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Porno - Irvine Welsh

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Author: Irvine Welsh / Genre: Fiction

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    7 Reviews
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      06.04.2010 17:59

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      A brilliant follow up to Trainspotting

      This book basically follows on some time after Trainspotting left off. Renton is still hiding out in Amsterdam, Begbie is in prison following another dastardly deed and Sick Boy (Simon) is scamming in London. Then Sick Boy ends up back in Scotland after a series of unfortunate events, Begbie gets released from prison and they are both keen to seek out Renton following his betrayal, this is where it all kicks off...
      Sick Boy's latest money making scheme is to start making amateur porn movies with the help of a somewhat motley crew. As you can imagine nothing goes according to plan!
      Without wanting to give too much of the story away it gives for some pretty amusing and graphic reading. Including all the fave characters from Trainspotting - including Spud, who I still couldn't help but feel sorry for - and introducing some new ones this book is, in typical Irvine Welsh style, a no holds barred account of the amateur porn business, drugs, scheming and violence.
      Begbie is his usual evil self and actually comes across as even more scary in this book - I felt myself really fearing for people!
      Nicki is one of the new characters, a girl who wants to be perfect? noticed? loved? You decide!
      It is funny, dark and quite simply enthralling. The end left me wanting more!

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      10.07.2009 01:06
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      Decent follow up but not brilliant

      This is from my review on the ciao site

      Porno is the sequel to trainspotting [one of the best drugs books ever written [right up there with junkie and fear & loathing in las vegas],most of the characters from trainspotting make an appearance and some from glue [juice terry,lawson] are also present although this book can be read without reading trainspotting and glue,but to get the best from the book you should read them both.
      characters
      ==========
      renton - the thinking articulate junkie waster who betrays his pals and runs off to holland in trainspotting.

      sick boy - pretentious entrepeneur but a hit with the ladies - still dreaming of being "a player".
      begbie - tattooed paranoid zenophobic psycho with the shortest fuse ever,betrayed by renton,released from prison for atempted murder and now hearing voices.

      spud - the ultimate loser,still a junkie and still being put on and cheated at every turn.
      juice terry - fat,lazy ex-van boy who thinks he will be the next john holmes [porn superstar].

      This book is written as a series of intertwinned stories 10 years on from trainspotting featuring Renton [now a club owner in Holland],sick boy [with petentions of being a porn magnate],begbie [crazier than ever and now hearing voices] and spud [everyones favorite loser,still shooting up and still losing].
      sick boy gets some of leiths favorite sons & daughters together in his aunts pub to make the capitals first blockbuster porn flick,seven rides for seven brothers.
      The inevitable ups and downs [and in and outs] of the porn industry are laid bare for all to see and the climax [no pun intended] takes us to the cannes porn film festival where sick boy realises that friendship and forgiveness both have their price.
      may be tricky for some people who can't understand the scottish dialect [could use a glossery of terms used in the book]

      A great read,impossible to put down and a respectable follow up to trainspotting from irvine welsh - the voice of the chemical generation.

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      26.06.2007 13:38
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      Excellent piece of fiction, well worth reading

      "Porno" is a great fictional novel revolving around the making of pornography, as produced by the original characters from "Trainspotting" ten years on. It is absolutely disgusting, witty, clever, funny and weird and is a typically entertaining Irvine Welsh novel.

      Simon "Sick Boy" Williamson returns to Edinburgh having failed to make it in London and finds himself the recipient of his relative's pub, a crappy venue that is going nowhere fast. Simon decides to turn it around, but finds out about "Juice" Terry's stag filmmaking and decides to run the show by creating his very own pornographic film. Meanwhile, Frank Begbie gets out of jail and is let loose on society (graphically violent scenes here) and Mark Renton is found by Sick Boy in Amsterdam where he winds up his nightclub business to join the porno effort. Ultimately, all characters are sucked into the porno scam, directly and indirectly and the plot is fast paced, entertaining and well thought out, with a clever twist at the end (although not entirely unanticipated).

      If you read "Trainspotting" and "Glue" and didn't want the saga to end, "Porno" is a perfect read. Full of scams, backstabbing, bitching and strange coincidences (such as the pub called "Scruffy Murphy's"), you will find it as fulfilling as the original and full of all the characters you have come to know (and loathe). There are some new characters introduced, such as Nikki Fuller-Smith (the beautiful and intelligent porno star), Mel, Lauren, Curtis (of the huge penis and stammer) as well as old favourites like Spud, Renton, "Juice" Terry and Begbie. It is written in the a Scottish dialect, so if you understood "Trainspotting" you shouldn't have any trouble.

      At 484 pages, "Porno" is quite a satisfying read and is very interesting with all the sub-stories that evolve off the main plot, such as Spud attempting to regain his self-esteem by writing a history of Leith, or Renton's romance with Dianne. I found "Porno" to be very realistic and as with all of Welsh's novels it was hard to believe it was a work of fiction. The only disadvantage of this story is the gross image on the front cover of a plastic blow up doll. Perfect for a statement by Simon David Williamson, it is a bit hard to pass it off as light bedtime reading to your partner, who might envisage something else. Overall though, an excellent novel that is well worth spending money and time with. I'd rather read "Porno" than watch one, any day.

      OTHER RECOMMENDED BOOKS BY IRVINE WELSH:
      * Trainspotting
      * The Acid House
      * Marabou Stork Nightmares
      * Ecstasy
      * Filth
      * Glue

      OTHER INFORMATION:
      Publisher: Random House
      Year Published: 2002
      IBSN No: 0-224-06181-X

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        05.12.2003 21:26
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        Irvine Welsh?s Trainspotting was a publishing sensation in 1994, and one of my all-time favourite novels. Eight years later, when Welsh reunited the Trainspotting characters in Porno, I had mixed feelings. I was absolutely dying to read it, but afraid that it wouldn?t be as good and that it would be a contrived piece of moneymaking. Could the characters stand the test of time, and would they have anything to say to each other or to us, the readers? For those who didn?t read Trainspotting, it concerned a group of mates from the poor areas of Edinburgh and their drinking, violence and, mainly, drug-taking. On the whole they were a thoroughly nasty bunch ? though also entertaining, funny and even charismatic. The novel ended with them all involved in a drug-dealing scam in which they were ripped off by one of the main characters, Mark Renton (Rents). Eight years on we find them living distinctly different lives: Rents is running a club in Amsterdam, abstaining from the heroin he was addicted to and in an unhappy relationship with his German girlfriend. Sick Boy (Simon David Williamson, or SDW) has been working in London clubs and pimping, but returns to Leith to take over his aunt?s grotty pub and get rich by one means or another. Begbie, the violent, psychopathic one, is just out of prison where he?s been doing a long sentence for murder. And Spud, the kindest-hearted but biggest loser of the gang, is still in Leith, still struggling with heroin addiction and trying to desperately to keep his relationship with his girlfriend and his son going. Meanwhile, both Sick Boy and Begbie are obsessed with getting their revenge on Rents, and Begbie?s been getting homoerotic correspondence which he thinks is Rents? way of taking the mickey (though they?re actually from Sick Boy, who has always hated Begbie but is a physical coward and would never challenge him outright). Also on the scene is ?Juice Terr
        y? (so-called because he used to work on the juice, or pop, lorry), who?s as sex mad as ever. On his return to Leith, Sick Boy finds Juice Terry and his mates making stag movies. Ever the budding entrepreneur, he sees a way to make some cash and sets about working with the stag movie crew to make a proper porn film. Enter a new character, Nicola Fuller-Smith, a middle-class English student who works in a sauna by night and is up for anything sex-wise. Soon she is one of the stars of the movie and Sick Boy?s lover. Thus Porno moves us largely away from the heroin world and into that of the sex industry as the movie ?Seven Rides for Seven Brothers? is made. But don?t think this means we get no drugs in Porno ? sick Boy?s got a voracious cocaine habit, Nikki?s a doper, Begbie likes a bit of ching himself and Spud can?t say no to anything. On a trip to Amsterdam, Sick Boy finds himself face-to-face with Rents and immediately puts his revenge on hold as he sees that Rents has the contacts to distribute his film. Thus the two become partners and Rents returns to Edinburgh and a life of fear of Begbie and total mistrust of Sick Boy?s motives. Whilst here, he also takes up with his old girlfriend, Diane, who is now a PhD student. Along the way we get shedloads of explicit sex, plenty of drug abuse, language that would kill your grandma, violence that makes you literally wince, and a variety of unsavoury, immoral and often very funny scams. Porno is for me Welsh?s best work since Trainspotting, and I?m delighted to say that the transition from the 1990s to the present is seamless. The characters have all matured in their own ways, but all are instantly recognisable. It?s to Welsh?s great credit that he has been able to once again get under their skins and give them new life. Welsh?s trademark themes are also present, such as his innate dislike of the middle classes, his hatred of the touristy nature of Edi
        nburgh, his simultaneous loathing and glorification of violence and his refusal to blatantly judge the morality of his literary crew of ne?er-do-wells. I loved Porno from start to finish and fund it hard to put down. Being a sequel, and that sequel having influenced so many novels since, Porno doesn?t have the shock-value or the utter uniqueness of Trainspotting. It is however, funny, interesting, stomach churning and a wonderful romp of a read. The pace is fast and the plethora of stories within the story always keeps boredom at bay. One thing to mention though, is that, as with Trainspotting, much of the story is written in strong Lethian dialect. Personally I didn't have a problem with that but I know some people do, so if you couldn't get it first time around you probably won't this time either. If you read Trainspotting first, you?ll get a lot more out of Porno. However, Welsh has made sure that those not familiar with the first book will pick up the thread that has led to the characters? dysfunctional relationships and will be able to enjoy the book on its own merit. Highly recommended. Now I can?t wait for the film. The paperback is published by Jonathan Cape, is almost 500 pages long and can be bought for £5 odd at amazon.co.uk. ISBN 022406181X

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          12.02.2003 21:27
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          PORNO, Irvine Welsh's highly entertaining sequel to the cult classic, Trainspotting, reunites the gang as they pursue another get-rich-quick scheme. Before reading Porno though, it would probably help to have read TRAINSPOTTING and/or GLUE. Porno is a direct sequel to Trainspotting, bringing back virtually all the characters from some ten years earlier, and adding some of the characters from Glue into the mix, most notably "Juice" Terry Lawson and Rab Birrell. Porno will lack a great deal of depth, resonance and familiarity for readers not acquainted with the characters and settings from those earlier books. • The Plot • It's been 10 years since Mark Renton walked away with the cash from a drug deal involving himself and his mates, Simon "Sick Boy" Williamson, Danny "Spud" Murphy, and Francis Begbie. In this book, the gang return - criminally irresponsible as ever and still focusing on illicit drugs and seedy sex. This is a carefully plotted and constructed story, told in alternating, first-person narrative chapters by: Sick Boy, who has re-invented himself as an entrepreneur; his new girlfriend, the beautiful and egocentric Nikki Fuller-Smith, a student and aspiring star; the self-destructive but well-meaning junkie, Spud; the psychotic Begbie, who's fresh out of prison and obsessed with taking revenge on Renton, and anybody else who thinks themselves a wideo; and Renton who, after ripping off his mates, made a new life for himself running dance clubs in Amsterdam. Everyone's clean now....well, they're off heroin at least, but now it's cocaine which is the substance of abuse, that and bucketloads of alcohol. The central character is Simon "Sick Boy" Williamson, older, wiser and wider - at least HE thinks he is - failed in every career path he has chosen, whether honest or not. He takes control of his aunt's pub in Leith which b
          ecomes the base for his new enterprise, making a porn film. He enlists student Nikki Fuller-Smith to be his starlet, and Juice Terry as his main man. Meanwhile, on a trip to Amsterdam, he runs into Renton, a successful club owner, and persuades him to help him in a scam to finance his new production company. Renton is reluctant to come back to Edinburgh because of Begbie, but Sick Boy is eager for Begbie to administer some rough justice to Renton, after all, he ripped him off as well. They begin filming and marketing their first movie, making it all the way to the top of the industry before the inevitable crash. Meanwhile, homicidal Begbie and pathetic Spud lie lurking in the background. Because of the book's multiple points of view, it's soon clear that everyone's involved in their own personal scam or vendetta, ensuring conflicts and confrontations are never very far away. Their collaboration on this business venture, turns remarkably, but inevitably, sour in an unexpected ending that definitely leaves the door open for yet another follow-up sequel. • Not The Plot • Porno is an entertaining and quite a deep read, sometimes funny, often disturbing. There's an interesting new cast of characters complimenting the old faces, and with several narratives running throughout the book, it gives each character's own, unique point of view. The original work, Trainspotting, was cutting edge but Porno gives the central characters greater dimension this time round, which also allows Welsh to make fools of a few of them. I don't think it matches Trainspotting but it's rare for any sequel to do that anyway. Irvine Welsh's brutal, but honest prose and a rogue's gallery of some likeable rascals - and some frightening nutcases - are in full display here, but the novel value of Trainspotting isn't. There's very little more insight, or enough development of the
          characters, and it doesn't have the same invention or drive. But, these ARE great characters, and the interactions between them, as well as the glimpses of the less pleasant aspects of life, along with Welsh's passion for using local dialect, ensure that Porno is somewhat more than a tired old re-working. Ultimately, I would class this book as more of a comedy, lacking the darkness of Trainspotting or the storytelling of Glue. If you're a fan of Welsh or, if you have no aversions to reading about degrading and disgusting situations, and narratives liberally littered with expletives don't faze you, you'll love this book.....if'n ye kin make oot whit a' they gadgies is spraffin' aboot likesay, ken? Thanks for reading ©proxam2003

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            06.02.2003 06:21
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            He's a liar liar pants on fire is that Irvine Welsh blokey. He said he wouldn't write a sequel to 'Trainspotting', ever. He said it was played out, deid. I mean, if he was a woman it would be acceptable, expected even, for him to change his mind, but he's a bloke, so he shouldn't have done it. Actually that's not the only reason that he shouldn't have done it, the book was really a bit rubbish too. You can't really blame him for writing it though, can ya? I'm sure he was offered a rather hefty old wedge, ooohhh, not forgetting the inevitable film rights weigh-in to follow. Who needs integrity eh? The great thing about 'Trainspotting' was the energy that it contained. At the time it was fresh, exciting, different. Porno, on the other hand, I found to be quite the opposite, stale, somewhat boring, tired. "Yeah yeah, say something new Irvine" <---- Me while reading it. The sad thing is that I sort of expected it to be that way before I started reading it, so why did I bother? A victim of clever ad men perhaps. Waterstones ran the most excellent promotion campaign in history, blacked out windows with little peepholes, blow-up dolls visible through the peepholes. Superb. Pity the book didn't live up to the promo though. Ah yes, the blow-up dolls, very tacky, y'know those really naff ones that you just cringe and think "jeez, how could anyone....?". There's a picture of one on the cover of the book. How cool is that, sitting on a commuter train reading a book called "Porno" with a pic of a blow up doll on it. Pity I don't commute by train, pah. Anyway, yeah, great promo, great cover, so I thought it at least deserved a read. Ah, you want a wee synopsis do ya? Well, here's the rules first. If you haven't read 'Trainspotting' don't bother with this, you won't understand, it's a sequel innit! Go read 'Trainspot
            ting', then come back and read this review, if you want. Umm, oh yeah, the other thing is if you don't like synopsises (or is it synopsii, I was never sure) then miss out the next para. Moving on... Ten years on. Sick Boy has taken over a pub in Leith after spending the last ten years scamming in London. Mark Renton has been living in Amsterdam. Spud is still a junkie. Frank Begbie is just out the jail, still wanting to kill Renton of course. Nothing much has changed really. Sick Boy comes up with another of his scams, this time he's making a porno film. He enlists, with the help of the first and perhaps only bit of originality in the book, a star in the form of a young lady called Nikki Fuller-Smith. By the end the film has been made, Renton has done a runner with the cash again, Spud is still a junkie, Sick Boy is cursing Renton, Begbie is in hospital (woohoo, as opposed to jail, original) after being run over by a car, blah blah, Zzzzzzzz. ...So, anyhoo. It's a tired old story written in a now tired old format. At the very least Mr Welsh could have taken his time with the grammar and format, but sadly he didn't. It seemed to me that he rushed this one through very quickly, strange for such a lengthy book (around 500 pages), though perhaps the length was simply to give the director of the inevitable film something to work with. The story is told by five narrators, the above mentioned for those who read the synopsis. The strange thing was that there wasn't much crossover in viewpoint, the story sort of remained chronological as it moved from one narrator to the next. One narrator would have done to be honest, and it seems a strange choice to have five and not use them to best effect, sloppy. Use of Edinburgh dialect, well, sloppy too. When using dialect it is important to be consistent, Welsh wasn't with this one. It is most noticable with the narrators who use strong dialect, Spud and Begbie, that certain words have ma
            ny spellings, even when 'spoken' by the same character. Dialect has to be constant, for it not to be so, like in Porno, is simply lazy. Ach, you get the picture, methinks it was written for a quick buck and not as a great work of literature. Maybe I'm wrong, but opinion, y'know. Many unanswered questions, needless and unimportant events remaining unexplained, an attempt to shock with suchlike as a tendency to dwell on anal sex and penis size, rile the women, be laddish, have an unfunny laugh. Sorry Irvine, I loved 'Trainspotting', and to a lesser extent 'Filth', but Porno just didn't cut the mustard. I was left feeling rather deflated and unsatisfied at the end, if you'll pardon the pun. www.amazon.co.uk Paperback - £5.59 - Minerva - ISBN: 0099422468 Hardcover - £13.59 - Jonathan Cape - ISBN: 0224062964

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              19.11.2002 02:36
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              ~ ~ The title for this opinion came to me as I was sitting in my ‘joe maxi’ at a red light, and the song “The Boys Are Back In Town” by the old Belfast band Thin Lizzie came on the radio. I’ve been planning a review of the Irvine Welsh novel “Porno”, where for the first time Welsh re-unites all of the seedy characters from his first (and only) blockbuster novel “Trainspotting” (1993) and brings them all together again in their old stomping ground of Leith in Edinburgh. And the title seemed very apt, considering the liking of the Thin Lizzie lead singer, the late, great Phil Lynott, for illicit pharmaceuticals of every description. ~ ~ I thoroughly enjoyed the novel Trainspotting, (but NOT the movie) and have read all of Welsh’s subsequent five novels, none of which reached the dizzying heights of success that he achieved with Trainspotting. We had a brief coming together of some of the Trainspotting characters in Welsh’s last novel “Glue”, which followed the changing fortunes of four of the characters from a sink housing estate in Edinburgh’s port of Leith over four decades. But in Porno, Welsh brings together all the old drug addled Trainspotting crew some ten years after they all went their separate ways, when Mark Renton (Rents) relieved his erstwhile buddies of their ill-gotten gains from a dubious drug deal in London. ~ ~ Rents has been running a dance club and turning a shilling in the drug capital of Europe, Amsterdam, while his old drinking and injecting pal Simon Williamson, “Sick Boy”, has been head of security at a seedy strip-joint in London. Begbie, the psychopath with a penchant for random and extreme violence, is languishing in Saughton Prison in his hometown of Edinburgh, where he is nearing the end of a long sentence for murder, and harbouring thoughts of sadistic revenge on his old pal Renton. In the meantime, Sick Boy has been
              amusing himself by sending Begbie anonymous parcels of gay porn magazines to the nick, which obviously hasn’t been received at all well by the erstwhile nutcase. “Spud”, the fourth member of the old quartet, has never moved from his old haunts in Leith, and still suffers from a love/hate relationship with heroin, attending a drug rehabilitation programme and planning to write a definitive history of his beloved Leith, while at the same time still spasmodically partaking of drugs of both a hard and soft nature, and trying to keep together his relationship with his long-term partner and young son. (mostly unsuccessfully) Terry Lawson, “Juice Terry”, the ex-soft drink salesman (off the back of a lorry) with an insatiable appetite for the ladies, is still on the scene. Fatter and no longer selling “juice”, but still dutifully chasing the fairer sex, ducking and diving to make a living, and still as fond as ever of the booze and illegal chemicals. ~ ~ Sick Boy is asked to take over the running of a seedy public house in Leith by his old aunt, who plans to retire to the sun in Spain with her young toy-boy lover, and immediately upon his return to Leith spots the potential to make some handy profit from the city’s blossoming sex industry. Using the pub as a respectable cover, he plans to make the definitive pornographic movie, and inveigles all his old mates into both helping and starring in the upcoming blockbuster. He has taken up with a student called Nikki Fuller-Smith, a student at a local college studying film making, and who is so sexually voracious that she works part-time in a local massage parlour. Naturally enough, she is soon up to her neck (and down with her knickers!) in the production of the skin flick. Drugs and the drug culture still play a large part in this novel, but the lads have now mostly moved away from the heroin scene, and are now more into more ‘socially acceptabl
              e’ pharmaceuticals like cocaine. (of which they all partake very liberally!) Various scams are set up in order to raise the required capital to finance the porno project, one of which involves relieving hundreds of Glasgow Ranger’s football fans of the balances of their bank accounts, by illicitly obtaining details of their bank details and cash point pin numbers. (It’s both ingenious and totally hilarious!) Eventually the movie is completed, and is entered for a porno Film Festival, (in France) and the lads set off for sunnier climes in order to market their masterpiece. ~ ~ This is the best Irvine Welsh novel I have read since Trainspotting, although I have to admit I also thoroughly enjoyed his fourth novel, “Filth”, which chronicled the goings-on of a corrupt Edinburgh detective. (it wasn’t well received by the critics, however) Welsh returns once more to his favourite theme; the striking differences between working class and middle/upper class society in his native city. He laments the “gentrification” of his native Leith, where many of the old tenements have now been upgraded and revamped into havens for the city’s yuppies, and where many of the old working class pubs and clubs are now modern plastic pleasure palaces. He delights in casting aspersions on middle class morals and values at every opportunity, and uses his not inconsiderable skill as a writer to almost glorify and beatify the new drug culture of the “underclass”. He does so very successfully, and it has to be said entertains and amuses his readers immensely in the process, but whether it is a true reflection of society either in Edinburgh (or any other major city in the country) is highly dubious, as it is far too simplistic to categorise people in this fashion. I recently listened to Welsh giving a radio interview here on Irish radio at the time of the yearly Edinburgh Festival, where he lambas
              ted the Festival as a celebration of middle class culture, attended by lads and lasses from the Home Counties of England and the “better” Universities and Colleges, and with little or no relevance to the native inhabitants of Edinburgh. He choose to ignore the fact (pointedly made to him by the interviewer) that the available statistics didn’t uphold his claims, and that the yearly Festival is unquestionably an outstanding success story for Edinburgh, bringing countless thousands of home and overseas visitors to the Scottish capital each year, and attended in droves by the native population. He went down considerably in my personal estimation as a result of his somewhat blinkered attitudes, although, it has to be said, not enough to stop me buying and avidly reading his novels. And I also read a recent report in the Scottish “Daily Record” (a Scottish tabloid that I occasionally purchase) that stated that the major star of the movie Trainspotting, the Scottish actor Ewen McGregor, has been making favourable noises about starring in a new film sequel based on “Porno”. Being the somewhat cynical ‘mad cabbie’ that I am, I immediately suspected that somewhere in the background the “filthy lucre” had been waved in Mr. Welsh’s face, in order to get him to write “Porno” in the first place, a novel that he often stated would not be written. (a straight sequel to Trainspotting) ~ ~ Anyhow, be that as it may, I have to admit that I DID thoroughly enjoy the book, although like all of Welsh’s novels it may prove fairly heavy going for any readers not thoroughly conversant in Edinburgh slang. He uses the vernacular Scottish dialect throughout, and perhaps a glossary at the back of the book would have been in order for his non-Scottish readers. Having been born in Leith (well, Newhaven actually) I could identify and relate to much of the book, and this obviously
              added considerably to my enjoyment of it. But don’t let any of my criticism actually put you off reading this novel. It’s entertaining, and exceptionally well written, and spins a bloody good yarn. Let’s hope that the upcoming (and almost sure to happen) movie is equally as good. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Paperback 483 pages (22 August, 2002) Published by Jonathan Cape ISBN: 022406181X £5 at Amazon UK Hardcover 496 pages (22 August, 2002) Published by Jonathan Cape ISBN: 0224062964 £13.59 at Amazon UK ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Copyright KenJ November 2002 ~~~~~~~~~~~~

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            • Product Details

              This is the sensational follow-up to Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. In the fag-end of his youth, Simon 'Sick Boy' Williamson is back in his native Edinburgh after a long spell in London, having failed spectacularly as a hustler, pimp, husband, father and businessman.