From Publishers Weekly
In Welsh's (Trainspotting) gritty proletarian universe, everyone from God to Madonna (the Material Girl, not the Virgin) speaks tough, working-class Scottish dialect: "That cunt Nietzsche wis wide ay the maark whin he sais ah wis deid," confides a prickly, pint-hefting Almighty in a Glasgow pub. "Ah'm no deid, ah jist dinnae gie a fuck." Nihilism and self-absorption characterize the nearly indistiguishable junkies, football hooligans and petty thieves who narrate these edgy, preponderantly first-person stories and one novella. Like fellow Scot James Kelman (whose salty vernacular Welsh's dialogue echoes), Welsh's predatory characters are society's dregs, hard-luck losers pinned to seediness by the empire's decline and by their own low expectations. The plots address this unrelenting grimness with shocking violence or twisted comedy. With the former, Welsh lacks Kelman's chilling incisiveness and tense dramatic control; he's somewhat more successful at broad satire and manic, high-concept humor. When it works, it's hilarious: "Where the Debris Meets the Sea" features inventive turnabout, as fanzines and tabloid TV programs about Scottish lorrie drivers feed the sexual fantasies of Madonna and friends. More often, though, the satire lacks teeth, descending instead to weak sarcasm. The title story's inspired premise (an acid tripping malcontent and a yuppie couple's newborn swap souls) fizzles out in conventional, trite pokes at political correctness, men's groups and upward mobility. Author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
says Fiona when she flips on the light in Keith's tank. Keith has no body, but his brain is alive. and what about you, dear reader? Heads up, because here is Irvine Welsh and The Acid House
, a collection of brilliant energy. These stories both challenge and illuminate the darkest of human experience, leavening horror with humor and a sudden, sly compassion.” (Kathryn Harrison, author of Exposure
“I like The Acid House
immensely. Irvine Welsh is the real thing - a marvelous admixture of nihilism and heartbreak, pinpoint realism (especially in dialect and tone) and almost archetypal universality.” (David Foster Wallace, author of Infinite Jest
“Like a master pocket billiards player, Irvine Welsh, with smooth, gliding strokes and a shard-like humor, sinks a rack of short stories one by one, with chaotic caroms, double banks, and, most of all, extraordinary uses of tricky English.” (Jim Carroll, author of The Basketball Diaries
“Superb. Amis and Donleavy have at last found a rightful heir.” (Terry Southern, author of Candy
“[O]ne of the most significant writers in Britain. He writes with style, imagination, wit, and force, and in a voice which those alienated by much current fiction clearly want to hear.” (Times Literary Supplement