From the Booker Prize-winning James Kelman: a grieving father and son journey to the American South.
'The truth is he didn't care how long he was going away. Forever would have suited him. It didn't matter it was America.'
Murdo, a teenager obsessed with music, wishes for a life beyond the constraints of his Scottish island home and dreams of becoming his own man. Tom, battered by loss, stumbles backwards towards the future, terrified of losing his dignity, his control, his son and the last of his family life. Both are in search of something new as they set out on an expedition into the American South. On the road we discover whether the hopes of youth can conquer the fears of age.
Dirt Road is a major novel exploring the brevity of life, the agonising demands of love and the lure of the open road. It is also a beautiful book about the power of music and all that it can offer. From the understated serenity of Kelman's prose emerges a devastating emotional power.
About the Author
James Kelman was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1989 with A Disaffection, which also won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. He went on to win the Booker Prize five years later with How Late it Was, How Late, before being shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2009 and 2011.
Dirt Road is brilliant . . . a deeply moving and exciting novel -- RODDY DOYLE
Kelman in the American South, with a zydeco lilt, proves irresistible - a thrilling return from one of our most essential novelists -- KEVIN BARRY
In writing as pure as this, language becomes the very bones and meat of the characters. I am not transported by these sentences into Murdo's world; I am Murdo -- ROSS RAISIN
Strange and beautiful . . . Kelman gives us visceral vernacular, Joycean stream of consciousness, wry humor, old resentments and painful memories, all in counterpoint to the music on and off stage . . . A celebration of what it is to be human * * Spectator * *
Beautiful. Dirt Road is about coming of age, grief and the folk music of the American deep south * * Daily Telegraph * *
Draws you like a magnet * * Herald Scotland * *
In Dirt Road James Kelman brings alive a human consciousness like no other writer can -- ALAN WARNER
Another masterpiece from one of our best writers -- KIRSTY GUNN * * Guardian * *
A true original . . . A real artist -- IRVINE WELSH * * Guardian * *
A delight . . . The best thing [Kelman] has written -- ALLAN MASSIE * * Scotsman * *
Probably the most influential novelist of the post-war period * * The Times * *
The greatest British novelist of our time * * Sunday Herald * *
A writer of world stature, a 21st century Modern * * Scotsman * *
The greatest living British novelist * * Amit Chaudhuri * *
To call him a great Scottish writer would be accurate; to call him simply a great writer would be more concise * * Herald * *
One of the most influential writers of his generation * * Guardian * *
A beautifully-coloured account of loss and love . . . Like a camera on Murdo's shoulder, we see the world as the boy sees it, sensing the miracle of his emergence as a confident young man * * The Times * *
Beautiful and musical -- Nick Major * * The National * *
Poignant and beautiful * * Independent * *
Quietly, subtly Kelman peels back the veil of daily life to reveal the urgent struggle of a sixteen-year-old coming to terms with death. This is a brilliant book, and like all great works of art, it is universal-whether you're reading it in Scotland, Hampstead, or Alabama * * Times Literary Supplement * *
Dirt Road is a life-affirming novel, in which Kelman paints a convincing and at times moving portrait of two likable characters on the road to fulfillment and recovery * * Observer * *