Sammy's had a bad week - his wallet's gone, along with his new shoes, he's been arrested then beaten up by the police and thrown out on the street - and he's just gone blind. He remembers a row with his girlfriend, but she seems to have disappeared. Things aren't looking too good for Sammy and his problems have hardly begun.Sammy's had a bad week - his wallet's gone, along with his new shoes, he's been arrested then beaten up by the police and thrown out on the street - and he's just gone blind. He remembers a row with his girlfriend, but she seems to have disappeared. Things aren't looking too good for Sammy and his problems have hardly begun.Read Less
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This Booker Prize-winning book is both bleak and funny. Unless you've already heard how working class Glaswegians talk, you may find the style a little daunting at first. Just keep reading, don't stop and go with the flow. Sammy's experience of losing his sight, learning to cope, and then dealing with the consequences, in terms of bureaucracy, the local police and his family is heart-wrenching but rings true. And the language is amazing!
Publishers Weekly, 1996-01-15 Set in Glasglow and written in dialect, Scottish novelist Kelman's controversial black comedy won the 1994 Booker prize. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1994-12-05 Kelman is a Scottish novelist and essayist scarcely known in the U.S., though the present book caused a stir in Britain when it won the prestigious Booker Prize (apparently as a compromise choice) and was roundly abused by one of the judges as ``inaccessible.'' It isnay that bad. Once past that artily inappropriate title, it's the harsh, gritty story of Samuels, a Glaswegian drifter and petty crook who has been in and out of jail. As the book opens, he awakens on a Sunday morning in an alley after a two-day binge of which he has little memory. He gets in a scrap with the police, and when he next comes to, he's in jail-and has lost his eyesight. The book is an overextended stream-of-consciousness in which Sammy tries to come to terms with his blindness, get some sort of medical assistance, find out where his girlfriend disappeared to and fend off the police, who believe he is close to a buddy they suspect of political terrorism. Most of Sammy's thoughts, numbingly obscene and repetitious as they are, seem authentic (though there are a few unlikely choices of words for one so determinedly unliterary). He has a combination of dour courage and suspicion that rings true, and some of the dialogue in scenes with various state authorities, cops and later his teenage son, are finely wrought, tense and darkly funny. But it seems unlikely many American readers would want to struggle with the alien idiom for these rather meager rewards. (Dec.)
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