At the start of James Kelman’s latest novel, a young woman is travelling home by cab after a late-night shift as a croupier at a London casino. Stationary at the traffic lights, she spies a homeless man she recognises (‘there was something … to do with his shape and the way he walked, just something’). She thinks he might be her brother, whom she hasn’t seen for twelve years, and her impulse is to get out and talk to him, but she is with her colleagues and represses the urge (‘So weird … What would they say?’). Later, she returns home to her boyfriend and daughter. She doesn’t mention the incident.