- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (7 Sept. 1989)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 074939028X
- ISBN-13: 978-0749390280
- Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 1.3 x 12.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,798,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Not, Not While the Giro and Other Stories Paperback – 7 Sep 1989
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About the Author
James Kelman was born in Glasgow in 1946. After leaving school at 15 he worked in the printing industry and as a bus driver. In 1971 he attended creative writing night classes and in 1973 an American company published his first collection of short stories, An Old Pub Near The Angel. Greyhound for Breakfast won the 1987 Cheltenham Prize; A Disaffection won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize; How late it was, how late won the 1994 Booker Prize amidst a storm of controversy. He has also written many plays for stage and radio. He lives in Glasgow with his wife and family. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The locations were often unnamed but assumed to be Glasgow and its surroundings. A few of the stories had settings elsewhere, such as London or Manchester.
Just over half were written in the first person. Some of these were little more than vignettes: "He Knew Him Well," about the desperate circumstances of an old pensioner, and Wee Horrors," which ended atmospherically with a parent searching an abandoned tenement for his children. Other stories were longer. A few of these were stream-of-consciousness monologues: "Nice to Be Nice," a narrator's blackly humorous recounting of a series of misfortunes; "No Longer the Warehouseman," about an angst-ridden older man's unsuitability for life; and darkest of all, "Not Not While the Giro," in which a younger man contemplated life and death while counting the days before his unemployment check arrived.
Other stories in the first person focused more on other people and external action: "The Hitchhiker," in which a man struggled to connect with a foreign woman; "The Bevel," in which a work crew was ill used by their manager; and "Remember Young Cecil," describing a pool player who prospered for a time before marrying and turning his attention on work. In it, maybe the least grim of the stories, in earlier days there'd been a sense of mateship among the men.
One of the monologues, "Nice to Be Nice," has been described as the author's earliest published attempt at phonetic transcription of a Scottish voice. From beginning to end, it read, for example, like "A hid tae stoap 2 flerrs up tae git ma breath back." The rest of the works were in standard English, more or less.Read more ›
And not having picked it up for some months, with only the last one to read, I have been totally transfixed by the final, title tale. If I didn't have Angela Carter's short stories to read this would return to my bedside to be begun again. But I do also have 'How later it was, how late' to read.
And having read other reviews I can concur with it inspiring one to write, since the voice is freeing, but have to say only one story in the whole book I found hard because of the dialect.