From Publishers Weekly
Kieron Smith's coming-of-age in a rough Glasgow neighborhood is grimly rendered by Kelman in this stark and affecting novel. The younger of two boys, Kieron is overlooked and seen as simple compared to his brother, Matt, the smart one. Kieron's only safe haven is his grandparents' house, where his grannie treats him as the favorite and his granda and uncle teach him to fight (Uncle Billy suggests Kieron use a brick against larger bullies). But when the family moves across town to a better neighborhood, Kieron falls in with a group of rowdy youth from his new primary school, including Mitch, an angry, abused child, and he takes to climbing drainpipes and scampering across rooftops as an outlet for his frustrations. As the years tick by, Kieron's relationships with his family disintegrate (things with Matt get especially bad), and Kelman's raw, blunt narration drives home all of Kieron's loneliness, sadness and feelings of inadequacy. If you can roll with the Scots dialect, the narrative is rewarding, bleak and marvelous. (Nov.)
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PRAISE FOR JAMES KELMAN "James Kelman possesses an astonishing voice . . . Read a page of Kelman and you can't help but laud his sheer virtuosity."—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World PRAISE FOR YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL IN THE LAND OF THE FREE"It may be the best book we've had thus far about the political and social reverberations of 9/11 in this country."--Dwight Garner, The New York Times Book Review
"A known master at portraying the details of life in Scotland and capturing, pitch-perfectly, the dialogue of his characters, Kelman here brings the inner and outer lives of a likable, often misunderstood boy fully into focus." (Booklist (starred)
"[A] stark and affecting novel...Kelman''s raw, blunt narration drives home all of Kieron''s loneliness...[R]ewarding, bleak and marvelous." (Publishers Weekly