, Irvine Welsh's highly entertaining--though completely unnecessary--sequel to his cult classic, Trainspotting
, reunites the gang as they pursue another big-payoff scheme. It's been 10 years since Mark Renton walked away with the cash from a drug sale perpetrated by himself and his mates, Simon "Sick Boy" Williamson, Danny "Spud" Murphy, and Francis Begbie. The megalomaniacal Sick Boy has returned to Edinburgh, where stag film producer "Juice" Terry Lawson has given him the idea for a bold new scam: to locally produce a high-end adult film. Lawson introduces Sick Boy to the beautiful and egocentric Nikki Fuller-Smith, a student and aspiring star. Passivity and self-destructive tendencies have left well-meaning junkie Spud poor and alone, while time has only intensified the anger of the psychotic Begbie, who's fresh out of prison, back in Edinburgh, and obsessed with taking revenge on Renton. Sick Boy locates and persuades Renton, a successful club owner in Amsterdam, to help him steal money for his new production company. From the book's multiple points of view, it's soon clear that everyone's running their own scam, making conflicts--and long-awaited confrontations--inevitable.
Welsh's brutally honest prose and gallery of likeable ne'er-do-wells are in full display here, but the novel feels somewhat superfluous. Porno adds little insight into the characters or events of Trainspotting and fails to match its invention or sense of purpose. However, the author's obvious affection for these characters and dedication to authentically rendered dialogue and setting elevate Porno above mere slapdash reworking. As the novel builds momentum, Welsh wonderfully communicates the intense bravado driving his reckless characters. During such moments of vitality and humor, Porno is superficial but undeniably charming. --Ross Doll
From Publishers Weekly
The Trainspotting gang returns in a sequel to Welsh's cult novel, this time trying to scheme their way into the annals of adult entertainment. Ten years older, but criminally irresponsible as ever, Sick Boy, Renton, Begbie and Spud are still focusing on illicit drugs and seedy sex. Budding entrepreneur Sick Boy or Simon, as he prefers to be called now comes up with the brilliant idea of starting a porno flick company in Edinburgh, and hunts down Renton in Amsterdam, where his former friend owns a nightclub. With the help of Nikki Fuller-Smith, a ravishing and frustrated undergraduate film student and part-time sex worker aching for fame, the two begin filming and marketing their first movie, making it all the way to the top of the industry before the inevitable crash. Meanwhile, homicidal Begbie and pathetic Spud lurk in the background, waiting to crash the party. To boost the hormonal rush of the narrative, Welsh tells the story from different points of view, the thickness of the dialect varying convincingly from voice to voice (English Nikki quotes from Middlemarch, while the nearly incomprehensible Begbie says things like "Ah lits um go tae git the bat wi baith hands"). As has been noted many times, Welsh has an uncanny talent for dialogue, and his writing is often diamond sharp (a sexual encounter is described as "raging bull and mad cow get on board the love boat"). If this follow-up feels less urgent than the original, it is no reflection on Welsh, but rather on the growing familiarity of the terrain he has so inimitably staked out.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.