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Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

Trainspotting (1993)

by Irvine Welsh

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English (60)  Finnish (2)  Spanish (2)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (65)
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
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 |
I've been wanting to read Trainspotting for years and I finally did it! It wasn't easy at first, the Scottish and junkie slang was slowing me down a lot, but you do get use to it. The book is about junkies and friends of junkies in Scotland. The shot story structure takes awhile to get use to as well. Yes the stories mostly focus on the main group, Renton, Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie, and its mostly about their need for heroin or their life in Scotland, but the stories jump around and your don't get a full scope of what happened between them. While it annoyed me a lot at first because it felt like what the fuck is going on and whats the point of the book when it didn't feel like there was much development, just random things going on. The more you get into the book though, it feels like each chapter is more of a snapshot of the dynamics of junkies and their friends and the final chapter really drives the point home of drugs > friends and maybe its where you live and who you are friends with that caused it to be drugs > friends.

*Edit 03/11/2014: After watching the movie I feel maybe I misread the ending? I thought for sure after reading the book Renton was stealing the money not only to get away from his friends but to buy drugs with it, he was using again at the time and even though he was hopeful about starting a new life it felt like most of that money was going to be spent on heroin still. In the movie though it pretty much concluded Renton is getting his life together and joining the regular people of life. Either way both the movie and book are great and I feel they compliment each other well rather than one being better than the other. ( )
1 vote wellreadcatlady | Oct 4, 2018 |
What can you say about this book that wasn’t said before? Scenes from the lives of some Scottish junkies and so much more. The fundamental style of the book is given by the unique Scottish accent and slang which is being something totally untranslatable missing from the translations (at least from the Hungarian one, which I’ve checked). ( )
  TheCrow2 | Aug 17, 2018 |
I switched to audio (which is brilliant!) because I was struggling with the dialect on the page. Also, I have loved the movie since college, so I knew what I was getting in to.

I freaking loved this book! It’s sad, dark, and disturbing, but it’s also hilarious, sarcastic, and completely capable of pulling at your heart strings. All while approximately every other word is profanity, and much of it makes you gag. 🤷🏻‍♀️ ( )
  sprainedbrain | May 12, 2018 |
Renton, Sick Boy and Spud are friends. At least as much as you can be friends with anybody you share a heroin addiction with. And don't necessarily like each other all that much. As they tumble through Edinburgh, alternatively looking to buy the next hit and to kick the habit altogether, their paths cross with the same people over and over again, people like the violent Begbie or the drunk Second Prize. They all struggle with their own problems but at least they are not stuck in the wheel of capitalism. Or that's what Renton tells himself.

Trainspotting is at times funny, at times simply disgusting and it has surprising moments of senisitivity and clarity buried along the way. It's not the best book ever, but it is very strong.

Read more on my blog: http://kalafudra.com/2017/05/25/re-read-trainspotting-irvine-welsh/ ( )
1 vote kalafudra | Sep 14, 2017 |
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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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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393314804, Paperback)

Irvine Welsh's controversial first novel, set on the heroin-addicted fringe of working-class youth in Edinburgh, is yet another exploration of the dark side of Scottishness. The main character, Mark Renton, is at the center of a clique of nihilistic slacker junkies with no hopes and no possibilities, and only "mind-numbing and spirit-crushing" alternatives in the straight world they despise. This particular slice of humanity has nothing left but the blackest of humor and a sharpness of wit. American readers can use the glossary in the back to translate the slang and dialect--essential, since the dialogue makes the book. This is a bleak vision sung as musical comedy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:19 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Trainspotting is the novel that launched the sensational career of Irvine Welsh - an authentic, unrelenting, and strangely exhilarating group portrait of blasted lives in Edinburgh that has the linguistic energy of A Clockwork Orange and the literary impact of Last Exit to Brooklyn. Rents, Sick Boy, Mother Superior, Swanney, Spuds, and Begbie are as unforgettable a clutch of rude boys, junkies, and nutters as readers will ever encounter.… (more)

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W.W. Norton

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

Editions: 0393314804, 0393057240

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