“The world is full of information. What do we do when we get the information, when we have digested the information, what do we do then? Is there a point where ye say, yes, stop, now I shall move on.”
This exhilarating collection of essays, interviews, and correspondence—spanning the years 1988 through 2018, and reaching back a decade more—is about the simple concept that ideas matter. They mutate, inform, create fuel for thought, and inspire actions.
As Kelman says, the State relies on our suffocation, that we cannot hope to learn “the truth. But whether we can or not is beside the point. We must grasp the nettle, we assume control and go forward.”
Between Thought and Expression Lies a Lifetime is an impassioned, elucidating, and often humorous collaboration. Philosophical and intimate, it is a call to ponder, imagine, explore, and act.
“The real reason Kelman, despite his stature and reputation, remains something of a literary outsider is not, I suspect, so much that great, radical Modernist writers aren’t supposed to come from working-class Glasgow, as that great, radical Modernist writers are supposed to be dead. Dead, and wrapped up in a Penguin Classic: that’s when it’s safe to regret that their work was underappreciated or misunderstood (or how little they were paid) in their lifetimes. You can write what you like about Beckett or Kafka and know they’re not going to come round and tell you you’re talking nonsense, or confound your expectations with a new work. Kelman is still alive, still writing great books, climbing.”
—James Meek, London Review of Books
“A true original . . . A real artist. . . . It’s now very difficult to see which of his peers can seriously be ranked alongside [Kelman] without ironic eyebrows being raised.”
—Irvine Welsh, Guardian
“Probably the most influential novelist of the post-war period.”
“Kelman has the knack, maybe more than anyone since Joyce, of fixing in his writing the lyricism of ordinary people’s speech . . . Pure aesthete, undaunted democrat—somehow Kelman manages to reconcile his two halves.”
“Kelman has always been a true and honest writer; which is why he is one of the fairly few who really matter.”
About the Contributors