Martyn Bedford

Smiddy’s Tale

Kieron Smith, Boy


Hamish Hamilton 422pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

Whether writing in his characteristic Glaswegian demotic or not, James Kelman compels readers and critics to pay close attention to the words on the page. Closer than they’d like, at times. The experimental Translated Accounts was impenetrable, for some, and the Booker Prize-winning How Late It Was, How Late was notoriously damned by one of the judges for its free use of expletives. She would at least be pleased to note that, in his latest novel, the swearing is censored with asterisks. To see f**k, w**k, c**t, etc in a Kelman book is almost as shocking as seeing them spelled out in full by Barbara Cartland.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Something of an 'eccentric billionaire’s hobby': reviews 'The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and… ,
    • "At the age of fifteen, drunk on stolen Chardonnay or stoned on pot at a swimming party, the thoughts that come imm… ,
    • For the latest Bookends, here's Alan Taylor musing on his stint as an assistant librarian. ,
    • A ‘pretentious ass and impotent arriviste’ who surrounded himself with ‘degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts,… ,
    • . reviews 'Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life' by ,
    • "As Beevor shows, it was one of the most daring, dangerous and fiercely fought operations of the whole war. It was… ,
    • "The characters are very rich and very male, with astronomical ambitions. The potted biographies in this book sugge… ,