Get a seat in front!
Man Booker Award-winning novelist James Kelman visits the Ivy Bookshop tomorrow night at 7 as the inaugural guest of the store’s new “front table” series that brings us face to face with amazing writers from around the world. Kelman, who received the Man Booker in 1994 for How Late It Was, How Late, writes books peopled with ultra-authentic working-class Scottish characters inspired by his native land. The author will discuss his newest, Mo Said She Was Quirky (Other Press), which depicts one single day in the life of an everywoman named Helen. In typically masterful Kelman narration, we are sometimes in Helen’s head, sometimes on the outside watching her shuffle past, watching her work the nightshift in a London casino. The single mom to a six-year-old daughter, Helen lives with her Pakistani waiter boyfriend, much to the chagrin of her narrow-minded neighbors. Thanks to Kelman’s well-honed craft and attentive imagination – and his own faith in his character – we believe in Helen from the start. And, in a novel critics have tagged Kelman’s most accessible to date, we feel grateful for the difficult hours of her life we’re invited to share.
“I always wanted to write stories about people who came from same community as myself. As a young writer, I realized I couldn’t write the stories I wanted to write if I stayed in the traditional English tradition. When you have the omniscient narrative voice, the God voice, the central character always is seen as the Other. I really did not want that. That to me is death,” Kelman told Mary Carole McCauley at The Baltimore Sun. (McCauley compared the novel to Joyce’s Ulysses.) “That transition [from internal to external narration] is a very difficult thing to do. It’s one of the things that makes my novels not purely stream of conscious, not soliloquies. The way you do it is that a sentence can begin in the outside world, and end up inside her head. Franz Kafka was the first writer to master that. And, in order to make that transition, I can’t have any separation between dialogue and narrative. They have to operate as one.”
Event is free. Call 410-377-2966 or visit store website for further details.