Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly's Reviews > The Busconductor Hines

The Busconductor Hines by James Kelman
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Mar 04, 11

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Read in March, 2011

It is possible that even if you combine all of Henry Miller's works they still would not outnumber the times the words "fuck," "fucking," and "cunt" are used in this novel which is not even a sex book. In fact, it has only one extended sex scene,, very tastefully done, no kinkiness whatsoever, the normal sex a couple do after five years of marriage living in a tenement flat without any bedroom with a young son who could wake up at any time while they're humping.

So why, asks you, this plethora of seeming obscenities? They're not. They're just part of the normal vocafuckingbulary of bus drivers and bus conductors in Glasgow (the largest city in Scotland). Yes, they love "fuck," "fucking," "cunt" and "shite" (shit) so much that they even insert them in the middle of words for fuck's sake.

The couple who had sex, as I mentioned earlier, were Hines and his wife Sandra. If you're paying attention, you'd know by now that they have a young son (around 4 years old if I correctly recall). The title of the book would tell you that Hines is a busconductor (I don't know why, in Glasgow, this is one word--maybe because like Hines, the bus conductor never becomes anything else, say a bus driver, so the word becomes symbolic, the bus tied up with its conductor and vice verza, so: busconductor). The family lives in a dump, as Sandra describes their place, and she wants to live elsewhere. But they have no money to buy a new house somewhere else. Miserable it is, having very little money. But sometimes they're happy, sometimes they make each other laugh and they hug each other. Hh, all ya fenian bastards ye, read it. Ya gonny like it too, like that one by the other Scot, A.L. Kennedy's "Looking for the Possible Dance," naw shite.
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