Next month’s novel: Most of the novels dealt with in Indelible Ink have been debuts, but next month’s title is the most recent James Kelman novel Kieron Smith, boy and I’ve chosen it because I think it may just be his best. After moving out of Glasgow for his previous two novels Translated Accounts and You Have to Be Careful in the Land of the Free, Kelman returns not only to his home town but to his own childhood. Kieron Smith, boy views Glasgow life through the eyes of young Kieron, and Kelman uses this childlike perspective to comment on familiar topics such as class, education and religion with a freshness that many readers would have doubted possible. Comparisons have been made with Roddy Doyle’s Paddy Clarke, Ha, Ha, Ha but Kelman’s is the superior novel.
Kelman is one of those writers that splits the critics into a love/hate divide. He is seen as a ‘difficult’ writer, but, on the whole, I find that an unjust summation. However, his reputation precedes him and I think it puts a lot of people off reading him. What he does do is to capture the way people speak, and think, better than almost any Scottish writer around, and he understands the political importance of language, how we use it and how it is used by others to repress.
Next 5 books:
- James Kelman Kieron Smith, boy (Dec)
- Suhayl Saadi Psychoraag (Jan)
- Ron Butlin The Sound of My Voice (Feb)
- Duncan Mclean Bunker Man (Mar)
- Kevin MacNeil The Stornoway Way (Apr)
I have a copy of February’s novel The Sound of My Voice to give away. I think the easiest way of choosing who to give it to would be to use my Facebook follower indicator as a sort of randomiser. If you want to be included in this draw then head on over to Scots Whay Hae’s and click ‘Like’ (if you haven’t already). On the 1st of December at 5pm (Glasgow time) I’ll click refresh on the page and the first person that appears in the top left of my followers will win the book.