* Prices may differ from that shown
The Bedroom Secrets Of The Master Chefs
There is already an excellent review of this book on here which outlines the plot and the characters so I won't go into that. What I will say is that I am a big fan of Irvine Welsh, and have read most of his books.
Lots of people may find that Irvine Welsh's books are too graphic (especially "Filth") and hard hitting. Personally, I think that is part of the attraction for me, they ARE very graphic but seem to portray their characters in a more realistic way due to this. There is a small part of you which wonders "what was going through the author's mind when he created this?" but also a part which congratulates him for writing about subjects that other people may shy away from.
So, having enjoyed his other books, I expected to feel the same way about "The Bedroom Secrets Of The Master Chefs". Sadly, I didn't.
It might be because some of the other books were so gritty, that this one didn't feel the same. Maybe I had the wrong expectations after his previous success. However, whatever the reason, it felt like Irvine Welsh just wasn't trying when he wrote this. I kept hoping that it would get better and then reached the end without it happening, in short, it was a disappointing read.
Don't get me wrong, it was an okay book, and I am sure that many people would enjoy it, but if you are a fan of Irvine Welsh, then I suspect that you too, may feel a bit let down. Hopefully next time, he will be back on form and create a book his fans will be proud of!
At Edinburgh's Department of Enviromental Health, hard-drinking, womanising officer Danny Skinner wants to uncover secrets: 'the bedroom secrets of the master chefs', secrets he believes might just help him understand his self-destructive impulses. But the arrival of the virginal, model railway enthusiast, Brian Kibby, at the department provokes an uncharacteristic response in Skinner, and threatens to throw his mission off course. Consumed by loathing for his nemesis, Skinner enacts a curse, and when Kibby contracts a horrific and debilitating mystery virus, Skinner understands that their destinies are supernaturally bound, and he is faced with a terrible dilemma....
The book is split into 5 parts including a short prelude.
In the prelude we meet n unamed female punk rocker with bright green hair. The date is 20th January 1980 and she's at a Clash gig. Earlier in the day we learn that her boyfriend, Donnie, has admitted to sleeping with another woman, so she left him and at the gig she meets another tall man who she sleeps with, he is her second lover of the day but before the night is over she will have three.
The story then skips to 2003 where we meet Danny Skinner. Danny has a job at the Enviromental Health Department. He works hard (or at least pretends to) and parties harder. Danny's job allows him into the kitchens of some of the countries top chefs, including Alan De Fratis, who has just published a new book, 'The Bedroom Secrets Of The Master Chefs'. Although Danny hates De Fratis he is also facinated by him and has purchased a copy of the book, which he thinks is pish. Apart from his job Danny has a hectic social life which involves, drinking, taking drugs and fighting quite a lot, this causes tension between himself and his long term girlfriend Kay, especially with other women falling at his feet. It turns out Danny also has issues with his mother, Beverley. Beverley (the punk with the green hair from the prelude) has bought Danny up single handed but refuses to reveal the identity of Danny's father, this causes a rift between mother and son and although they talk Danny also resents his mother.
Here enters Brian Kibby he has been newly appointed to the department and couldn't be more different to Danny. Bran doesn't smoke, drink or take drugs, he loves hiking, Star Trek, model railways and playing computer games, especially Harvest Moon, where Brian can build his own peaceful world, choose a wife and live happily ever after. Brian comes from a loving, god fearing family and still lives withs his mum, dad and younger sister. Despite Brian's father, Keith being terminally ill, Brian can't wait to start his new job at the department and even thinks he's made a few friends on his first day, in the form of Danny and Shannon.
Upon meeting Brian and Danny get on fine but when Danny realizes that Brian is a virginal geek, he just assumes he's a loser and Brian becomes the butt of Danny's jokes.As the story moves and Danny's drinking gets more out of hand, he loses Kay and Brian becomes more of a threat at work, especially when a big promotion comes up in the department. Danny's feeling toward Brian turns to loathing yet he can't understand why.One evening while drinking alone Danny wishes that he wouldn't have to suffer hangovers or pain and that Brian should suffer all his after effects instead.
Brian begins to get ill he thinks he has a virus but he gets worse and worse while despite Danny's nocturnal activities he seems to be getting more healthy. Danny struggles to understand how his wish could've worked but when Brian is on his last legs Danny decides he can't live without his nemesis, he gets clean and goes in search of his father who he believes could be one of the Masterchefs.
Irvine Welsh was born and bought up in and around Edinburgh and Leith. In the 70's he moved to London where he was heavyily into the punk scene, he eventually moved back to Edinburgh and got a job in the housing department of the council. He then studied for MBA at Heriot Watt University. He then got into the rave scene and stated writing what would become (prbably his most famous work), Trainspotting.
When Trainspotting was published it was rejected from the shortlist for the Booker prized as it offended two of the female judges. Trainspotting was then turned into to a stage play then a film which shot Welsh to fame. Since then Welsh has had a few more works published. Although most of his writing is considered controversial and some bizzare, his works are normaly best sellers.
welsh now lives in Dublin with his second wife but retreats to Miami for the winter.
Marabou Stork Nightmares
The Acid House
If You Liked School You'll Love Work
You'll Have Had Your Hole
The Bedroom Secrets Of The Master Chefs is only the third novel that I have read by Welsh and I have to say I'm getting to be a bit of a fan. Despite the story getting a bit silly when Danny makes his wish I still didn't want to put the book down, it was just utterly compelling. I think it helps that the character are just so true to life, despite Danny being a drunk and treating people like dirt, his loathing for Brian and his own self loathing, he's also utterly charming, despite his dispicable acts you can't help but like the guy, infact if he was real he'd be one of those sexy bad boys us girls have all fallen for at one time or other. I'm also pretty sure that we've all known a Brian somebody who stood out like a saw thumb while they themselves were trying not to draw attention to themsleves. It's impossible to take sides.
Although not quite as bizarre as Filth was, the book does get strange beyond belief, yet remains intriging right up until the end.
Some scenes of the book are quite graphic so if your of a sensative disposition this isn't the kind of novel you should read as it contains, drug taking, lots of sex, swearing, male rape and violence. This makes the book sound quite depressing but it's also witty and darkly funny.
My only gripes with this novel are that the outcome of Danny's paternity is far too predictable, basically from the first chapter you can guess who is father is, also although there's no happy ever afters here and the conclusion for the main characters is satifactory I would've liked just a little wee peek into the future, just to see what happens to some of them next.
This novel won't be everyones cup of tea but if you think you'll be able to take the contents give it a go. I couldn't put it down. If you've read Welsh's work before The Bedroom Secrets Of The Master Chefs isn't as good as Trainspotting (which is excellent and way better than the film, eventhough the film is great) but better than Filth (which was really good but quite strange).
Amazon £5.99 (new) from 29p upward (used)