How Late It Was, How Late

How Late It Was, How Late

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by James Kelman

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Winner of the Booker Prize: "A work of marvelous vibrance and richness of character."—New York Times Book ReviewSee more details below


Winner of the Booker Prize: "A work of marvelous vibrance and richness of character."—New York Times Book Review

Editorial Reviews

Richard Bausch
"How Late It Was, How Late" is a book constructed out of the vernacular speech of a time and place, exactly as, once, Chaucer's tales were. And because it is a good book it has all the authority of the so-called King's English. It is a work of marvelous vibrance and richness of character. . . . Mr. Kelman's Glasgow is vivid and powerfully alive, and his prose is, too. . . . "How Late It Was, How Late" deserves every accolade it gets. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kelman is a Scottish novelist and essayist scarcely known in the U.S., though the present book caused a stir in Britain when it won the prestigious Booker Prize (apparently as a compromise choice) and was roundly abused by one of the judges as ``inaccessible.'' It isnay that bad. Once past that artily inappropriate title, it's the harsh, gritty story of Samuels, a Glaswegian drifter and petty crook who has been in and out of jail. As the book opens, he awakens on a Sunday morning in an alley after a two-day binge of which he has little memory. He gets in a scrap with the police, and when he next comes to, he's in jail-and has lost his eyesight. The book is an overextended stream-of-consciousness in which Sammy tries to come to terms with his blindness, get some sort of medical assistance, find out where his girlfriend disappeared to and fend off the police, who believe he is close to a buddy they suspect of political terrorism. Most of Sammy's thoughts, numbingly obscene and repetitious as they are, seem authentic (though there are a few unlikely choices of words for one so determinedly unliterary). He has a combination of dour courage and suspicion that rings true, and some of the dialogue in scenes with various state authorities, cops and later his teenage son, are finely wrought, tense and darkly funny. But it seems unlikely many American readers would want to struggle with the alien idiom for these rather meager rewards. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
"A work of marvelous vibrance and richness of character...It convinces, it charms, it entertains, it informs and it has life." — New York Times Book Review

"Witty, irreverent and thoroughly engrossing...Kelman is a major talent, and this is a bold, highly accomplished novel." — San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle

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Product Details

Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

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