Nominated by:

Bergen Offentlige Bibliotek, Norway

Publisher of nominated edition:

Canongate Books, UK

Dirt Road

James Kelman    

Murdo, a teenager obsessed with music, dreams of a life beyond home. His recently widowed dad, Tom, stumbles towards the future, terrified of losing what remains of his family. Both are in search of something as they set out from rural Scotland on a journey to the American South.

About the author

James Kelman is a Scottish novelist. He was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1989 with A Disaffection, which also won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. He then went on to win the Booker Prize five years later with How Late It Was, How Late, before being shortlisted twice for the Man Booker International Prize, in 2009 and 2011. Dirt Road was shortlisted for the Saltire Fiction Book of the Year. His most recent book of stories, That Was a Shiver, was published by Canongate in 2017.

(from publisher)

Librarian’s comments

The protagonists in this vivid story are a 14 year-old boy and his father. The daughter, and more recently the mother in the family have died of cancer and father and son, unable to articulate their grief, travel from Scotland to southern USA to visit close relatives there. The story is told through the boy’s stream-of-consciousness, in true but understandable dialect, mapping his reactions, emotions, relationships, and his joy and salvation in music. A beautiful book.

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