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A Chancer

Publication Date
01 August 2007
Paperback (also available as an eBook)
Available for Sale
Birlinn Limited

A Chancer

by James Kelman - Find out more about the author


eBook also available from the iBookstore

'One of Scotland’s most innovative writers whose unsparing rendering of modern urban life catches the tenor of the times’ – The Scotsman

‘The novel flows enjoyably as a series of episodes ... often with a jerky syntax reflecting the way in which experiences are felt by the characters. Kelman’s broad sympathy results in a vital depiction of everything stagnant as well as the possibility of a new beginning at the very end, much of it achieved through understated eloquence’ – Times Literary Supplement

Tammas is 20, a loner and a compulsive gambler. Unable to hold a job for long, his life revolves around Glasgow bars, living with his sister and brother-in-law, betting shops, and casinos. Sometimes Tammas wins, more often he loses. But gambling gives him as good a chance as any of discovering what he seeks from life since society offers no prospect of a more fulfilling alternative.

James Kelman was born in Glasgow in 1946. After leaving school at 15 he worked in the printing industry and as a bus driver. In 1971 he attended creative writing night classes and in 1973 an American company published his first collection of short stories, An Old Pub Near The Angel. Greyhound for Breakfast won the 1987 Cheltenham Prize; A Disaffection won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize; How Late It Was, How Late won the 1994 Booker Prize amidst a storm of controversy. He has also written many plays for stage and radio. He lives in Glasgow with his wife and family.

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