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Book Title: Greyhound for Breakfast|
The author of the book: James Kelman
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Date of issue: August 10th 2012
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 18.33 MB
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Reader ratings: 4.2
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You can see how James Kelman can throw people. He’s not the first writer to spin tales of the down-and-out. These are gritty stories full of the hard-nosed and the hard-headed. But they have a deep internal quality to them. Kelman traps the reader inside the skulls of his characters. So you're stuck with their delusions and rambling inner monologues and paranoias and addictions and all the other mental issues. And often those inner thoughts are not the most pleasant ones. So there are no heroes, but a hell of a lot of humans. That is what makes Kelman's stories so compelling. Kelman's characters are the people that always wind up short and holding a grudge against the world (sometimes rightly, sometimes not). You do not root for all of them, but you understand their pain and despair. Often there isn’t a resolution. To some it may feel like the stories end abruptly or don’t reach their logical conclusion. That is Kelman’s point. Life just goes on, usually without a solution or resolution. And like a spending a month in Scotland, there’s not much sunlight. But as a Scotsman would, Kelman laces the stories with a dark sense of humor, as well as heaps of Glaswegian dialect, to help to cut the pain. Some, like “In With the Doctor” can be downright hilarious. Others blend that dark humor with a stark and bleak reality. Take Ronnie, the protagonist of “Greyhound for Breakfast,” who has no business purchasing a racing greyhound. His buddies at the local pub know it better than him and pull no punches when taking the piss. As the story winds it way, along with the Ronnie who is too scared to return home and face the Mrs. with his unwanted visitor, the question reveals itself: which one of these creatures is in a sadder predicament?
The collection is a mix of short stories and even shorter sketches. While it can be a little uneven, the good far outshines the pieces that fall flat. The sketches come across as inner outbursts, including the superb "This man for fuck sake" or "Samaritans.” Consider them aired grievances and observations. The longer pieces follow their protagonists as the drift through hard days, confronted by a society that has either left them behind or won’t give them a leg up. The opener “Old Francis” and “Band of Hope” are both excellent examples of the author’s great craft. And he even throws in a few surprises in the (slightly) shorter tales like “Benson’s Visitor,” “End of a Beginning,” and “A Hunter,” where he delves into great moments of absurdity. Overall, you’ll be knocked back by the really good stories and there’s no arguing with the authority of Kelman’s voice. Few writers nail that gritty tone and claustrophobia of the downtrodden better than him.
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Read information about the authorKelman says:
My own background is as normal or abnormal as anyone else's. Born and bred in Govan and Drumchapel, inner city tenement to the housing scheme homeland on the outer reaches of the city. Four brothers, my mother a full time parent, my father in the picture framemaking and gilding trade, trying to operate a one man business and I left school at 15 etc. etc. (...) For one reason or another, by the age of 21/22 I decided to write stories. The stories I wanted to write would derive from my own background, my own socio-cultural experience. I wanted to write as one of my own people, I wanted to write and remain a member of my own community.
During the 1970s he published a first collection of short stories. He became involved in Philip Hobsbaum's creative writing group in Glasgow along with Tom Leonard, Alasdair Gray and Liz Lochhead, and his short stories began to appear in magazines. These stories introduced a distinctive style, expressing first person internal monologues in a pared-down prose utilising Glaswegian speech patterns, though avoiding for the most part the quasi-phonetic rendition of Tom Leonard. Kelman's developing style has been influential on the succeeding generation of Scottish novelists, including Irvine Welsh, Alan Warner and Janice Galloway. In 1998, Kelman received the Stakis Prize for "Scottish Writer of the Year" for his collection of short stories 'The Good Times.'
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