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Filth by Irvine Welsh
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Filth

by Irvine Welsh

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1,462195,114 (3.49)10
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Plot:
Bruce Robertson is every bad stereotype of a police man: he’s a misanthropic, sexist, racist, power-obsessed asshole who is supposed to investigate the death of a black journalist. Instead he’d rather think about how to get the promotion to Detective Inspector, even though he doesn’t actually like doing his job. But Bruce is not only an asshole, all is not right with him in general. As his convoluted intrigues become ever more complicated, his mental state continues to deteriorate.

Bruce Robertson is an intriguing character and Welsh really gets inside his head. Which meant that it wasn’t always easy to read Filth, but it was a rewarding read.

Read more on my blog: http://kalafudra.com/2014/01/08/filth-irvine-welsh/ ( )
  kalafudra | May 7, 2014 |
So delicously revolting. Welsh is at his best, here. The metaphor is spot on. The dynamic narrative device is shocking and perfect. Bruce Robertson is a nasty, nasty piece of work, making Francis Begbie look positively choirboy-like in comparison. The twist, when it comes (and that's not a spoiler--it's Welsh, so you knew there would be one) is shocking and yet fits so perfectly all at the same time that it seems to have been crystal clear from the beginning. Not for the faint of heart, but if you want to see the power of disgust explored by a master of the craft, get this book immediately. Recommended. ( )
  JWarren42 | Oct 10, 2013 |
Disappointing. Vile, gruesome and depressing, with none of [b:Trainspotting|23955|Trainspotting|Irvine Welsh|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1167484360s/23955.jpg|1087421]'s cleverness and black humor to redeem it. Skip this one and pick up [b:Trainspotting|23955|Trainspotting|Irvine Welsh|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1167484360s/23955.jpg|1087421] or [b:The Acid House|527862|The Acid House|Irvine Welsh|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1175551111s/527862.jpg|1087332] instead. ( )
  wirehead | Jul 9, 2013 |
Any book written in the first person has to deal with the problem of getting across to the reader all those things the narrator doesn’t know or isn’t prepared to acknowledge. It takes a special sort of author to think: “I know, let’s use a talking tapeworm”.

And so here is a novel about a bent policeman, a man with so many prejudices they are impossible to count, who treats both his enemies and his friends with breathtaking contempt, who drinks, takes drugs, and refers to all women as “hoors”. The content is often shocking and extreme, and borders on too much information as he attempts to expel the said talking tapeworm from his scab encrusted rear.

I struggled to get into it in its early stages. It was wall-to-wall egregious behaviour, and it made me think how important it is, even in a book about someone utterly amoral, to have some spark of goodness to lighten the way, so there I was like a man dying of thirst in the desert desperately searching for some evidence of humanity in this character’s corrupt soul. Eventually there was that chink of light, and as with all Irvine Welsh novels, this turns out to have depths I didn’t suspect, and by the end I was quite in awe of its complexity, its extensive cast, and the way the action was sustained evenly over so many pages. There was some tremendous dark humour too (I loved the bit with the dog on the farm).

It can be an unsettling read. The Scottish slang talk, the phonetic spelling, the shocking events and the depths it plumbs are just the same as those in Trainspotting, yet it’s harder to laugh at this one. I think that’s because Trainspotting is about junkies and we expect the worst of them, whereas this is about the police and we want to expect the best from them. I had the feeling the author was drawing our attention to the real dangers of freemasonry within the police, and suggesting that all coppers are bent, they all take drugs, they all have 100% contempt for the public. Maybe I am being naive but I don’t want to believe it. ( )
  jayne_charles | Dec 24, 2012 |
A book of filth - at all levels. At first I thought it was just disgusting and self-indulgent, but as I swam though it to the end, I realised that it was quite clever and somewhat disturbing at a deeper level. Not light reading. ( )
  jvgravy | Aug 16, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Those who make it through Bruce's gruesome abuses and the difficult Scottish dialect will be left with something to think about.
added by girlunderglass | editBooklist, Kevin Grandfield (Jul 14, 1998)
 
As in the past, Welsh himself sometimes seems rather compromised as a satirist by the glee he takes in his characters' repulsiveness. Yet if this hypnotic chronicle of moral and psychological ruin (funnier and far more accessible than Welsh's last full-length novel, Marabou Stork Nightmares) fails to charm a wide readership, it will not disappoint devotees.
added by girlunderglass | editPublishers Weekly, Gerald Howard (Jul 14, 1998)
 
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The trouble with people like him is that they think that they can brush off people like me.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393318680, Paperback)

Talk about truth in advertising! Irvine Welsh's novel about an evil Edinburgh cop is filthy enough to please the most crud-craving fans of his blockbuster debut, Trainspotting. Like Trainspotting, Filth matches its nastiness with a maniacal, deeply peeved sense of humor. Though one does feel the need to escape this train wreck of a narrative from time to time for a shower and some chamomile tea, just as often Welsh provokes a belly laugh with an extraordinarily perverse and cruelly funny set piece. Nicely violent turns of phrase litter the ghastly landscape of his tale.

Our hero, Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson, is a cross between Harvey Keitel in Bad Lieutenant and John Belushi in Animal House. His task is to nab a killer who has brained the son of the Ghanaian ambassador, but bigoted Bruce is more urgently concerned with coercing sex from teenage Ecstasy dealers, planning vice tours of Amsterdam, and mulling over his lurid love life. He's also got a tapeworm, whose monologue is printed right down the middle of many pages. Here's one of this unusually articulate parasite's realizations: "My problem is that I seem to have quite a simple biological structure with no mechanism for the transference of all my grand and noble thoughts into fine deeds."

Welsh's real strength is comic tough talk and inventive slang. The murder mystery helps organize his tendency to sprawl, but the engine of his art is wry, harsh dialogue. At one point, his books hogged the entire top half of Scotland's Top Ten Bestsellers list--and half the buyers of Trainspotting had never bought a book before. The reason is not that Welsh is the best novelist who ever got short-listed for the Booker Prize. It is that he is that rarest of phenomena, an original voice. --Tim Appelo

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:13 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A satirical crime novel with a repulsive hero. As he investigates the murder of an African in Edinburgh, detective Bruce Robertson indulges in every imaginable obscenity, his activities commented on periodically by the tapeworm in his gut.

» see all 2 descriptions

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