Andy's Reviews > How Late it Was, How Late

How Late it Was, How Late by James Kelman
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's review
Jan 05, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: 2011, prize-winners
Recommended to Andy by: The Booker Prize

Arghh, I've mixed feelings about this book. I started it a fair while ago flying back to the UK and it's really not an airplane book. I put it aside for a while, read a bunch of other books and then tried finishing it before the year ended. No such luck.

Sammy (as the blurb says) has had a bad week. That much is true. A lost drunken weekend, possible mugging, definite assult and sudden blindness. We meander through a short period of his life in a repetitive stream of consciousness that is intensely difficult to read at times, whip fast at others and almost always exhausting. I felt physically out of breath and tachycardic after racing through the final 100 pages in a grand effort to put it on my shelf and not worry about it any more. The scottish dialect it's written in is reminiscent of Trainspotting but this is a very different book.

The story as such doesn't really go anywhere. It's more about the journey and Sammy is an interesting conductor. Often funny, trying at times.

Truthfully I didn't really like this and probably wouldn't read it again. Winner of the Booker prize 1994.


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