Cover image for The Vintage book of contemporary Scottish fiction
The Vintage book of contemporary Scottish fiction
Kravitz, Peter.
Uniform Title:
Picador book of contemporary Scottish fiction.
Publication Information:
New York : Vintage Books, 1999.

Physical Description:
xxxvi, 555 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
Originally published as: The Picador book of contemporary Scottish fiction. London : Picador, 1997.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR8676 .P53 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The Vintage Book of Contemporary Scottish Fiction honors Scotland's explosive and innovative national literature with 47 of its finest representatives.

In addition to excerpts from writers such as Irvine Welsh ( Trainspotting , Marabou Stork Nightmares ) and James Kelman ( How Late It Was, How Late ), this vibrant collection includes voices new to the international scene. Alison Fell ignites the page with an art model's rant in "There's Tradition for You." Duncan Williamson reinvents a rural storytelling tradition in the poignant "Mary and the Seal." And in his brilliant introduction, editor Peter Kravitz explores Scottish writers' conflict with publishers at home and abroad--from critics who consider material "depraved" to typesetters who demand higher wages when working on pieces written by Scots.

Provocative, engrossing, and timely, The Vintage Book of Contemporary Scottish Fiction celebrates nothing less than a literary revolution, in which the language and lifestyles of a generation of artists are making themselves known.

Author Notes

Peter Kravitz lives in Scotland.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

In English-language literature these days, no place is hotter than Scotland. Booker Prize^-winner James Kelman (for How Late It Was, How Late, 1994) and Trainspotting (1993) author Irvine Welsh are the biggest names to date, but Alasdair Gray, Alison Fell, William McIlvanney, and many others will ring bells with assiduous fiction readers. Those and a huge roster of others are represented here, by either short stories or novel excerpts. Not many resemble Kelman and Welsh with their heavy Glasgow accents and preference for irascible, hopeless, and violent working and nonworking types, from furious civil servants and teachers to hungover layabouts and drug-sodden teens. For instance, Andrew Crumey is here with an excerpt from his philosophical fantasy Pfitz (1995). Editor Kravitz introduces everything with a history and assessment of the latest Scottish literary revival, which he sees as a reaction to the 1979 failure of Scotland to get its own, autonomous parliament; his essay by itself recommends the book to cultural trend watchers. --Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Until just the past decade, editor Kravitz states in his introduction, publishers in Scotland remained "more interested in resurrecting dead writers as opposed to looking for new ones." As recently as 1994, James Kelman's selection as the Booker Prize winner (for How Late It Was, How Late) sparked controversy in Britain and abroad, with some reviewers claiming that Kelman's phonetic Glasgow speech could be considered a foreign language. But new Scottish writers, led by Kelman and Irvine Welsh, are now a vibrant presence on the contemporary literary scene, giving voice to the Scottish urban working class. This compendious collection showcases writers who have made a splash abroad, but also ones known mostly to small reading groups in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Kelman is represented by an excerpt from "The Busconductor Hines," a surprisingly tender account of the daily life of a Glasgow bus conductor. A sampling from Welsh's Trainspotting comes as no surprise, but it's a trenchant selection. Subtitled "The First Shag in Ages," it follows junkie antihero Renton as he seeks female companionship, with tragicomic results. An excerpt from Janice Galloway's The Trick Is to Keep Breathing is the oblique testament of a woman edging toward despair. Alison Fell's "There's Tradition for You" is an absorbing monologue in the stream-of-consciousness vein. More conventional writers also have a place in the collection: Duncan Williamson's "Mary and the Seal" revisits a traditional folktale, and Brian McCabe's "Not About the Kids" employs a classic story arc, following a family man who wanders into strange territory. Seeking as broad a sampling as possible, Kravitz has chosen to include a staggering 47 writers, which guarantees some variation in quality and makes certain selections so short they barely leave an impression. Still, this collection testifies to the power and broad reach of the current generation of Scottish writers. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved