After 'Some Recent Attacks'(1992), this is another collection of Kelman's non-fiction work featuring political/literary essays, newspaper articles, speeches and other bits and bobs including a section on Noam Chomsky, and 'A Look at Franz Kafka's Three Novels' which, in dissertation-style, dissects the eccentric's masterworks with a fine toothpick.
Kelman, an old-school hard-left activist and fierce anti-authoritarian, is a man who knows his stuff and is not frightened to tell it like it is. Here is somebody equipped with that most feared of weapons - the pen. And boy, does he use it. At times you feel you're receiving a sermon from a particularly indignant preacher; at other times maybe you're in a low-lit pub with a well-read (but whisky-fuelled) bar-room philosopher as he humourousy recounts the trials and tribulations of his life and the world around him. But that's Kelman for you - hard-hitting AND intimate, sometimes both at once. And whether you like it or not, you're gonna LISTEN.
Unearthing the lid on many a hidden truth and injustice, Kelman covers subjects that range from elitism in Literature (it should be FOR and BY everybody), to the UK government's reluctance to properly address the issue of asbestos-related death, through to the Kurdish war in Turkey (something you won't read about in the holiday brochures - or ANYWHERE according to Kelman). However, it's not all doom and gloom. Some of the esays give insights into Kelman's origins as a writer - grafting hard or on the dole reading his way through Zola and Dostoyevsky - and his choice to use "the language of the gutter". And a fine choice it was.