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Filth Paperback – September 17, 1998
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Our hero, Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson, is a cross between Harvey Keitel in Bad Lieutenant and John Belushi in Animal House. His task is to nab a killer who has brained the son of the Ghanaian ambassador, but bigoted Bruce is more urgently concerned with coercing sex from teenage Ecstasy dealers, planning vice tours of Amsterdam, and mulling over his lurid love life. He's also got a tapeworm, whose monologue is printed right down the middle of many pages. Here's one of this unusually articulate parasite's realizations: "My problem is that I seem to have quite a simple biological structure with no mechanism for the transference of all my grand and noble thoughts into fine deeds."
Welsh's real strength is comic tough talk and inventive slang. The murder mystery helps organize his tendency to sprawl, but the engine of his art is wry, harsh dialogue. At one point, his books hogged the entire top half of Scotland's Top Ten Bestsellers list--and half the buyers of Trainspotting had never bought a book before. The reason is not that Welsh is the best novelist who ever got short-listed for the Booker Prize. It is that he is that rarest of phenomena, an original voice. --Tim Appelo
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
The protagonist Bruce Robertson seems sociopathic at the outset. He is a mean and cruel man, unable to empathize with others, and who entertains himself with the misery of others. He does not seem to have a noble sentiment in him, and he leads a filthy life of cruelty and debauchery. But Robertson is not a reliable narrator, even when it comes to himself. He believes himself to be this sociopathic monster, when in reality, he's a better person than he believes himself to be. Sometimes his more noble aspects slip out. More often, he's gratuitously cruel. Over time, we realize that Robertson is not really a sociopath at all, but that he actually suffers from depression.
This depression is brought on, and made worse by Robertson's inability to release his emotions. He fills his spare time with alcohol, drugs, and sex to avoid thinking about the horrors he has confronted on his job as a police man, such as grisly murders and child abuse. He constructs a tough façade so that he does not have to confront his feelings about his wife and daughter who have left him, or about his rough childhood.Read more ›
"Trainspotting" is about the junkies, "Marabou Stork Nightmares" is about the thugs, and now we see the point of view of a policeman in "Filth."
Irvine Welsh does a little more chiseling away at our xenophobia, he creates characters that are so lifelike they jump off the pages at you. "Filth" is about a nasty cop, but you almost find yourself rooting for him, hoping he gets his promotion, and that he can keep his superiors happy. Irvine Welsh has been called the voice of the chemical generation, and drugs are commonly dispersed in the plots of his novels, but that is all beside the point. His social commentary, and perspective are invaluable. A naturally gifted "writer" who keeps you turning the pages, following characters that seem all too familiar.
As far as a brief synopsis of the novel, read the back cover, i wouldnt want to give anything away. It's a must read....along with his previous two novels, and "ecstacy," and "The Acid House"
Irvine Welsh is still young for a novelist, Dostaevski didnt write his best work until he was in his 60's, same goes with bukowski, burroughs, other authors that may interest you if you like irvine welsh.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The last 20% of the book was so intense! Now I know why the director didn't have the actors read the book first--gut wrenching.Published 17 days ago by Amazon Customer
One of my favorite books now! Wish I still had my copy. My ex girlfriend stole it from me.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Wearing me out...keep waiting for something interesting to happen...doesn't appear that it will. Was humorous at first, but now it is just never ending.Published 2 months ago by Tim H.
Incredibly twisted book but absolutely fascinating. Not for the light of heart. One of the best books I've ever read!Published 7 months ago by Diana Mejia
I'm sure this book is for someone, but not me. I couldn't get over the slang used in this book, given i'm not native to the U.K, the slang sounded like complete gibberish to me. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Matthew
Very sick, the feeling of filth is gradually and overwhelmingly built through several channels of perception, unbelievably professionally. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Noreetachan