Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mo Said She Was Quirky-James Kelman

Mo Said She Was Quirky

James Kelman

Other, Apr 23 2013, $15.95

ISBN: 9781590516003

In London, Helen works extremely hard as a night croupier at a casino in order for her Pakistani Muslim mate Mo and her six year old daughter Sophie to survive. On the way home by cab from another grueling day of work, Helen notices a homeless drunk leisurely crossing in front of the taxi with a companion. The disheveled man looks like her brother Brian; a sibling she has not seen in years since she and her family became estranged over her choices. She muses over her mom, her brother, their Glasgow home and her boyfriend Mo who insists “she was quirky” though all she feels is tired and fearful that if she falls further down she will land in the ooze of failure never to rise until the next day when her cycle begins again.

This is a fascinating character study of a Scottish woman trying to keep from drowning though she wants to give up but others depend on her so she keeps treading. Most of the storyline focuses on Helen’s internal thoughts, which are bleak and depressing; as life is a combat sport not worth the fight. Polar opposite of Sutherland’s 24 when it comes to action as there is none; instead we get inside the head of a seemingly ordinary person for one day after a potentially shocking encounter as readers will agree with Mo she is quirky.

Harriet Klausner

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