― 57 7th (calstars), Tuesday, 22 February 2005 17:06 (seventeen years ago) link
― Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Tuesday, 22 February 2005 21:07 (seventeen years ago) link
I read A Disaffection in September; it's bleak, but readable and comic; I'd tend to recommend it.
― the pinefox (the pinefox), Saturday, 11 November 2006 10:04 (sixteen years ago) link
― Ray (Ray), Saturday, 11 November 2006 10:21 (sixteen years ago) link
But it's not enough - he's too earnest, too gloomy, infected with a kind of Presbyterianism of the soul. There is comedy of a sort, but it's a comedy with most of the joy taken out. There's a bit of the Caledonian cringe in there - it takes self-confidence to write a book that is light-hearted and offer it to the world as literature, and it's a confidence ambitious Scottish writers tend to lack - our "literary" writers usually put enough intellectual ballast in to leave you in no doubt that they are heavyweight contenders. More frivolity and inconsequentiality would be good.
― frankiemachine (frankiemachine), Saturday, 11 November 2006 11:49 (sixteen years ago) link
― Ray (Ray), Sunday, 12 November 2006 17:14 (sixteen years ago) link
― frankiemachine (frankiemachine), Monday, 13 November 2006 11:31 (sixteen years ago) link
I do think that Gray seems, on the face of it, the answer to the reader who is frustrated by a lack of frivolity in Scottish fiction.
― the pinefox (the pinefox), Monday, 13 November 2006 13:02 (sixteen years ago) link
― Ray (Ray), Monday, 13 November 2006 13:18 (sixteen years ago) link
My criticism of Scottish fiction isn't that there are no jokes but because there is too much earnestness of purpose or fear of appearing lightweight. The result is much ambitious stuff in the European modernist tradition that, whether you like it or not, leaves you in no doubt that it was written by someone who has read plenty of intellectually exacting stuff and is engaged in something more "worthwhile" than mere entertainment; and novels that, while full of impressive elements, often aren't much fun to read. As well as Kelman and Gray I'm thinking of Jeff Torrington and A. L. Kennedy among others. And much of McDiarmid's poetry. Even Ali Smith, a writer I really like, suffers from this to some extent - the reader isn't going to be allowed to remain unaware that she went to university and got a proper literary education.
Obviously these are sweeping generalisations -- we have entertainers as well -- but we seem to have proportionally few writers like Muriel Spark whose work is "literary" but also appeals to the ordinary reader.
― frankiemachine (frankiemachine), Monday, 13 November 2006 14:59 (sixteen years ago) link
― Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Monday, 13 November 2006 15:06 (sixteen years ago) link
― frankiemachine (frankiemachine), Monday, 13 November 2006 18:53 (sixteen years ago) link
― 808 the Bassking (Andrew Thames), Saturday, 18 November 2006 02:56 (sixteen years ago) link
I wrote about James Kelman’s surprise foray into autofiction for @tribunemagazine https://t.co/PicIaCmBHs— Calum Barnes (@balumcarnes) January 23, 2023
― xyzzzz__, Monday, 23 January 2023 11:35 (two weeks ago) link
Interesting piece. I knew the writer briefly at uni. I've bought this but have only skimmed so far, it looks like fun
― verhexen, Monday, 23 January 2023 11:54 (two weeks ago) link
Sent that post before I meant to but I guess it works as a coherent whole. Meant to say I admire this writer's pieces when I see them now, rather than just unimpressively namedrop.Excited to read some Kelman autofiction in his twilight years even if it looks like it could be a bit cringe. He's always funnier than he ever got credit for and might as well treat himself. Shame as this could have been marketed as a something of a digestible comeback.Really strange not even a UK independent press can make home for him when there are surely still admirers out there - whose choice is it?
― verhexen, Monday, 23 January 2023 12:00 (two weeks ago) link