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Trainspotting (1993)

by Irvine Welsh

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Trainspotting (1)

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7,748791,150 (4.03)1 / 306
"The best book ever written by man or woman...deserves to sell more copies than the Bible."-"Rebel, Inc."

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 Folio Society Devotees: Trainspotting17 unread / 17Shadekeep, July 2023

» See also 306 mentions

English (72)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (2)  Catalan (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (78)
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
This is probably a book I should have read some years ago. It is one of the most brutally honest reads I have seen on the true lives of drug addicts. I think Welsh has written a beautiful book. Trying to interpret the Scottish dialect of the underclass was so hard and yet so rewarding. The characters in the book are anti-heroic, sometimes funny, terrifically foul-mouthed, and full of excuses for themselves. How hard they try to justify their predicament, and puff themselves up. The tough make themselves seem really tough. I have seen this behaviour up-close more with alcoholics than heroin addicts, but the underlying behaviour is the same. I didn't see the movie of this story and it is just as well I didn't because the writing is so evocative and provocative. The book looks hard at the middle and lower class homes some of these people come from, at the narrowness and prejudice in Scottish society. But of course, it is not just there. It is in us all. ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
I should have read this years ago really. Better late than never!

To be perfectly honest, I've never been much of a fan of writing phonetically in dialect, but it didn't take me long to get used to it, and it was interesting to see how some of the slang has changed (e.g. Spud's verbal tic is "likesay", which probably died out in the 90s because I don't remember hearing it before). (It's actually also slightly unfamiliar spelling - for example "ur" is used to mean "are" but I'm used to using it online to mean "you're"). I'm also ambivalent about the short-story structure, as it made the overall story slightly incoherent for me. But those are ultimately minor quibbles - the stories were vibrant and the fact that I know those locations made it come alive even more for me. Even though it's a world I rarely encountered in real life.

I think this is one of those rare books where I prefer the film, though. The book is excellent, but I think there's something snappy and colourful about the film. ( )
  finlaaaay | Aug 1, 2023 |
Haven't read this book in years...but I think I reread the whole thing about 50 times and portions hundreds of times. ( )
  Mcdede | Jul 19, 2023 |
“By definition, you have to live until you die. Better to make that life as complete and enjoyable an experience as possible, in case death is shite, which I suspect it will be.”

There is no central story to this novel rather it is a series of short stories centring around a group of drug addicts with the occasional alcoholic and psychopath thrown in for good measure means that the book's structure itself feels like an exercise in futility. Mark Renton, the main focus for the book is a habitual drug user who along with his friends are members of a grim sub-culture living in Edinburgh where drug dependency and physical violence is a daily battle. It sounds grim, and it is, yet there is also a great wit and energy from its wasted souls.

I found this a difficult book for several reasons. Firstly, its written in a broad local dialect which meant I spent a lot of time initially trying to rearrange it into standard English, there are still several words even now that I'm unsure of their true meaning but I think I eventually managed to understand the gist of the story. The fact that there are several narrators all with their own idioms only complicates things further. Secondly, the characters' lives are so far removed from my own that I found it difficult at times to see little beyond the simple waste of their dysfunctional lives that I felt little sympathy for any of them.

However, I also found the book horrifying, despairing, witty, compelling and engrossing in equal measures meaning that I found it hard to put down. Like a lot of people I've seen the film adaptations but would recommend that they give this a go as well but be warned its not an easy read. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Jan 27, 2023 |
This is a difficult book to rate. Firstly the negatives. I find reading dialect really hard at times - and this was especially difficult with different characters narrating different chapters in different degrees of dialect. There were some words that I still don't know what they were supposed to be. But I think I got the jist.
The violence and some of the scenes were incredibly hard to read. The lives these characters lead is so far removed form my own that I had little point of reference and spend most of the book thinking what a waste of potential. And some of the characters are the least appealing people to ever spend some time with.
Having said all of that, I did finish it and did find myself sort of cheering Renton on as he leaves. He was the most relatable of the band we meet, although at times he did have a tendency to self sabotage. I can't say I left this book feeling that he'll be OK; I find myself hoping he will, but not confident that he will.
I can't recommend that you read it. It is, at times, very tough going. Some of what is described is so cruel, callous and dehumanising that you want to look away. It is thoroughly depressing. Maybe all of that is what makes it worth reading, I don;t know. I'm glad I've got tot he end but I feel no need to ever read this again. ( )
  Helenliz | Jul 3, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 72 (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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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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"The best book ever written by man or woman...deserves to sell more copies than the Bible."-"Rebel, Inc."

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