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Skagboys by Irvine Welsh

Skagboys (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Irvine Welsh

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157678,096 (4.01)18
Authors:Irvine Welsh
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 544 pages
Collections:British Fiction

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Skagboys by Irvine Welsh (2012)

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  1. 00
    Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh (falkman)
    falkman: for obvious reasons

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Indulge me a moment: when talking about the film "Prometheus," Damon Lindelof said that he wanted to write a film that wasn't 100% a prequel to "Alien," but was instead its own movie. He said that he didn't think the math should always add up. Now, because of that, "Prometheus" failed its audience. I feel a bit that way with this book, too. Don't get me wrong--it's still Welsh at his finest, tightest, and most mature. But does the Mark Renton at the end of this book add up to the Rentboy at the beginning of Trainspotting? I have to say no--this Mark Renton feels more-than that one. He's deeper, more spiritual, in fact, than the Renton that appears in Porno. And I think I get it--Welsh may be pointing to that very thing: what is lost from skag over time never comes back. Still, as a reader, the book feels more complete than the others, the characters seem more mature. I honestly have a hard time thinking of this Renton as the youngest one.
I have to be honest and say, too, that this book needed a stronger editing hand. It needed to be about 200 pages shorter. Here, again, this could be Welsh's point--the endless droning in if the cycle of poverty and self-destruction, but by about page 400, I said out loud, "Okay--we get it!"
All of that said, a 4 star Welsh novel is equal to a 5 star book by just about anyone else. I recommend it. Just don't feel disappointed if the math doesn't seem to add up completely with where you know Trainspotting starts. ( )
  JWarren42 | Oct 10, 2013 |
Has the distinct feeling of being either a contractual obligation and/or written for the money. While it is nice to get back to familiar characters, it just has a very light weight feel. It would have been nice to get a little more depth of character development. Why and how these guys ends up the way they did. Still a decent read, given Mr. Welsh's talent, just not even close to being his best work. ( )
  hhornblower | Aug 8, 2013 |
Really enjoyed Renton's recollection of the miner's strike during Thatcher reign; also treatment was a beautifully awful depiction. Sorry it had to end. ( )
  Joshuamurphy | Mar 29, 2013 |
This is the best book I have read in some time, I loved all the characters and at the same time found them appaling. It made me feel like I was there with them on their escapades both exciting and droll. This book is so real and the characters could be people I knew many years ago. I couldn't put the book down and even when I finished it the stories were alive in my head hammering on my skull. ( )
  pseymour | Oct 12, 2012 |
Vintage Welsh ( )
  stuartechambers | Aug 12, 2012 |
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'There is no such thing as society.'

Margaret Thatcher
'That Calvinistic sense of innate depravity and original sin from whose visitations, in some shape or other, no deeply thinking mind is wholly free.'

Herman Melville
In memory of Alan Gordon, 'the leader of the team',
and Stuart Russell and Paul Reekie,
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393088731, Hardcover)

Prequel to the best-selling phenomenon Trainspotting, this exhilarating and moving novel shows how Welsh’s colorful miscreants first went wrong.

Marked by Irvine Welsh’s scabrous humor and raw Scottish vernacular, Skagboys transports us to 1980s Edinburgh, where the Trainspotting crew is just getting started. Mark Renton has it all: the first in his family to attend university, he has a pretty girlfriend and a great social life. But when economic uncertainties and family problems intervene, Rent succumbs to the defeatism—not to mention the drug use—that has taken hold in Edinburgh’s tougher quarters. His friends are responding according to personality. Laid off, Spud Murphy is paralyzed in the face of long-term unemployment. Sick Boy, supreme manipulator of the opposite sex, is scamming and hustling for money and drugs. And meanwhile, psycho Franco Begbie is scaring the hell out of everyone. Darkly humorous, Skagboys gives a gritty and gripping portrait of a time, not unlike ours, when money was scarce, unemployment was high, and drugs seemed the answer.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:41 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Chronicles the misadventures of Mark Renton and his friends as they cope with economic uncertainties, family problems, drug use, and the opposite sex in 1980s Edinburgh.

(summary from another edition)

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