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Ecstasy Paperback – August 17, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (August 17, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393315819
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393315813
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

With three wickedly funny and harrowing tales of love and its ups and downs, the ever-surprising Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting, virtually re-invents a new genre of fiction: the chemical romance. In "Lorraine goes to Livingston," a best-selling author of Regency romances, paralysed and bedridden, plans her revenge on a gambling, whoring husband with the aid of her nurse, Lorraine. In "Fortunes's Always Hiding," flawed beauty Samantha Worthington enlists a smitten young soccer thug to find the man who marketed the drug that crippled her from birth - in order to give him a taste of his own disastrous medicine. In the upbeat final tale, "The Undefeated," we experience the transfiguring passion of the miserably married young yuppie Heather and the raver Lloyd from Leith - a grand affair played out to a house music beat.

From Publishers Weekly

The ecstasy involved in rave-writer Welsh's three novellas at first may seem exclusively the chemical kind ("e," "ecky," "MDMA") downed at Dionysian dance parties by alienated post-Thatcher youth and nearly every character here. But Welsh's latest misfits are also looking (however incoherently) for a higher ecstasy too: in a half-articulated credo, one eckied-out character thinks: "you had to party harder than ever.... It was your duty to show that you were still alive. Political sloganeering and posturing meant nothing; you had to celebrate the joy of life." Meantime, though, they are hooked on other drugs, petty crime, pub brawls, casual/kinky sex and bodice-buster novels. "Lorraine Goes to Livingston: A Rave and Regency Romance," the weakest of the three novellas, mixes Will Self-style grotesque social satire with an increasingly sick parody of trashy paperbacks. Welsh's own version of true love goes even farther over the top in "Fortune's Always Hiding" as a sociopathic Cockney criminal falls for a woman deformed by a thalidomide-like drug and they take gruesome revenge on its corporate manufacturers. The last and best, "The Undefeated," presents modern love in Edinburgh as a "chemical romance" between the party-addict Lloyd, whose acidified life consists only of weekend house bashes, and straight-peg Heather, who trades her bougie existence for e. Ecstasy exports Welsh's pitch-perfect slang, black humor and surreal imagination in an exhilarating, mutable style like the written equivalent of techno music, cutting right through to his characters' lives.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
I'd heard this collection of "three tales of chemical imbalance" weren't so good, so it was a pleasant surprise to find myself quite enjoying them all. Within each of the three "stories" there are multiple plot lines running with entertaining characters abounding. A listing of the subtitle of each story hints at this: "A Rave and Regency Romance," "A Corporate Drug Romance" and "An Acid House Romance." Amok with explicit drugs and sex, these are clearly love stories for youth, and yet they all celebrate rather traditional notions of love and falling in love. I found the combination very pleasing, although others might find it a bit forced perhaps even cheezy. What is lacking is the dense dialect of Trainspotting which might make it more accessible reading for some.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 24, 1996
Format: Paperback
I read Trainspotting (first) and Ecstasy (second) while
travelling through Ireland and Scotland this summer. I was
intrigued by the endorsement of Trainspotting which claimed
it to be "The best book ever written by any man or woman --
deserves to sell more copies than the Bible." I figured I'd
give it a try. I'm glad I did. Trainspotting was one of the
best books I've read this year. A truly stomach-turning trip
through the world of heroin addiction. Ecstasy, on the other
hand, seems like a re-hash of a topic Mr. Welsh has visited
too often (even though this is only his fourth book.)
Ecstasy squeezes 3 stories into less than 275 pages (at
least in the UK version.) That leaves you with under-
developed characters and some who are too far-fetched to
believe. The stories just seem to start and not really go
anywhere -- and then just end. What's more, Ecstasy's descriptions of the effects
of drugs fall short of Trainspotting's heroin ride. Irvine
Welsh is a talented writer, but it doesn't show as much
in this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By gonn1000 on April 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
Irvine Welsh, of "Trainspotting" fame, delivers three edgy stories that are somehow related to one single element: ecstasy. In "Lorraine Goes to Livingston", the author offers a multi-layered, sometimes confusing tale about love and the twisted nature of some people. "Fortune`s Always Hiding" is a powerful and unsettling revenge story that resembles Quentin Tarantino`s movies at parts, due to its explicit violence, badass characters, non-linear storytelling and a very acid sense of humor. "The Undefeated" focuses on the relationship between a yuppie woman and a bohemian, messed up man. Altough far from a masterpiece, "Ecstasy" is a fun and enticing read nonetheless, presenting an author with a personal, recognizable, harsh, direct and gritty style. This book is not for everyone, but those who enjoy this kind of stuff may find it compelling.
Deserves a look.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. L. Walker on October 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book contains three stories that revolve around romance and Ecstasy among other things.
Lorraine Goes to Livingston is the first story. It was titled a "Rave and Regency" romance. Famed regency romance novel writer Rebecca Navarro (who writes stories such as Lucy Goes to Liverpool and Yasmin Goes to Yeovil) has a stroke, which jolts her out of her dreamworld. When she actually takes a look at reality, she realizes that her husband is a prick who's using her for her money, and he uses her money for all forms of debauchery. She, along with the help of a nurse -- Lorraine, plan revenge on her dear husband.
This was my favorite story in the whole book. The next two stories are powerful, especially the one following this one, but this one held the most value to me. When you first meet Rebecca, you don't really like her much, but you feel empathy for her. And Lorraine is one of those characters that you can relate to. She's a single woman who has questions about her sexuality and wishes that everyone would stop trying to force love down her throat. Then, of course with this being your typical Irvine story, you have drug abuse, raves, and some bizarre sex practices (bestiality and necrophilia for this particular story).
Fortune's Always Hiding is the second story and is subtitled "A Corporate Drug Romance". The story revolves around a woman, who was the unfortunate victim of a drug marketed in the 60's, and a man, who's obsessed with soccer (or fitba, as they commonly say ;Þ). The woman is hell-bent on revenge and the man is in love and would do anything for her.
Another powerful story revolving around revenge, but this time it's against a big corporation who refuses to take responsibility for destroying people's lives.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Emma Dilemma on July 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
when people speak of shock writers Welsh is brought up for good reson... his stories are like seeing a car accident... you don't want to look but something tell you that you must... his stories twist and turn, and so do the characters, through hospitals, clubs and the streets of England. Americans be warned this is a book sometimes hard to follow because of the diction... but as in all of his work, Welsh will leave you speechless in the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bubblyhayhay on March 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
Irvine Welsh takes the readers creature comforts and beats him or her over the head with them.

This book is divided into three short stories about chemical romance:

Lorraine Goes To Livingston - this story was just bizarre

Fortune Always Hiding - a tender story about backwards love and

The Undefeated - my favourite out of them all with a surprising ending.

Irvine Welsh delivers romance with urgency in this fast read.
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More About the Author

Irvine Welsh is the author of Trainspotting, Ecstasy, Glue, Porno, Filth, Marabou Stork Nightmares, The Acid House, If You Liked School, You'll Love Work, The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs and Reheated Cabbage. He divides his time between Florida, Ireland, and Scotland.

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