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A Disaffection (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 7 Oct 1999

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (7 Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099283093
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099283096
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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)

Book Description

The endlessly inventive and gripping story of one man's rebellion and passion

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Pat Doyle is a 29-year-old teacher who hates his job, and develops a crush on a fellow colleague, Alison. The story opens when he picks up a pair of pipes from outside the art centre. Throughout the novel he treats the pipes, and Alison, as a means of escapism - to the point of obsession. Naturally, it looks as if neither of these desires will transpire to much, mainly because Pat appears to be a dreamer. Even when he seems to take positive steps, we are sceptical.
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.
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Format: Paperback
I've read this book 3 times now. It really speaks to me, so it might to you if you're thinking of reading it. Don't be put off by the negative comments. Get it from your library if you don't want to risk a few quid.

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.
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By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Dec. 2006
Format: Paperback
I guess James Kelman isn't everyone's cup of tea. He seems (from reading only two of his works!) to do interior monologue of down at heel, ordinary folk very well. The trouble is, the interior monologue of down at heel, ordinary folk can be quite repetitive and rather dull. And, in case anyone is wondering, nothing happens. There isn't some brilliant twist that pulls it together at the end. Wysiwyg.

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.
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