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Not Not While the Giro
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Not Not While the Giro

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  154 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Not Not While the Giro is James Kelman's first major collection of short stories—originally published by Polygon in 1983. The reader follows the lives of young men, social misfits, whose lives are spent waiting—waiting for their next giro or menial job—in the pub, the dole office, the snooker table and the greyhound track. This collection, written with irony and great tend ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 1st 2007 by Birlinn Ltd (first published 1983)
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James Kelman, the last class-conscious fiction writer? Dialect and unreliable narrators are contentious devices in writing fiction, but Kelman puts them to the best purposes. This book takes me back to my downbeat, rather dreadful lifestyle in Belfast in 1998-9, with the constant trips to pubs and off-licenses, the miserable space heaters, and the home phones you had to put coins in. I dig that gloomy feeling of postcolonial British Isles sarcasm, hatred, wretchedness, and funk.
This collection of stories focuses on the working class communities of Glasgow in Scotland. There are people who are socially very much on the periphery of life.

The stories are mainly about young men who are rootless, directionless and lost and they are all in some way or other waiting for something - usually for a pint in a pub, or their turn at a snooker table or for their "dole money" in the post.

I chose this book as one of ten books that represent my country, Scotland, because above all it
Kelman's varied short stories I've always loved, but there are a couple in this that I go back to again and again
I'm not, naturally, a short story reader. Prefer to immerse myself in a novel I can see the length of. Also I don't know how best to read them, because to just go one after the other in a collection seems bad manners somehow. So this has been beside my bed since February, me attempting to fit one or two in inbetween novels.
And not having picked it up for some months, with only the last one to read, I have been totally transfixed by the final, title tale. If I didn't have Angela Carter's short s
I was really torn between giving this 2 or 3 stars: whilst I enjoyed the book in places, it also left me frustrated in others.

Anyone who dislikes reading in dialects needs to avoid this like the plague, because it's full of broad Scottish dialogue.

The dialogue is one of the things that worked really well for me: it's engaging, lively and powerfully effective. The characters jump off the page at you.

So what's my beef with the book? Well, it's full of engaging characters, but the stories often go
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Kelman 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 anothe
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