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A Scottish musical adolescent adrift in the USA

Dirt Road - James Kelman


This novel centres around Murdo, a 16-year-old Scottish lad from the islands, who travels to the US with his father to stay with an uncle in Kentucky after his mother has died from cancer. This follows the death of his sister several years earlier. Murdo doesn't talk much nor does his father and they barely communicate with each other.


Murdo is a musician playing in bands back home and it is music, playing or listening, which is his sole joy. The novel deals with how he deals with his loss and finds solace in music.


Overlong in my opinion, the writing mainly consists of Murdo's thoughts as he deals with family, a new country and environment, new friends and relatives.