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Greyhound for Breakfast

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  149 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
A brilliant collection of stories set in the tenements and cheap casinos of Glasgow, Manchester and London.
Paperback, 230 pages
Published 2001 by Picador (first published January 1st 1988)
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Nov 23, 2014 Ken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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, ...more
Feb 05, 2014 Charlotte rated it it was amazing
James Kelman writes from inside people's heads - he can talk about what's going inside there just as much as the character can themselves and no more. You can see where people can't allow themselves to think things, where they themselves don't know what is happening. It's crafted writing; 'It's an exploratory nature – it's deep water, and it's difficult to discuss it within an interview format.' (Kelman in guardian interview). It's like Beckett in that you feel what is happening rather than clea ...more
Pat Carroll
Nov 11, 2014 Pat Carroll rated it it was amazing
Short stories typically are tricky, and I hate them, except for James Kelman's. His writing is so dense and Celtic that he could be a Flann O'Brien character strangely refusing to go along with the author's intent. In early books, Kelman's language is from Glasgow and takes a patient ear to get, later he moves toward the common speech. I picked "Greyhound for Breakfast" to blather about because it has the beauteous story "Fifty Pence." It is a novel in three pages.
Apr 10, 2016 Paul rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
James Kelman is an angry man. You’d expect that to be a natural trait of a Glaswegian, but he’s taken 47 accounts of living on the line and has gathered them into one compilation. His characters are the lowest of the low; whether it’s a tramp begging for some change, a worker living in the stockroom or a man simply trying to balance the books till the next giro, there’s always an action that makes you want to feel apathetic towards them. Some accounts are simply a stream of conscious; most are c ...more
Jan 31, 2016 Dave rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kelman has an art for writing depressing books about the plight of the Scottish working class citizen and this is no dissapointment to his name. This is actually a collection of short stories. This book will drag you down into the dregs with the various main characters, but it is an honest presentation of the average Scotsmen presnted by a Scotsmen. Do not approach any peice of work by Kelman in search for a happy ending or light at the end of the tunnel. Instead, look and receive reality presen ...more
Russell George
James Kelman is a like a less salacious Irvine Welsh. Often writing in Glaswegian dialect, his world is one of smoky betting shops, serial boozers and bad diets. But whereas his Booker prize winning ‘How Late it Was, How Late’ was enthralling and passionately written – it’s the stream-of-consciousness of a man who goes blind after being beaten up by the police, and his first day coming to terms with his new condition – somehow this collection didn’t do it for me. The title piece is really good, ...more
Jun 08, 2010 Paul rated it it was amazing
This is my favourite Kelman book, not for the stories but for the fantastic week I had reading it. After a tedious summer working in Toronto, I got a cheap flight to France and stayed in Rennes in Brittany. On my first day I found a copy of this in a second-hand bookshop and sat reading it during a few idle days with a glass of cold beer in my other hand. After a week I felt nourished and refreshed. I've just checked and I see it still has the 50 franc sticker on it. I always wanted to write to ...more
May 19, 2015 Bart rated it it was ok
Preferred Edward St. Aubyn's satirical Wot you starin at? to the genuine article.
Dec 23, 2013 Catriona rated it really liked it
A collection of short stories, some so short they're only 1 paragraph long, and some decidedly odd. I won't claim to have understood everything in this book, but when Kelman writes about people living ordinary lives in ordinary places he is unbeatable.
Sep 21, 2010 !Tæmbuŝu marked it as to-read
Shelves: short-stories
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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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