This introductory chapter focuses on James Kelman, a writer whom many critics consider to be the chief among a school of ‘miserablists’. The discussion begins with a section on the various opinions writers and critics have of Kelman, who has become the senior Scottish fiction writer of urban alienation, and from there shifts to a study of his creative work, which ranges from short stories to plays and novels. It shows that his fictional texts are broadly variable, polyvalent, inconsistent and fluid, while the voices of the narrator and the characters are so intertwined that it is often impossible to separate the two (direct speech and indirect speech). The chapter ends with a section on the language of Kelman's realism.
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