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If You Liked School, You'll Love Work [Kindle Edition]

Irvine Welsh
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Irvine Welsh, the author of Trainspotting, is up to his old tricks with his new work of transgressive short fiction.

Irvine Welsh's first short-story collection since his debut work The Acid House presents five extraordinary stories, which remind us that he is a master of the short form, a brilliant storyteller, and—unarguably—one of today's funniest and most subversive writers. In "Rattlesnakes" three young Americans, lost in the desert, are accosted by two armed Mexicans. A Korean chef and a Chicago socialite find themselves connected through the disappearance of a pooch named Toto in "The D.O.G.S. of Lincoln Park." And in the title story, Mickey Baker—an ex-pat English bar owner living on the Costa Brava—tries to keep all of his balls in the air: maintaining his barmaid's weight at the sexual maximum, attending to the youthful Persephone, and dodging his ex-wife and Spanish gangsters.

In typically Welshian fashion, the characters and settings are anything but typical. These stories will make you laugh and gasp.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The author of Trainspotting gives a master class in gallows humor in his first story collection since The Acid House (1995). Three of the five stories take place in the U.S., and Welsh relishes punishing ugly Americans. In Rattlesnakes, a trio of vapid hedonists lost in the desert are forced to perform sexually degrading acts by an unhinged illegal immigrant, while The DOGS of Lincoln Park finds a bitchy Chicago princess throwing a hissy fit over her missing papillon, Toto, who she fears has landed in her Korean neighbor's crock pot. Page-turners both, but the characters are too easily satirized. More likable is the narrator of Miss Arizona, an aspiring auteur whose interviews with his filmmaker hero's ex-wife turn increasingly creepy. Welsh shines in the title story, about an ex-pat skirt-chasing bar owner in the Canary Islands, and the novella, The Kingdom of Fife, set in a glum Scotland town. Narrative duties in the last are shared by wee Jason King, a former jockey and current compulsive masturbator and table football champion, and Jenni Cahill, a horse jumper and local gangster's daughter. That a story featuring a gruesome decapitation, dogfighting, equine death and rampant wanking can produce such an amiable effect is testament to Welsh's delightful degeneracy. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Vigorous, stunningly funny...whimsical, warm, surreal, grotesque and brilliant" Guardian "Irvine Welsh is a terrific mimic... This collection of stories is a chorus of voices - rude, rough, discordant, filthy and often very, very funny. It's a pleasure to watch him larking about with the language... Brilliant" The Times "This new collection is a rambunctious return to the glory days of Trainspotting... Dazzlingly diverse... Sick and vigorous, written with Welsh's inimitable in-yer-face energy" Sunday Telegraph "This smutty, macabre collection exudes a compelling energy" Daily Mail "Scary, erotic and extremely funny" Literary Review

Product Details

  • File Size: 535 KB
  • Print Length: 402 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 039333077X
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (December 12, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006GH9MFA
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #658,332 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Jock in America November 28, 2007
I'm a big fan of Mr. Welsh's work, it displays an exuberance and lust for language that's intoxicating. IF YOU LIKED a bit of a misfire, a collection of stories of uneven quality. The problem is, the author decided to set some of his tales in America and tried to adopt or, more rightly, imitate American speech patterns and accents. The weakest story, "Miss Arizona" is particularly guilty of this offense and the resolution to this tale is so weak, predictable and derivative,you wonder what the writer was thinking. The closing novella, "Kingdom of Fife", finds the author back on familiar ground, hobnobbing with losers and thugs and sex maniacs, the brogue so thick and heavy it's like reading CANTERBURY TALES in the original Olde English (and nearly as rewarding). "Fife" is vintage Irvine Welsh--he's not posing or pretending, he's telling it like it is, the only way he knows how.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irvine Welsh strikes again February 18, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
if you like his books, you'll love this one! almost everything i've read is great! can't wait for the next book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Okay but uneven January 26, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had looked for this book at libraries for a long time and finally decided to buy it. I have not read anything by Welsh before and so had expectations besides that the title was funny. I enjoyed these stories/novells and for the most part was sad when each ended. But looking back, was it wonderful writing? No. It was good writing, but uneven.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Chemical romance on holiday, in concert, and at work. February 25, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Irvine Welsh is known for his chemical romance genre novels and short stories. These narratives are both tragic, comedic, and as strange as any trip taken by an unreconstructed hippie or soccer hooligan. Even if you are not familiar with the drug milieu, the detailed and developed characters will feel all too real.

Enjoy anything written by this author and include this work in your library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why So Harsh??? This Is Good!!! March 3, 2008
I don't understand why there are so many negative reviews here, this is not bad stuff at all, it is typical Irvine Welsh work, not bad at all. If you know what to expect from Welsh, then you should be pleased with the works here.

These short stories are pretty fantastic, especially the opener "Rattlesnakes", a Welsh classic. As for the rest, I am partial to "DOGS of Licoln Park, because being from the Chicagoland area, he captures the setting phenominally, especially considering he is from over-seas.

Overall, this is not his best work (read "Filth", or "Trainspotting", especially if you are a Welsh virgin), but it deserves more acclaim than the harsh reviews laid out here. His novels are better??? Fact. But for 9/10 authors most reviewers will say the same thing. For some reason people just don't gravitate towards the short story anymore, and thats a shame. Give it a try.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Irvine, what happened to you? April 30, 2008
Irvine Welsh means to shock, but usually there is a point to it all. Previously, he's written short stories about such cheery subjects as armless, grown-up Thalidomide babies using chainsaws to cut off the arms of the people that created Thalidomide, and a guy who, after he's been fired, his girlfriend has dumped him and his parents have at long last kicked him out, gets turned into a fly by God and as a fly wreaks revenge on those who have wronged him, along the way seeing such things as his mother doing unto his father with a strap-on. But even those stories contain Welsh's trademark humor and observations about society. So what has happened to Irvine Welsh?

The first story, about a road trip gone horribly wrong, is a set-up in search of a story. There's no point, there isn't an ending, and the racial stereotyping is offensive even for Irvine Welsh. The second story, about a bar owner in the Bahamas who treats women as disposable, is really long and has no apparent point. After that, I pretty much gave up. No humor, no real commentary on life... not even anything particularly shocking. More Howard Stern than Irvine Welsh and not worth the bother even if you're an Irvine Welsh fan.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Occasionally brilliant September 10, 2007
If you are 25 pages into a book and the protagonist has his "wee felly doonstairs" bitten by a rattlesnake in the middle of the desert so that his friend has to suck out the poison under the watchful eyes of two Mexican criminals who accidentally hit upon the charming panorama..., odds are that you are reading Irvine Welsh.

Yet the first story is not actually a good way to introduce this book. It is the only example of the sickness-for-sickness-sake that has plagued many of Welsh's recent efforts. But fortunately, the other four stories to varying degrees see Welsh back in old form. When he takes the time to endow his characters with emotional and psychological depth, we know that Welsh is the master of creating the most politically incorrect, hilariously funny, pathetic, deeply tragic and yet perfectly real-world people that you just can't stop reading about. And as always, much of the beauty and the fun lies in the casual unfolding of events that will outrun the imagination of even an experienced Welsh reader.

My rating for the bundle is necessarily an average, but Welsh lovers cannot miss this one. Especially the last story (that covers almost half the book) ranks with his best work, ya hoor, sor!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars What the heck is this???
I am first going to mention that this is the first book I ever put down with no intention of ever returning to it. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Caponomics
2.0 out of 5 stars Hodge meets podge
I've read pretty much every Welsh book, thoroughly enjoying them all (aside from Maribou Stork Nightmares, which despite repeated attempts I simply cannot get into, and cannot... Read more
Published on December 28, 2008 by Rob Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars The "air-con" thing really, really grates
The "air-con" mis-step appears in the first couple of pages of at least two of the pieces. I am writing this here because I specifically googled to see how many others had caught... Read more
Published on May 29, 2008 by barry A 1 bypass
2.0 out of 5 stars Bad
This is the first Irvine Welsh book I've struggled to finish. The stories are trite, the attempt at capturing American accents falls flat and overall the whole thing just... Read more
Published on February 6, 2008 by F. L. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars If you liked school you will love work
The last of the five short stories was with out a doubt the funniest I have ever read of all Irvine's books. Read more
Published on January 7, 2008 by Suzanne
3.0 out of 5 stars A slight return to form for Welsh
I read Welsh's last book ('Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs') and was disappointed. With 'If you liked school...' he returns to good form a wee bit. Read more
Published on November 3, 2007 by Munko McCentral
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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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