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Reheated Cabbage: Tales of Chemical Degeneration Paperback – September 14, 2009
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Pre-order today
From Publishers Weekly
Welsh returns to the world of drug-ingesting, lager-swigging and fitba-loving Scotsmen in this hilarious collection from his Trainspotting years. The material may be old, but the slang still sings in these stories of scrappers attempting to become lords of whatever tiny domain they can conquer. There's Trainspotting's volatile Begbie, at his mom's house for Christmas and trying to endure his sister's new beau in Elpseth's Boyfriend. In A Fault on the Line, Malky doesn't want to let anything—not even a horrific accident—stop him from missing the kickoff of a footie match. These stories of blustering, emotionally befuddled men and the luckless women who love them also includes less traditional (for Welsh) fare, like The Rosewell Incident, in which an alien race learns about Earth culture from a Scottish hood, and I Am Miami, about a retired Scottish school teacher who runs into a pair of disgruntled former pupils in Miami. Welsh shines most brilliantly when portraying his solipsistic Scots head-butting the rock-hard ceiling in hopes of escaping, be it through booze, drugs, soccer or sex, from a violent world that offers little peace but plenty of humor. (Sept.)
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“The lilting Scottish dialect, appalling scenarios, and high humor make for a totally entertaining collection.”
- Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist
“A hilarious collection…Welsh shines most brilliantly when portraying his solipsistic Scots head-butting the rock-hard ceiling in hopes of escaping, be it through booze, drugs, soccer or sex, from a violent world that offers little peace but plenty of humor.”
- Publishers Weekly
Top customer reviews
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Irvine Welsh is the greatest writer who ever lived. If you're interested in finding out why--- i suggest this order::: glue, trainspotting, porno, filth, crime, bedroom secrets----- and then check out the story collections.
If you're familiar with Juice Terry & friends-- then just get this. you'll like it.
Could Welsh be considered also a practitioner of the current Scottish school of tartan noir writing? I would say so: most of these stories are violent, bloody, grisly, and laced with profanity: yet they are scathingly funny, with the darkest of Scots humor. His characters, none of whom seem to be burdened with jobs, are still, somehow, getting lots and lots of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. The stories are largely written in dialect, for which the author has a pitch perfect ear: they are somewhat more difficult to read through than I, for one, would have liked, but, believe me, I haven't a drop of Scots blood, and I didn't find them that difficult. The author's imagination doesn't flag; stories rise to the heights of absurdity, and fall to the depths of depravity. The author's command of the ambiance of his home city is, of course, absolute.
Fans of the author's previous work will find some familiar faces in this collection. The novella, "I Am Miami," which does seem to present an unexpected softer side of the author, reacquaints us with "Juice" Terry Lawson and now internationally famous DJ Carl Ewart, the main characters from the 2001 "Glue," as they meet up with, in Miami, their old enemy and schoolteacher Albert Black, now retired. The volatile drunk Francis Begbie, of "Trainspotting," is back, angry as ever, as star and narrator of "Elspeth's Boyfriend." In "State of the Party," two friends high on LSD drag the corpse of a recently overdosed young friend across town, and get into a fight with some heat-seeking soccer hooligans. In "Victor Spoils," Gavin and Victor fight over a young woman getting her teeth pulled, as the dentist is sexually aroused by her mouth. In "A Fault on the Line," a young husband whose wife is emergency-room bound after losing her legs to a train station accident, wants only to be dropped off at home so he can catch the day's big game, Hibs versus Herts. In "The Rosewell Incident," a venture into science fiction, we learn why the inter-galactic aliens think in and speak the Scots inflected English of these young men, and plan to put them in charge of the planet.
Welsh's world isn't for everyone, what with one thing and another, but for those seeking the offbeat and the unexpected, here it is, and welcome to it. I don't think I'd personally want to meet any of these young men, but they sure are fun within the pages of a book.
Probably the highlight of this collection for me was the return of one of literatures truly 'nasty pieces of work', Frank Begbie. Reading 'Elspeth's Boyfriend,' I found myself laughing one minute and then filled with tension the next, wondering if 'Franko' was going to explode in a sickening act of violence - something this psychopath does quite often. Welsh is able to portray the Scottish Hard-Man in a genuinely comical way, but always with an undercurrent of extreme menace. Begbie is a truly disturbing character - but great fun to read about.
Another highlight for me was 'Fault on the Line.' This story is short but sweet. I found it very reminiscent of that classic from the Acid House, 'Disnae Matter.' I love to read and it's very unusual of me to laugh out aloud, but I found myself fully cracking up during this story.
If you enjoy science fiction, then it's a safe bet you've never read anything as original as 'The Rosewell Incident' before. How can you resist a story about a group of extra-terrestrial beings who are addicted to Embassy Regal. And a plot which consists of a group of football 'Casuals' who are installed as the new rulers of the planet earth. This one is proof of Irvine Welsh's truly devious imagination.
Plenty more good stuff here which I won't go into now, just to say that it's all very strong material.
If you're an Irvine Welsh fan then don't hesitate to go out and buy this book to add to your collection. If you're new to Welsh, then this is a great introduction to his work. (Most of the stories here were written in the early nineties at the beginning of his writing career.) Great job to Irvine Welsh and his publishers for gathering these stories together, because I would never have been able to enjoy them otherwise. Enjoy!