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Trainspotting Hardcover – October 1, 2002
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“Blisteringly funny.... Don't abandon everything for the movie. It's worth making the effort with Trainspotting ?not merely because relatively few writers have rummaged through this particular enclave of British youth culture, but because even fewer have dug there so deeply.” (New York Times Book Review)
“It is funny, unflinchingly abrasive, authentic, and inventive, unerringly on―and off―the pulse. It is a true cult, the kind of novel you press on perfect strangers. It validates a world fiction hasn't recognized before.” (Times Out)
“Irvine Welsh writes with skill, wit, and compassion that amounts to genius. He is the best thing that has happened to British writing in decades.” (Nick Hornby - Sunday Times)
“Irvine Welsh may become one 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)
“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) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Most likely you've already seen the movie before deciding whether or not to read the book. Be forewarned, however; John Hodge's screenplay is a masterful job of bringing continuity to a series of stories that are in fact only loosely related. The book "Trainspotting" is comprised of a series of short stories previously published independently in various periodicals over a stretch of time...the stories deal with the same core of characters, but that is really all that ties them together. You will probably find that Danny Boyle's job of directing the "Trainspotting" movie looks even more impressive after reading even a quarter of the book.
The book does focus on a set of wrong-side-of-the-track friends involved with drugs, alcohol, petty crime, and anything else they can find to take their minds off their completely unfulfilling lives. An added challenge (and a fair extent of the book's charm) is that the book's dialogue and first-person narrative are written in the author's native Edinburgh dialect, making the book perhaps more accessible to Robert Burns scholars than the average non-Scots English speaker. However, there is a glossary in the back of the book that is rather helpful...and my personal recommendation is to read the book out loud whenever possible (I don't know why, but whenever I did this, the written words made more sense when heard as an audible accent).
If you liked the movie at all, the book is for you.Read more ›
1. The Randomness. There is no plot. This is a book about real people, and real people have no plot in their lives. Especially not these people. And by switching POV, you get to see everything. The movie attempts this with Begbie's throwing-the-glass sequence, but it does no justice.
2. The Phonetic Spelling. Granted, this book is hard to read, incomparably. But this facet holds up the entire book. You can't get to know a person until you know how they talk - more than that, how they SPEAK each and every word. Also - the slang! You will talk better than any cat you ken, likesay?
3. The Personality. You really get to know at least 4 or 5 people in this book, and you like them. Renton the most, then probably Sick Boy, then Begs, then Spud, and the rest of the motley crew. The constantly-switching narrative never says upfront who's speaking, so you learn to identify the gang by speech tags - Hombre for Begbie, Catboy for Spud, the man Sean Connery in general for Sick Boy, and . . . well, let's just say that by the end of the book I could TELL when it was Rents talking. I knew his voice.
4. The Cult Nature. It's everywhere...underground. Lots of online fan bases. It's fun.
5. The Subculture. Face it, how many of us have shot up heroin in a moldy flat in the slums of Edinburgh? With a really intense accent? This book painstakingly shows you a whole new world, literally. And you come out knowing a lot more about drugs.
6. The Message. Trainspotting is a multiple choice question. Here's what happens if you do, here's what happens if you don't. The only judgements in the book come from the characters themselves.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very poor writing style with only a passing familiarity with the elements of style, grammar, diction, etc..Published 4 months ago by JetBlack
It is a good book once you get used to the slang terminology used to write it. The book is largely about a group of friends and their use of heroin.Published 9 months ago by Tom Pierson
I couldn't stand this book. The entire book is written in a Scottish accent. I couldn't get past it.Published 10 months ago by Beverly Steele
Had seen the film, had to read the book. If you like dialects and learning Scottish slang, you may just enjoy Trainspotting. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Jennifer Porter