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How Late It Was, How Late

by James Kelman

Sammy’s had a bad week – his wallet’s gone, along with his new shoes, he’s been arrested then beaten up by the police and thrown out on the street – and he’s just gone blind. He remembers a row with his girlfriend, but she seems to have disappeared. Things aren’t looking too good for Sammy and his problems have hardly begun.

How Late It Was, How Late is a stream of consciousness novel written in a working class Scottish dialect.

“Beautiful, spirited thoughts hard up against the old brute truths…enormous artistic and social depth…James Kelman’s best book yet” – Guardian

“Forging a wholly distinctive style from the bruised cadences of demotic Glaswegian, Kelman renders the hidden depths of ordinary lives in sardonic, abrasive prose which is more revealing of feelings that could ever be expected…as uplifting a novel as one could ever hope to read” – Sunday Telegraph

“A passionate, scintillating, brilliant song of a book” – Independent

“Gritty, realistic and bleak, but the overall tone is strangely positive. The fast pace of the narrative, Kelman’s dry humour and the indomitable spirit combine to provide a liberating read” – Big Issue


01 January, 1994

About James Kelman

James Kelman was born in Glasgow in 1946. His books include Not not while the giro, The Busconducter Hines, A Chancer, Greyhound for Breakfast, which won the 1987 Cheltenham Prize, and A Disaffection, which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and How late it was, how late, which won the 1994 Booker Prize.


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