A Disaffection (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 7 Oct 1999
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"With this novel James Kelman reveals a talent so huge in today's terms that one is tempted to mention Zola and Beckett" (Independent)
"His style is endlessly inventive, his characters have huge souls and his point of view is uncompromising. If people don't start listening, they only have themselves to blame" (Observer)
"Kelman has artistry, authenticity and a voice of singular power. A Disaffection leaves one reassured and indeed optimistic about the state of British literature today." (Independent)
The endlessly inventive and gripping story of one man's rebellion and passionSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Kelman uses familiar surroundings and dialect to create something entirely original. Like A Chancer, there's a sense of frustration when the main character seems so trapped - usually due to a lack of money and motivation. This could be said to mirror Kelman's own life; in an interview he's mentioned that his wife still has to work at the Social Security, despite him winning the Booker Prize for his novel How Late it was, How Late.
The key to the success of this book - aside from the deep sense of character so common in Kelman's work - is in the experimental language. There are traces of Joycean stream-of-consciousness, but with none of the pretension attributed to copyists, and, most importantly, no sense of the confusion common in Ulysses or Finnegans Wake. We may not know all of the literary references, but we definitely understand.
This is one of the most important novels of the 80s - if not ever. It's certainly one of Kelman's best.
What I want to say is how funny I find this story. Yes, nothing much happens but a good writer can make the "ordinary" exceptional through their perceptive insight.
It is not heavy going though being from Glasgow probably helps a wee bit in the reading of local dialect.
Having read A Disaffection, I feel that I know Patrick Doyle pretty well.I understand his failings and inadequacies. I understand how he is envious of his brother's family, as his brother is envious of Partick's education and job. I understand how hopeless is his infatuation with Alison and his inability to deal with women. But I'm not sure it was worth investing two weeks of very slow reading to get to this point. Maybe I'm just shallow...
Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate the book. Neither do I imagine it will fade from the memory as quickly as the latest murder mystery. It is a deep study of human nature. But I'm quite glad now to have my hands on a murder mystery as an antidote.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Quality James Kelman. Dissolve into this Glasgow prose. A must read if you are a fan.Published 11 months ago by glentana
This novel works.....I am now disaffected. Too long, too indulgent, almost incomprehensible. Surely there's a simpler way to be pished with the teaching profession!?Published 22 months ago by T. J. Buchan