If It Is Your Life (Paperback)

By James Kelman

Other Press (NY), 9781590516225, 280pp.

Publication Date: July 15, 2014

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (4/1/2011)

List Price: 15.95*
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A collection of short stories by the Booker Prize-winning Scottish master
Giving voice to the dispossessed and crafting stories of lives held in the balance, James Kelman reaches us all. Penetrating deeply into the hearts, minds, and desperation of characters who find themselves in everyday situations--in the hospital, at a bus stop, in a living room with the endless roar of the vacuum cleaner and a distant wife--Kelman follows their streams of consciousness and brings their worries to life. With honesty and dark humor, he confronts the issues of language, class, politics, gender, and age--identity in all its forms.

About the Author

James Kelman, a writer of novels, short stories, plays, and political essays, was born in Glasgow in 1946. He won the Cheltenham Prize for Greyhound for Breakfast (1987) and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for A Disaffection (1989), which was also short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. His fourth novel, How Late It Was, How Late, won the Booker Prize in 1994. Kelman was awarded the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Award in 1998. His short-story collection The Good Times (1999) won the Stakis Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year. In 2008 he won Scotland's most prestigious literary award, the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award, for Kieron Smith, Boy. He is the author of a television screenplay, The Return (1991), and has written many plays for radio and theater. Kelman has taught creative writing at the University of Texas, Goldsmiths College of the University of London, and the University of Glasgow. His most recent novel, Mo Said She Was Quirky, was published by Other Press in 2013.

Praise For If It Is Your Life

“A set of strange tales that both frustrate and delight…[Kelman] is certainly more experimental, as this…collection shows, and he’s also a lot funnier. As well as being a keen observer of society’s underclasses and disenfranchised, Kelman also has a great eye for the absurdity of everyday life, something which comes to the fore in this collection…His impeccable command of language continues to make him an easy writer to admire.” —The Independent
“As always, [Kelman’s] at his best when transforming a fairly narrow spectrum of underclass experience into something uniquely pitched between Beckett and vernacular realism.” —The Guardian
“In Kelman’s hands, words are deployed so seemingly realistically but, of course, so artfully, they feel closer to reality than hard truth. This collection is teeming with life, and with death, or worse, and, as the title indicates, it is our lives he is writing about, ours all. It is a tour de force from a writer who treats language as carefully as if it were gold, and ends up turning it into something even more precious.” —The Herald (Scotland)