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Porno (Norton Paperback) Paperback – June 17, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: Norton Paperback
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (June 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393324508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393324501
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Porno, 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

Customer Reviews

The whole book is in first person, split up into short sections.
T. Burrows
The sequel to Welsh's "Trainspotting" brings back many of your favorite characters, from Rents to Spud to Begbie, as well as introduces some new characters.
Margarine Hype
Such sloppiness kind of mocks the written phonetic Scots excellence of Welsh's dialogue.
E.Jennings

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Before you read this book, you definitely must first read Welsh's first novel Trainspotting, and you should probably also read his last one, Glue. Porno is a direct sequel to Trainspotting, bringing back virtually all the characters some ten years later, and it's a semi-sequel to Glue, adding some of that book's characters into the mix, most notably "Juice" Terry Lawton and Rab Birrell. Porno will lack a great deal of depth and resonance for readers not familiar with those earlier books and their characters and settings.
And therein lies both Porno's attraction and minor disappointments. If you loved Trainspotting, reading Porno is very much like the experience of having seen a great band in a tiny club when they were just starting, and then seeing the same band ten years later in a large venue when they are more popular. They may still be amazing and play your favorite songs, but inevitably they've mellowed a touch, the intensity is isn't the same, and you get a little wistful. And to a certain extent, that's exactly what the book is about, aging, maturing, and getting over one's past. It's totally unfair to expect another Trainspotting from Welsh, an author can only write that passionate and electric a book once, and it's usually the first book they write. In any event, readers have had ten years to get used to reading Scots dialect and it's hard to conceive of what Welsh could write about that would be equally shocking as his heroin underworld.
In any event, Porno is a carefully plotted and constructed story, told in alternating first-person chapters by Sick Boy, his new lady Nikki Fuller-Smith, Spud, Begbie, and Renton. The central character is Sick Boy, who's seeking to reinvent himself as post-millenium entrepreneur, starting by making a porn film with his circle of acquaintances.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Robert D. Merkamp on June 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
Well, it's ten years after Mark Renton stole the loot the Trainspotting boys made off the drug sale and Begbie went to prison and his other "friends" Sick Boy and Spud are up to their normal routines. Sick Boy decides to leave London and go back to Leith and quickly falls in with a friend who's into porno. Sick Boy sees a career (and a ton of money for himself) and begins the scam to make himself rich. He digs up Renton and talks him into returning to help him and soon they begin scamming each other. Finally, Begbie gets out of prison (it hasn't mellowed him) and he's looking for Renton and his revenge.
The book is a high energy romp through a segment of the pornography business and Welsh keeps ratcheting up the tension as time goes on and the book approaches it's climax. Despite that, he continues to approach the topic (and his characters) with a good deal of humor. This is a real page turner and deserves to be picked up.
I've heard rumors of a movie being planned which would be great. Don't let the title mislead you, the book is not primarily about sex but rather the industry, the deals, and the crazy lives of the players. Many old Trainspotting favorites turn up (some briefly but often memorably) and the new characters are interesting to follow as well.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Acid House Reader on November 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Porno" is a rambunctious, high-energy, coked-up and stressed-out sequel to the much bleaker (and much better) junkie opera "Trainspotting", a story of a gang of Scots trying to make ends meet- perpetual losers, screwups, abusers, junkies and sluts that they are- in despair-ridden urban Scotland. This time around, Welsh takes us on a globe-hopping trip through the bright-n'-happy streets of London to the decadent Red Light District in Amsterdam, all the way to a French film festival, letting these whacked-out sociopaths roam free in a guilt-free environment. This is one metaphor for the change in the book- gone is the heroin-addled pathos of "Trainspotting", "Porno" embraces a sillier, stranger tones with dollops of surreal humor and the same working-class Scottish dialect Welsh fans have come to know and love. There are still some moments of heartbreak and disgust, as with any Welsh novel, but ostensibly (as one reviewer described it) "Porno" is "Seinfeld" on hard drugs, let loose in the ghettoes of Scotland. Which might not be such a bad thing after all.

After a sizeable hiatus from his grime-ridden criminal roots, Simon "Sick Boy" Williamson returns to his hometown of Edinburgh to start up a pub. With business as slow as ever, and cocaine, ecstasy and birds taking up his every breathing moment, thus preventing our scheming hero from getting anything done, Sick Boy gets a flash of inspiration: make a porno film, build an empire and make tons of cash. Our sleazy chum starts recruiting nubile young stars for his film "Seven Holes for Seven Brothers", including fantastically endowed local drunk Juice Terry Lawson, student-type raver Rab Birrel and a pretty young thing named Nikki Fuller-Lawson, whom Simon strikes up an affair with.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Emerick Rogul on March 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"Porno" picks up ten years after Trainspotting leaves off, with all of the characters that we know and love in a state of flux. Sick Boy (now preferring to go by his proper name, Simon David Williamson), has reinvented himself as a pornographic film "entrepreneur". Spud, still the bumbling and wasted (but always loveable) smackhead, has set out to write a proper history of Leith's working class. Begbie, newly released from a long prison sentence, is still as paranoid (and deadly) as ever. And Mark Renton is making a go of kicking "the gear" and starting a new life as a club owner in Amsterdam. Along with this familiar cast Welsh introduces many new characters (there's even a cross-over with some of the characters from Glue), the most interesting of which is Nikki Fuller-Smith, a bright college student who becomes a foil for Sick Boy.

Unlike Trainspotting, which was mainly Renton's story, "Porno" belongs to Sick Boy. This is his last (or just latest?), best scheme for finally making it. Like many of the characters here, Sick Boy has grown older and more jaded since the Trainspotting days. By convincing his friends to write, star in, film, and co-produce a porno (the hilariously cliched "Seven Rides for Seven Brothers") with him, he sees a final chance to capture the glory that's been eluding him for so long.
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