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The Cutting Room by Louise Welsh
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The Cutting Room (original 2002; edition 2003)

by Louise Welsh

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6971913,645 (3.49)45
Member:JohnnyOstentatious
Title:The Cutting Room
Authors:Louise Welsh
Info:Canongate U.S. (2003), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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The Cutting Room by Louise Welsh (2002)

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    Garnethill by Denise Mina (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: A no-holds-barred noir from another Scottish author.
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The Cutting Room by Louise Welsh - Very Good

What an astounding first novel this is! I've been a fan of Louise Welsh for some time but seem to be reading her books in all the wrong order and as such have just read this one - her first novel.

With some authors that have written a number of books and have a great reputation, when you read their first, it's a struggle and you have to read a few before they hit their stride. Not so with this one. No wonder it won so many plaudits.

Rilke is an auctioneer in Glasgow. He's called upon to clear a house after a bereavement. It's full of treasures, wonderful antiques, but also, there is a dark side: the items in the owners private study. These so intrigue Rilke that he is drawn into trying to find out if there really was a murder committed many years before and if so, who committed the murder and who is the victim.

The author takes us through both the posh and seedy sides of Glasgow and her turn of phrase and use of language is wonderfully evocative. I highly recommend this book if you've not already read it!


Listed in the Scottish 100
http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/reading/book-lists/100-best-scottish-books


( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
Bloody ending, for this 1 star more than the book deserved.
A complicated storyline, going back to the first CJ-Book: [b:Retribution|90334|Retribution (C.J. Townsend #1)|Jilliane Hoffman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1375371701s/90334.jpg|1469352], I wrote a review/comment a few days ago there.
The other book helps in understanding what happens here, but is not totally necessary.
As with the first book I was disturbed not by the gruesome murders, torture and other things, but by law enforcement, cops, lawyers and judges twisting the law and creating crime scenes or changing them.
Also, as most is told again, for those, who like me have read [b:Retribution|90334|Retribution (C.J. Townsend #1)|Jilliane Hoffman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1375371701s/90334.jpg|1469352], it dragged at times, there was a lot of flashbacks and internal thinking of the main characters which did not advance the story for me nor heighten the suspense.
The vigilante-actions where not criticized and even the actions within the law where sometimes highly questionable, although all of this is more realistic than I like it to be, these things do happen, and like the death-sentence something I strongly object. At least in the book it shown that these kind of deals is morally questionable. The goal was not achieved, so in the end most is lost, and some lost their live.
While in the beginning most characters from law enforcement seem to be on the good side, in the end, there are only bad ones and worse ones - and some serial killers, which always have my sympathy.
With C J being the main character of a few books, and me having only read 2 so far, the already mentioned Retribution and this one, skipping the other with CJ, I did not like her in the first book and still do not like her, and I think, in the end that the loser-cop Manny is the only one who has done nothing wrong.
The main reason, why I bought this book was also a let down: I read the blurb about the club and hoped there would be a lot more about the case being technical and the investigation not about the (boring) people, but about the internet, proxies, VPN etc. the stuff we all work with every day to muddy our tracks from surveillance by the GCHQ and NSA. Also the club-site of hiding their tracks was not explained.
OK, that maybe hard for a non-technical-person to write, but there are only few books which are not in the SF-genre writing about this.
For Fans of vigilantism, self-justice and the death-panalty. Else (and for me) not recommended. And recognize that I give 1 star for the audacity of the ending, which is difficult to review without spoiling the story.


( )
  Ingo.Lembcke | Oct 27, 2015 |
A auctioneer is hired to dispose of the belongings of a recently deceased gentlemen. While clearing out the attic he discovers a stash of pornographic pictures. This leads him and the reader on a trip through the dark side of pornography. An interesting read although the book borders on homosexual erotica.
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
Do Scottish people really call things "wee" so often? ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
Debut literary mystery in the key of noir set in Glasgow. I seem to be in Scotland a lot lately.
The book is original, in characters and prose. The prose is a distinctive and effortless (my apologies to Ms. Welsh) blend of spare and pithy; elegaic; disturbing and graphic; and darkly humorous, all from the fictive mind of its narrator, who embodies the abovementioned descriptives. Rilke is a fortysomething auctioneer occupying the murky social space between respectable and seedy, purposely it seems. "I handed her my card and let her look me up and down. I could almost hear her assessment: hair bad, tie, shirt, suit good, cowboy boots bad. Well, she had a point, but they were genuine snakeskin." He is resigned to living in this grey area, periodically spiking this bleakness with forays into drug use and anonymous gay sex, and his quotidian life is fueled by cigarettes and booze. He's a bit of an antihero. No angel, Rilke lets you know that he can be dangerous if challenged, and that although he allows his curiosity and libido to lead him down dark paths where the rules of engagement may be unknown, he can take care of himself.
Interestingly enough, it is Rilke's sense of morality, of decency, that won't let him abandon the investigation into the story behind a decades-old photo of snuff pornography--is it real or is it fake? Is there an unknown victim of a murderer who'd now be dead?--but his basic shadiness prevents him from turning the photos in to a friendly police detective.
Welsh does that trick I like so well, of revealing her characters bit by bit, and in this case, by the end, they're still largely in shadow. We're left with the question of why Rilke and his closest friends are the way they are. There's a touch of gothic in this book, and the ending caught me by surprise.
Not recommended for those who might be squeamish about the graphic description of the intersection between sex and violence, or about sexual encounters between men. If that's not you, and you like moral ambiguity, noir and good prose, this is for you. ( )
2 vote citygirl | Dec 29, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 184195280X, Paperback)

The Cutting Room heralds the arrival of an outstanding, contemporary Glasgow novel. Its charismatic protagonist, Rilke, is eccentric, witty and frequently outrageous. An auctioneer by profession, he is an acknowledged expert in antiques but also considers himself something of an expert in many other fields. When Rilke comes upon a hidden collection of disturbing erotic photographs, he feels compelled to unearth more about the deceased owner who coveted them. What follows is a compulsive journey of discovery, decadence and deviousness, steered in part by Rilke's gay promiscuity and inquisitive nature. Louise Welsh's writing is stylish and captivating; she combines aspects of a detective story with shades of the gothic in a colourful Glasgow ranging from the genteel suburbs to a transvestite club, an auction house to the bookies and pubs to porn shops. The result is a page-turning and deliciously original debut.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:49 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Rilke, an auctioneer, comes upon a hidden collection of violent erotic photographs. He feels compelled to unearth more about the deceased owner who coveted them. What follows is a journey of discovery, decadence and deviousness, steered in part by Rilke's gay promiscuity and inquisitive nature.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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