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book cover of How Late It Was, How Late

How Late It Was, How Late

(1994)
A novel by

 
 
Awards
The Man Booker Prize Best Novel
"Ye wake in a corner and stay there hoping yer body will disappear, the thoughts smothering ye; these thoughts; but ye want to remember and face up to things, just something keeps ye from doing it, why can ye no do it; the words filling yer head: then the other words; there's something wrong; there's something far far wrong; ye're no a good man, ye're just no a good man." From the moment Sammy wakes slumped in a park corner, stiff and sore after a two-day drunk and wearing another man's shoes, James Kelman's Booker Prize-winning novel How Late it Was, How Late loosens a torrent of furious stream-of-consciousness prose that never lets up. Beaten savagely by Glasgow police, the shoplifting ex-con Sammy is hauled off to jail, where he wakes to a world gone black. For the rest of the novel he stumbles around the rainy streets of Glasgow, brandishing a sawed-off mop handle and trying in vain to make sense of the nightmare his life has become. Sammy's girlfriend disappears; the police question him for a crime they won't name; the doctor refuses to admit that he's blind; and his attempts to get disability compensation tangle in Kafkaesque red tape. Gritty, profane, darkly comic, and steeped in both American country music and working class Scottish vernacular, Sammy's is a voice the reader won't soon forget. --Mary Park



Winner of the 1994 Booker Prize, this witty, controversial, and brilliant bestselling novel has been compared to the works of Joyce, Beckett, and many other masters.

A raw, wry vision of human survival in a bureaucratic world, How Late It Was, How Late opens one Sunday morning in Glasgow, Scotland, as Sammy, an ex-convict with a penchant for shoplifting, awakens in a lane and tries to remember the two-day drinking binge that landed him there.  Then, things only get worse.  Sammy gets in 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.

A masterpiece of black humor, subtle political parody, and Scottish lower-class vernacular How Late It Was, How Late is a classic-to-be from one of today's most talented novelists.

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Used availability for James Kelman's How Late It Was, How Late

Hardback Editions

March 1994 : UK Hardback
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Title: How Late it Was, How Late
Author(s): James Kelman
ISBN: 0-436-23292-8 / 978-0-436-23292-3 (UK edition)
Publisher: Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Paperback Editions

August 2009 : UK Paperback
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Title: How Late It Was How Late (Vintage Booker)
Author(s): James Kelman
ISBN: 0-09-954627-2 / 978-0-09-954627-6 (UK edition)
Publisher: Vintage
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 2005 : USA Paperback
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Title: How Late It Was, How Late: A Novel
Author(s): James Kelman
ISBN: 0-393-32799-X / 978-0-393-32799-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: W. W. Norton
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


March 1995 : UK Paperback
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Title: How Late It Was How Late
Author(s): James Kelman
ISBN: 0-7493-9883-3 / 978-0-433-39397-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Vintage Classics
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


February 1996 : USA Paperback
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Title: How Late It Was, How Late
Author(s): James Kelman
ISBN: 0-385-31560-0 / 978-0-385-31560-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Delta
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


December 1994 : USA Paperback
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Title: How Late It Was, How Late
Author(s): James Kelman
ISBN: 0-393-03817-3 / 978-0-393-03817-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: W. W. Norton
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


October 1994 : UK Paperback
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Title: How Late it Was, How Late
Author(s): James Kelman
ISBN: 0-7493-9535-4 / 978-0-7493-9535-3 (UK edition)
Publisher: Vintage
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


1994 : UK Paperback
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Title: How Late it Was, How Late
Author(s): James Kelman
ISBN: 0-436-20338-3 / 978-0-436-20338-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Secker & Warburg
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

September 2012 : Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: How Late It Was How Late
Author(s): James Kelman
Publisher: Vintage Digital
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA