Kieron Smith, Boy
By James Kelman
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151013487, 432pp.)
Publication Date: November 2008
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
I had cousins at sea. One was in the Cadets. I was wanting to join. My maw did not want me to but my da said I could if I wanted, it was a good life and ye saved yer money, except if ye were daft and done silly things. He said it to me. I would just have to grow up first.
James Kelman’s triumph in Kieron Smith, boy is to bring us completely inside the head of a child and remind us what strange and beautiful things happen in there.
Here is the story of a boyhood in a large industrial city during a time of great social change. Kieron grows from age five to early adolescence amid the general trauma of everyday life—the death of a beloved grandparent, the move to a new home. A whole world is brilliantly realized: sectarian football matches; ferryboats on the river; the unfairness of being a younger brother; climbing drainpipes, trees, and roofs; dogs, cats, sex, and ghosts.
This is a powerful, often hilarious, startlingly direct evocation of childhood.
JAMES KELMAN is the author of a number of novels and collections of short stories, including Busted Scotch; Greyhound for Breakfast; A Disaffection, awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; How Late it Was, How Late, winner of the Booker Prize; and, most recently, You Have to Be Careful in the Land of the Free. He lives in Glasgow.
PRAISE FOR JAMES KELMAN
"James Kelman possesses an astonishing voice . . . Read a page of Kelman and you can't help but laud his sheer virtuosity."—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World
PRAISE FOR YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL IN THE LAND OF THE FREE
"It may be the best book we've had thus far about the political and social reverberations of 9/11 in this country."—Dwight Garner, The New York Times Book Review
"Kelman is...a radical Modernist writer of exceptional brilliance...still writing great books, climbing."
"A known master at portraying the details of life in Scotland and capturing, pitch-perfectly, the dialogue of his characters, Kelman here brings the inner and outer lives of a likable, often misunderstood boy fully into focus."
"[A] stark and affecting novel...Kelman''s raw, blunt narration drives home all of Kieron''s loneliness...[R]ewarding, bleak and marvelous."