Paperback review: Mo Said She Was Quirky, By James Keiman


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The Independent Culture

Helen is from Glasgow, works as a croupier in a London casino; on her way home one morning, she catches sight of a homeless man who she's sure is her long-lost brother, Brian.

Before she can react, the taxi has moved on. So she goes back to her tiny flat, tries to sleep, reflects on her past, her family, her boyfriend Mo, her six-year-old daughter Sophie, and on men, life, and the daily struggle for existence. The third-person narration, in Kelman's brilliantly naturalistic style, follows every twist and turn of Helen's thought for 24 hours, until she returns from the casino next day and sees the man again. Her perceptions are sharp, sweet, clever, mundane, startling, witty, poignant and humane – it's reminiscent of Molly Bloom's soliloquy in Ulysses, but more fun to read.