Living in a no-bedroomed tenement flat, coping with the cold and boredom of busconducting and the bloody-mindedness of Head Office, knowing that emigrating to Australia is only an impossible dream, Robert Hines finds life to be a very perplexing kettle of coconuts. The compensations are a wife and child, and a gloriously anarchic imagination.
The Busconductor Hines is a brilliantly executed, uncompromising slice of the Glasgow scene, a portrait of working-class life which is unheroic but humane....Continua
It's a first slice of Kelman for me. I opted to shy away from Booker winner 'How late it was, how late' and start at the very beginning. I'm glad I did - I had no preconceptions when starting 'The Busconducter Hines' and expected nothing from it, and what I found was a wonderful slice of life at a particular social-economic time. It's a book essentially about hope and failure, of trying to attain but not finding the desire there. Of falling into circumstance and staying there. Frustratingly the book doesn't really resolve the plot, but that is a deliberate reflection of Kelman's message - at the end, Hines is still in the same situation, still resolved to change but still working the buses.
The only criticism (and the relatively low rating) is due to its meandering plot. It never feels fully set in place and as a result tends to be something of a struggle to read. The message of the story has been told before - and better - but it is still a very enjoyable book in itself....Continua