence with his work that told the story of a man who lives in a world of unremitting danger and tension in “How Late it Was, How Late.”
While it was a controversial work, it shocked everyone when it got a nomination and even won the most anglocentric and prestigious Booker Prize.

Thereafter, Kelman took up several jobs as he taught creative writing while taking his fiction in another direction.

In his work, Kelman has come to be known as an author committed to showcasing the struggles of individuals dealing with systems of oppression.
Nonetheless, he has come to be known as one of the greatest contemporary authors who has a total disregard for convention and makes calculated subversions of the English language just like the likes of Joyce and Kafka.

James Kelman’s novel “Kieron Smith, Boy” is the account of the narrator who tells of his life as a preteen resident in Glasgow.

He came from a family that to some extent was deprived with a mother who dreamed of better things for her sons which made her be labeled a snob.

His father was a narrow-minded man while his eldest brother was increasingly becoming distant as he studied hard to that he could get out of poverty.

Kieran has his own ways of coping as he has come up with his own standards of wrong and right that might not necessarily conform with accepted societal standards.
He usually judges people on the basis of whether they are loyal to their friends and whether they are good fighters.

Kieron comes across as a naive and intelligent young boy who often has some endearing and quaint expressions that may sometimes be irritating.

He often repeats himself and says a lot but in the end, he does not amount to much except for his prowess, his fighting abilities, and his abilities as a climber.
It is a narrative with no real end or beginning as it focuses on covering the life of the boy but still manages to remain very interesting throughout.

James Kelman’s “You Have to be Careful in the Land of the Free” is a novel that tells the story of a man of extremes known as Jeremiah Brown.

As such, when he decides to go for a quick drink in the evening before he is due to go back to Scotland after 12 years in the US, anything could happen.
He wanted to have just one drink so that he could sleep better. However, there is something about the bar and the town that reminds him of his former girlfriend.
It is not long before the memories are flooding back and now the flight back home to Scotland seem to be so ill-timed.

It is a witty and funny book with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments that has long recursion to life experiences that have happened in the life of the lead character in the recent past.
The author makes use of warped phraseologies and Skarrisch to come up with an authentic even if fictional representation of the voice of the working class.

Kelman is adept at capturing the fleeting content and qualities of consciousness, and the lightning-quick interplay between language, fantasies, and feelings, which is perhaps why he has been compared to James Joyce.

James Kelman’s novel “Mo Said She Was Quirky” is a work that takes its readers into the mind of the lead character Helen over 24 hours.

The lead works at a West End casino in London as a croupier after she was divorced from the father of her six-year-old daughter Sophie. She makes her home in south London in a tiny flat she shares with Mo her boyfriend and her kid.
She had been going home after she was done with her shift when she is startled by two homeless men that had been walking in front of them.

One of the men seems like her long-estranged brother who has walked out of their home in Glasgow following a fight with their father.

The author evokes the life of drudgery in the life of a youthful woman who can never be present enough or rested enough to effectively parent her daughter.

It is so noisy in Helen’s head as she has to deal with how she was abandoned by her eldest brother, and unloved by her mother, all of which makes it hard for her to effectively parent Sophie in all her childish actions and innocence.

Book Series In Order » Authors » James Kelman

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