Re: RARA-AVIS: Hardboiled This & That

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 19 Apr 2000

I wrote:

"How about How Late It Was, How Late by James Kelman?"

Neil replied:

"I've heard it called "apocalyptic". Thing about these Scot writers now
(Kelman, Alan Warner, Welsh), very very hardboiled attitudes, very dark, very noir, obviously influenced by HB, but in a category all it's own."

Okay, I agree with you on Warner and Welsh, as good as they are (man, I love Warner's books), they don't really qualify here.

However, Kelman's "How Late It Was, How Late" is very down-to-earth. It chronicle's a few days in the life of a smalltime thief/scam artist, just after he has gone blind from being hit by a cop while on a drunken binge. It is extremely colloquial (wasn't there a controversy over this winning the Booker Prize because of his repeated use of the "F" word?) and is set in a very realistic milieu. In many ways, it reminded me of Goodis's non-crime novels.


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