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Filth

by Irvine Welsh

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1,826276,817 (3.54)11
With the festive season almost upon him, Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson is winding down at work and gearing up socially - kicking off Christmas with a week of sex and drugs in Amsterdam. There are irritating flies in the ointment, though, including a missing wife, a nagging cocaine habit, a dramatic deterioration in his genital health, a string of increasingly demanding extra-marital affairs. The last thing he needs is a messy murder to solve. Still it will mean plenty of overtime, a chance to stitch up some colleagues and finally clinch the promotion he craves. But as Bruce spirals through the lower reaches of degradation and evil, he encounters opposition - in the form of truth and ethical conscience - from the most unexpected quarter of all: his anus. In Bruce Robertson, Welsh has created one of the most corrupt, misanthropic characters in contemporary fiction , and has written a dark, disturbing and very funny novel about sleaze, power, and the abuse of everything. At last, a novel that lives up to its name.… (more)
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» See also 11 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Filth You know about hard boiled crime fiction and noire?....well this is more than that.....it is putrid, it is decaying, rotting, stinking, disgusting, it is foul. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth as you read it. You will start to itch and feel scabby. You will want to vomit ad probably will then wish you hadn't. You will want to hold your nose and block your ears. You will cringe and shrink from normal human beings, you will forget about nice and wonder if you will ever know clean  again. But you won't put it down until it is finished. It is vile. ( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
If you indulge in Irvine Welsh then expect to be shocked, his writing and his descriptions are at times excruciatingly painful to read. Sergeant Bruce Robertson is a typical Welsh character, he takes what he wants lives life to access and does not care if his actions harm or destroy anyone in the process. He is at heart a narcissist possessing an inflated sense of his own importance involved in numerous female liasions with little or no empathy for others. However underneath this facade is a very troubled possibly suicidal man, and the author uses a very clever way to disclose this to the reader. Robertson's use of alcohol and recreational drugs, with little or no intake of nutrition, have caused a deterioration in his health and he appears to be harboring an intestinal worm. This parasite becomes the main source of information for the detectives's increasingly bizarre behaviour, a very original and highly entertaining element in a narration not for the faint hearted. ( )
  runner56 | Aug 9, 2020 |
"Filth," by Irivine Welsh certainly lived up to its name. Pretty filthy, in several ways the word can be used, from beginning to end.

It's told in first person by the main character, Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson of the Leith Police, who's approaching middle age and is one of the detectives competing for the single available promotion to Detective Inspector. He feels he's entitled to it because he gave up a few years of rank by working in Australia when his wife Carole wanted to live near her Mum down there.

Sometime before the beginning of the story Carole has gone away to spend some time with her Mum, who's back in Scotland, and Bruce is on his own. Unfortunately, he doesn't know how to cook or use the machine to wash clothes and as the story progresses his clothes get filthier and filthier, and with his bachelor lifestyle, that's mud, food, sweat, semen, alcohol and anything else that could possibly spill…

Bruce isn't a very nice guy, either. He's mean, vicious, vulgar, racist, sexist, alcoholic, wasted on cocaine and wants that promotion. He's in charge of a racial murder that's taken place does what he can to put his colleagues in situations to keep them from getting their job done.

For himself, almost every day he starts work late, goes for long, alcoholic lunch breaks and usually knocks off early so he can go shag some woman or watch some adult videos at home. About the most work he seems to do is filling in his overtime pay forms.

At the beginning he's in charge of everything around him, but slowly through the novel everything degenerates. We see, from his eyes, what even he doesn't see himself as he loses control and that his coworkers he considers pathetic are much more on top of things than he is…

Welsh is crude, vulgar, sick and very filthy in this book, and spins out a fantastic tale. ( )
  KevinRubin | Aug 6, 2020 |
The pure disgust that oozes out of D.S. Bruce Robertson is so absurd that it becomes hilarious more than anything. With his tried-and-true motto of "the same rules apply," Bruce does his utmost to offend/degrade everyone and anyone, which for a duration of the novel appears to have little consequence. He offers his eczema-ridden "prime Scotch beef" to women constantly (some have fallen under his trap and are just eager for intimacy, while many are paid to enjoy his rash-ridden nether-region) and consumes drugs at any given opportunity. With a promotion on the line, Bruce also spends much time pitting his department friends against each other to limit the competition. Bruce knows he's a repulsive human being, but nonetheless he accepts the lifestyle of filth with humorous grace.

However, as the ever-creeping tapeworm inside Bruce's stomach continues to engulf the page (literally, which can become quite frustrating yet intriguing)and reflect upon his "host's" miserable existence, Welsh concludes this tale of ridiculous immorality with a surprisingly brutal ending that leaves you floored.

There is definitely a lot of shock value that will turn off many readers, but I for one found this to be an immensely entertaining read that strives to make the main character utterly unlikeable in the most unbelievable ways.
( )
  CasualWastrel | Apr 18, 2020 |
A truly filthy and depraved novel by Irvine Welsh, which is what we have come to expect from the Bard of Edinburgh.

"Filth" covers the life of an Edinburgh detective named Bruce Robertson who has a tapeworm inside him, a severe mental health issue, and his life spiraling out of control. Robertson loves nothing more than to annoy his fellow human beings, take copious drugs, sex it up and dress in woman's clothing. It's unclear how much the tapeworm has to do with all this.

Everyone needs to read some Irvine Welsh and "Filth" is as good an entry to Welsh's oeuvre as any. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Oct 13, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (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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With the festive season almost upon him, Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson is winding down at work and gearing up socially - kicking off Christmas with a week of sex and drugs in Amsterdam. There are irritating flies in the ointment, though, including a missing wife, a nagging cocaine habit, a dramatic deterioration in his genital health, a string of increasingly demanding extra-marital affairs. The last thing he needs is a messy murder to solve. Still it will mean plenty of overtime, a chance to stitch up some colleagues and finally clinch the promotion he craves. But as Bruce spirals through the lower reaches of degradation and evil, he encounters opposition - in the form of truth and ethical conscience - from the most unexpected quarter of all: his anus. In Bruce Robertson, Welsh has created one of the most corrupt, misanthropic characters in contemporary fiction , and has written a dark, disturbing and very funny novel about sleaze, power, and the abuse of everything. At last, a novel that lives up to its name.

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