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3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  16,483 Ratings  ·  644 Reviews
Talk about truth in advertising! Irvine Welsh's novel about an evil Edinburgh cop is filthy enough to please the most crud-craving fans of his blockbuster debut, Trainspotting. Like Trainspotting, Filth matches its nastiness with a maniacal, deeply peeved sense of humor. Though one does feel the need to escape this train wreck of a narrative from time to time for a shower ...more
Paperback, 433 pages
Published February 28th 2001 by Anagrama (first published 1998)
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Carlos Lavín
The ending, the damn ending to the book.

It’s been like five years since I last cried with a book, I actually had to step out of the office (I started reading the book on the bus ride to work, I had 20~ pages to go when I arrived and I sure as hell wasn't going to stop reading) and to the bathroom to try and cool myself down (view spoiler).

The book is disgusting in every imaginable way, but it somehow keeps you going. Even though the situations he pu
Shamus McCarty
Jun 18, 2014 Shamus McCarty rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Use quotation marks you limey bastard!
Jan 02, 2017 Frankie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: seen-movie, scottish
Loved this.
Read it when i was in 4th year so I was maybe 15 or 16.
Film was amazing too.
Dec 03, 2013 Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'm so glad I listen to my friend's book recommendations sometimes...

'FILTH' is the story of Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson, and the first thing you should know about him is that he's a complete and utter Bastard.

During the build up to Christmas the race is on for the much desired Detective Inspector position and Bruce is adamant that he is going to be the one. Now if that means he's got to: lie, cheat, steal, manipulate and back-stab his way there, then you can safely bet that he will. The
3.5 stars

“One of my mottoes aboot the job is: better you wasting some cunt else’s time than some cunt wasting your time.”
- D.S. Bruce Robertson

* * *
“In a sense we are together because nothing, space, time, distance whatever, can break the delicious communion between us.”
- Carole
Oct 28, 2008 Jackie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cynical,dry, filthy humored readers like myself.
Absolutely my favorite Welsh read.I loved the humor and Bruce was so relateable(to me and my type of humor) but sort of over-the-top in his slurs towards many controvercial subjects which only made me giggle,tsk and shake my head.He thought many of the things people would never admit to thinking in their own heads so they just right off the book as its namesake and dont read any further. But I loved the shocking twist and its completely original narrative style. And how Bruce and the tapeworm sl ...more
Steven Stennett
Apr 16, 2014 Steven Stennett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have never been so glad to finish a book.

Great writer, and I found bits of it funny, but my overriding impression of the whole experience of reading it, was one of deep depression!

I am glad to say that I will never have to do that again!!!
A few years back I was watching some pissed off religious zealot going all loony on TV because gays were having their little pride parade (Oh, the horror!) and proposing they should all be sent to the desert or be given a country - Australia, he suggested (!!) - to inhabit. Maybe I should have been outraged, but I couldn't stop laughing to tears at the poor ignorant wacko and his unbelievable stupidity. Some people are so deranged, you just can't take them seriously.

My reaction to Bruce Robertso
Oct 31, 2010 Gavin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book, following the exploits of the world's second worst police officer through the things he does.

Unfortunately the main character is so difficult to relate to (he does the most awful things for no reason other than he can/wants to, and I can't understand that) that by the time of his trip to Amsterdam you're left numb. The constant series of horrors (which are entertaining and shocking to begin with) become something that you are accustomed to, the horror you were feeling at his physica
Leo Robertson
Welsh: farts are stinky tee hee


For a misogynist you can root for, try The Book of Dave. Self doesn't consider compassion something you can switch on and off when it's convenient to your plot. Point. Also his books have more than one plot point.
Sara Zovko
Nov 02, 2016 Sara Zovko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
Mislim da je ovo najbolja stvar koju sam do sad pročitala od Welsha.
Glavni lik je sve što jedan policajac ne bi trebao biti: rasist, seksist, alkoholičar, ovisan o kokainu , čudnih seksualnih sklonosti i općenito osoba u kojoj ima jako malo morala. Iako je radnja pomalo usporena i razvučena, ne smeta, jer sa svakom novom stranicom Bruce pada sve niže i sve se više otkriva koji je njegov glavni problem zapravo (a to otkriva trakavica, glista koja se nalazi u njegovim crijevima).
I onda taj kraj.
Oct 09, 2009 Sal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are several reasons why I will never forget this book. The main reason is Bruce Robertson, the main character of "Filth".

Bruce Robertson is a Police Investigator in Edinburgh. He's also, in every sense of the word, the WORST human being you can imagine. He's depraved, completely void of morality, racist, and worst of all, believes in what he does. Reading this book actually makes you fearful that there are people out there like this in positions of power. His actions are awe-inducing in th
Feb 22, 2016 Kaita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
*Edit* I haven't been able to get this book out of my head, which is something that not a lot of books can claim to do to me, so I'm changing my rating to Five Stars, but keeping the review as is.

4.75 / 5 (if you can finish it)
This novel took two attempts to read it and several years, plus the release of the movie, to successfully restart and complete it.

Filth was the most roller-coaster-like novel I have ever read.

It is written with two perspectives, though Bruce Robertson's is the dominant o
Dec 06, 2008 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who want to see Welsh's twisted mind taken to its logical conclusion
I love Irvine Welsh. I loved this novel, but I can see why some people might not like it so much. It is very, very ugly. The main character reminds me a great deal of my Dad. Well my Dad wasn't a corrupt cop, he was a lawyer, but he always struggled with his working class background and wanting to leave it behind. Telling you the most brilliant thing about this novel would spoil the whole thing. So I will only say this: Welsh presents the main character in a very complex way, and he is not a lik ...more
May 29, 2009 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 01, 2014 Sridatta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, 2013, awesome-2013
Irvine Welsh is a freak.

If I have to sum up the experience of reading this book in a word, it would be ‘Whirlpool’. Like an object swirling into its abyss, the characters in this novel are sucked into a whirlpool named “Bruce Robertson” and delve deeper into its grip with each page turn. If you are indifferent about this book, you might find a lot of its content repetitive but Irvine Welsh cuts right through a lot of pages with the ferociousness of Edgar Wright montages while unwrapping a new la
Feb 22, 2008 Lawrence rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Can you say "Gimmick"? This book was all about gimmicks, and shock-value for shock-value's sake. Which frankly isn't all that interesting to me, especially for three-hundred-odd pages. The main character that Welsh creates is, as the title suggests, utter filth. Racist, sexist, coke-addled, perverted, etc etc etc. The etc's just keep going. Alright already, you don't have to beat us over the head with it. Oh, I guess you do. The gimmick of having part of the story narrated by Main Character's ta ...more
Oct 09, 2013 J. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So delicously revolting. Welsh is at his best, here. The metaphor is spot on. The dynamic narrative device is shocking and perfect. Bruce Robertson is a nasty, nasty piece of work, making Francis Begbie look positively choirboy-like in comparison. The twist, when it comes (and that's not a spoiler--it's Welsh, so you knew there would be one) is shocking and yet fits so perfectly all at the same time that it seems to have been crystal clear from the beginning. Not for the faint of heart, but if y ...more
Iulia Nicolaie
Jan 27, 2016 Iulia Nicolaie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mi-a plăcut la nebunie cartea asta, iar finalul m-a zăpăcit complet. Cred că tocmai am descoperit un nou autor preferat. Jeg are de toate. Sex, suferință, droguri, parvenitism, vise spulberate. Ai crede că nu poți empatiza cu așa un personaj, dar te înșeli amarnic. Cu toții avem un pic de Bruce în noi.

Din păcate, am văzut și filmul imediat după ce am terminat lectura și m-a dezamăgit teribil. Dacă îl vedeți înainte de a citi cartea, nu-l lăsați să vă inluențeze. E doar o pojghiță subțire a ceea
Kevin Rubin
Nov 11, 2012 Kevin Rubin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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 he
Dec 03, 2013 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Об отзыве я начал думать еще за три дня до прочтения, в голове все время крутилось слово "сумбур", но концовка заставила изменить мнение, это очень структурирование произведение, есть начало и конец, довольно жесткий, но наверно автор решил что герою так будет легче, чтобы все пришло к логическому заключению. Книга не сказать что потрясающая, но очень сильная, героя преследуют проблемы его детства, и условия взросления, совсем от него не зависящие, залаживают сценарий его жизни. Печально, ведь б ...more
Virginia M.
Mar 24, 2016 Virginia M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite, scozzesi
Io non ho parole. Questo romanzo è stato veramente un trauma. Si sa che Welsh affronta dei temi particolarmente delicati (droga, problemi psichici), e che dalla sua penna escono personaggi discutibili, ma il Sergente Bruce Robertson è un personaggio MOLTO particolare, per non dire estremo. In lui si racchiude la più completa immoralità e crudeltà. Il suo essere così lercio (in tutti i sensi), così disgustoso è così impressionante che ti repelle.

Tuttavia io non l'ho odiato. Sembra strano, ma dall
Jan 10, 2013 Darren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This has echoes of Martin Amis's "Money" in it's presentation of a truly vile lead character: Bruce Robertson, is a scheming,racist, sexist and bigoted Detective Sergeant, investigating the murder of a black man outside a nightclub. Not that he has much time for solving crime; the constant bouts of: heavy drinking, porn, cocaine abuse, skiving work and his serial philandering occupy most of this. But, this is Welsh and you wouldn't expect deities and social heirs and graces.

There's plenty of twi
Brett Starr
Apr 16, 2010 Brett Starr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, the book definitely lives up to it's title "Filth"!

Detective Sgt. Bruce Robertson is one despicable bastard!

He takes drugs, abuses his police power, is addicted to pornography, takes bribes, masterbates compulsively, is a sex fiend, has a nasty bit of eczema below the belt & has a tapeworm in his gut!

D.S. Robertson is a filthy human being, he back stabs his friends & co-workers, tells extremely harmful and deceitful lies to women to sleep with them and he stinks "literally"!

John Jackson
Jan 25, 2015 John Jackson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Painful and honest, this is the kind of book that so fully develops a character that you begin to see yourself reflected in his every deed. You begin thinking he's terrible and that we are all better than him, but the end leaves you thinking that we might all just be damaged creatures trying to survive, like cops and criminals, like tapeworms.
Jan 18, 2016 Zaki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is certainly not the solid, socially acceptable and morally improving type of story. The main character is filth and makes no attempt to hide it from us. Just as i was disgusted with his behaviour I was intrigued by him and started to really admire his honesty.
Colin N.
Jul 25, 2011 Colin N. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Filth" comes close to living up to its name. Welsh's central character, Bruce Robertson, is a detective placed in charge of the investigation of a murdered young black man. Robertson, however, has other things on his mind. First there is his planned vacation to Amsterdam where he goes every year for drugs and debauchery. Then there is his desire for a promotion and the various "games" he plays with his fellow officers, attempting to pit them against one another and knock out his competition. On ...more
Thomas Potts
Nov 08, 2013 Thomas Potts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Filth' sucks you deep into the disturbed, poetic, perverted, brilliant and fevered brain of Detective Sargent Bruce 'Robbo' Robertson. Bruce is in line for a big promotion to DI, and will stop at nothing to get it. Eliminating the competition with psychopathic precision, whilst indulging in his own sordid urges (booze, sex, cocaine and a bit of the old ultraviolence), it seems hard to make this character relatable or even that likeable. However, through Welsh's horrific but poignant stream-of-c ...more
Jayne Charles
Dec 24, 2012 Jayne Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Any book written in the first person has to deal with the problem of getting across to the reader all those things the narrator doesn’t know or isn’t prepared to acknowledge. It takes a special sort of author to think: “I know, let’s use a talking tapeworm”.

And so here is a novel about a bent policeman, a man with so many prejudices they are impossible to count, who treats both his enemies and his friends with breathtaking contempt, who drinks, takes drugs, and refers to all women as “hoors”. Th
Andrew Robins
Oct 24, 2013 Andrew Robins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
DS Bruce Robertson is without a doubt the most repulsive character you'll come across. A truly vile, lying, scheming, racist, homophobic, misogynistic, violent, diseased, sociopathic, filthy animal for whom you will have absolutely no sympathy. He's also host to a tapeworm, which contributes to the story at various points, and, towards the end, tells us Robertson's 'back story'.

Halfway through this book, I was absolutely convinced there was no way on earth Welsh could possibly make you feel anyt
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Probably most famous for his gritty depiction of a gang of Scottish Heroin addicts, Trainspotting, Welsh focuses on the darker side of human nature and drug use. All of his novels are set in his native Scotland and filled with anti-heroes, small time crooks and hooligans. Welsh manages, however to imbue these characters with a sad humanity that makes them likable despite their obvious scumbaggerry ...more
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“We wait and think and doubt and hate. How does it make you feel? The overwhelming feeling is rage. We hate ourself for being unable to be other than what we are. Unable to be better. We feel rage. The feelings must be followed. It doesn't matter whether you're an ideologue or a sensualist, you follow the stimuli thinking that they're your signposts to the promised land. But they are nothing of the kind. What they are is rocks to navigate the past, each on your brush against, ripping you a little more open and they are always more on the horizon. But you can't face up to the that, so you force yourself to believe the bullshit of those you instinctively know are liars and you repeat those lies to yourself and to others, hoping that by repeating them often and fervently enough you'll attain the godlike status we accord those who tell the lies most frequently and most passionately. But you never do, and even if you could, you wouldn't value it, you'd realise that nobody believes in heroes any more. We know that they only want to sell us something we don't really want and keep from us what we really do need. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe we're getting in touch with our condition at last. It's horrible how we always die alone, but no worse than living alone.” 106 likes
“You can only live in the world you ken. The rest is just wishful thinking or paranoia.” 39 likes
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