There art no Rules

“Obviously as a writer you have to reflect on why your work is provoking such hostility, because all you want to do is write your stories as best you can. You’re forced to reflect on, why is my work so upsetting for people? The agenda behind it is clear. They don’t want to see these people in literature. These areas of human experience [I write about] should not appear in public; we don’t want to know. We know that people are in the street, that they have no money and are maybe begging, but we don’t want to see them in literature. They should be swept under the carpet.”

James Kelman said those words and reading his book, I think I understand where he is coming from.


There seem to be no rules in novel writing. At least not concrete ones. there might be some rules you might cite to criticise a book or another. however, at the end of the day it comes down a single thing – was the book likable?
Even if it is terribly written in terms of narration and grammar and stuff. Even if it is not technically as sound as the other works you have read, some books touch you deeply. Some technically furbished book in that place appear as mere wankery without any purpose.

James Kelman does not make the reader’s job easy. He writes in an accent that forces the new reader to do a double take. He seldom uses proper punctuation. He uses the stream of consciousness narration. He basically, writes from the eyes of a character and leaves it pristine. So, we get a lot of “Ye do yer crime, ye take yer time”.

The whole damn thing is, ye fucking cannay say that it is a book without literary merit. It mightnay be the cleanest book you have read, but, it ain’t fucking. it raises expectations and it somehow fulfills it. And though it is fucknay hard to read, it’s bloody worth it.

Sammie as a character is adorable, he grows , he changes, his views are different. He is a human being worth exploring.

However, the book itself is a hit or miss. it hit me well but, it might not have the same effect on all readers. This controversial booker winner it will either be a winner for you or a complete looser. So, proceed with caution.

  • Rating – 4.8/5




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