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Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

Trainspotting (1993)

by Irvine Welsh

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Trainspotting (1)

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6,63368981 (4.02)278
"The best book ever written by man or woman...deserves to sell more copies than the Bible."-"Rebel, Inc."

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» See also 278 mentions

English (63)  Finnish (2)  Spanish (2)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (68)
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
I bought this book on offer together with another book, but it was a big mistake. I bought it because on the cover someone was quoted as saying that “it was the best book ever written”; and I neglected to read any of it; had I done so I would never have purchased it.

It is written in some sort of Scottish dialect and the text is filled with the same specific obscene words; I can’t mention them or Amazon will refuse to post the review.

I am myself Scottish but though I have never spoken any such dialect I found it easily comprehensible. Perhaps everyone will.

However, it makes the book unappealing to read. Perhaps it is the best book ever written, but I’ll never find out. Perhaps it is the most vulgar book ever written.

Buy it at your peril. One star. ( )
  IonaS | Apr 26, 2020 |
Should be 5-stars (and many of my 5-star books should be 6-stars).

This book is flawless, it's a great piece. The form - a collection of short stories piled together to make a narrative - is excellent. The tone is perfect.... it's just spot on. ( )
  GirlMeetsTractor | Mar 22, 2020 |
This book makes me think of really poorly photoshopped images. ( )
  Adammmmm | Sep 10, 2019 |
'Trainspotting' starts off more like a collection of short stories sharing the same characters than one cohesive story - this being about a group of working class Scottish junkies and their world. But, in the end, I think its clear who the story is revolving around.

The book largely reminded me of Sarah Orne Jewett's 'The Country of the Pointed Firs'. On the surface they have absolutely nothing in common, but I kept making links between the two.

Jewett's book, written in the late 19th century, is about a young woman writer spending the summer in a small coastal Maine town in economic decline. There is never a change in narrator but each chapter is episodic and could largely stand on its own.

Welsh explores the desperation of economic decline (among other things) and allows his characters to express their anger, lack of hope, and act in ways only those who feel they've lost all options can act. There is a greater story arc surrounding Renton, but the novel could easily be sold as a story collection.

The most significant connection though was the use of language. Or I should say their legitimization of dialect. Jewett's narrator is an educated woman who speaks and writes in standard English, but the rest of the characters are Mainers of the old school. Their dialect is more subtle than Welsh's Scots, but having a host of Great Aunts and Uncles in Maine I recognized the language immediately.

The voices in 'Trainspotting' were vividly clear. Jewett's book is an achievement on much lesser scale, but her book and characters are also limited a great deal by their times (though I have a feeling her Mrs.Todd would heartily agree with Alison and Kelly's feminism). Welsh is harsh, funny, sobering, and surprising.

The further I got into it, my early complaints about the scattered nature of the book disappeared. Every aside Welsh introduces informs the rest of the book. I ended up being unable to put the book down for its last half. It ends on such a perfect note I don't think I want to see how Welsh continued it with 'Porno'. It's rare that an author can revisit such fully described and placed characters without taking something away. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
I had to re-read this after seeing the wild Trainspotting Live Off-Broadway. I’d forgotten the overarching sadness in the story, the result of the hollowness of heroin addiction, HIV infection and death. Mark Renton is the main character. He and his friends in Edinburgh fight, drink, steal, defraud the government; and some use heroin. Renton cleans up from time to time, and avoids sharing needles, but every aspect of his life is touched by heroin addiction – his and his friend’s.

The narrative is loose, disjointed at times, appropriate to their lives. The narration is often in Scottish dialogue which takes some getting used to. Like Shakespeare, the more you read the easier it gets. That’s just the dialogue though. The story gets harder to read as Renton and his friends succumb to addiction and bad decisions. Some pull out of it, others don’t. ( )
1 vote Hagelstein | Nov 4, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Welsh, Irvineprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Étienne, Jean-RenéTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Corriente, FedericoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dragomán, GyörgyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heckscher, EinarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heuvelmans, TonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Polyák, BélaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Santikko, SauliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torberg, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zeuli, GiulianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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to Anne
First words
The sweat wis lashing oafay Sick Boy; he wis trembling.
"Life's boring and futile. We start oaf wi high hopes, then we bottle it. We realise that we're all gunnae die, withoot really findin oot the big answers. We develop aw they long-winded ideas which jist interpret the reality ay oor lives in different weys, withoot really extending oor body of worthwhile knowledge, about the big things, the real things. Basically, we live a short, disappointing life; and then we die."
Johnny wis a junky as well as a dealer. Ye hud tae go a wee bit further up the ladder before ye found a dealer whae didnae use. We called Johnny "Mother Superior" because ay the length ay time he'd had his habit.
See if it wis up tae me, ah’d git ivray fuckin book n pit thum on a great big fuckin pile n burn the fuckin loat. Aw books are fir is fir smart cunts tae show oaf aboot how much shite thuv fuckin read. Ye git aw ye fuckin need tae ken ootay the paper n fae the telly. Posin cunts. Ah’ll gie them fuckin books …
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Average: (4.02)
1 23
1.5 2
2 63
2.5 15
3 243
3.5 68
4 684
4.5 81
5 485

W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393314804, 0393057240

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