Author: Irvine Welsh
Page Count/Review Word Count: 344
Well, this is it – this is the book that catapulted Irvine Welsh from being an unknown Scottish author who used to be a heroin addict into being one of Britain’s foremost contemporary alternative writers. It was also turned into a movie, which has since become something of a cult phenomenon.
In many ways, I feel as though Irvine Welsh’s novel has been overshadowed by the success of the film, which is a shame – I read the novel first, and I preferred the novel, and yet so many film afficionados talk about the movie without ever reading the book. And it’s not even as though there are too many differences – it’s just that the novel is harder to read, because the Scottish dialogue is spelled phonetically, rather than spoken aloud.
I thought that Trainspotting was good, but not great – it convinced me to read more of Welsh’s work, but it’s since been surpassed by some of the stuff that I discovered, and I only just decided to give him a second chance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that I did – I just don’t necessarily think that Trainspotting is the best introduction to Irvine Welsh’s work.
Loosely speaking, and without going into too much detail about the story line, it follows a group of friends who are addicted to heroin, and it follows their adventures in urban Scotland as they try to live their lives without dying or getting arrested. I don’t want to go into specific incidents that happen, because the fun of this book comes not from the story line but from the interactions between characters. That said, if you can get past the difficulty of the language then you’ll enjoy this – it’s hard not to.
Which brings me to the question of whether I’d recommend this or not – I think I would, but not to everyone. It’s a matter of taste, but you’ll like it if you have a taste for the unusual and obscure.