James Kelman’s raw, wry vision of human survival in a bureaucratic world is given voice by Sammy, an ex-convict with a penchant for shoplifting.

One Sunday morning in Glasgow, Sammy awakens in a lane and tries to remember the two-day drinking binge that landed him there. Things only get worse. Sammy gets into a fight with some soldiers, lands in jail, and discovers that he is completely blind. His girlfriend disappears, the police probe him endlessly, and his stab at Disability Compensation embroils him in the Kafkaesque red tape of the welfare system.

The Booker Prize 1994
Published by
Secker & Warburg
Publication date
James Kelman

James Kelman

About the Author

James Kelman was born in Glasgow. His novel How Late It Was, How Late won the 1994 Booker Prize.
More about James Kelman

How Late It Was, How Late by James Kelman changed my life. It is such a bold book, the prose and stream of consciousness is really inventive. But it is also one of the first times I saw my people, my dialect, on the page

Other nominated books by James Kelman

Translated Accounts
A Disaffection