Trainspotting
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Trainspotting (Mark Renton #2)

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  80,930 ratings  ·  1,287 reviews
A jarring, fragmented ride through the dark underbelly of Edinburgh, the festival city. There is not an advocate, a festival performer or a fur coat in sight as, with bitter passion and rancid humour, Welsh lays bare the lives of this ill-starred bunch of addicts, alcoholics and no-hopers.
Paperback, Movie Tie-in, 344 pages
Published August 4th 1997 by Minerva (first published 1993)
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Jafar
Fuck me insensible. Oh ya cunt, ya! Ah dinnae watch the movie, bit ma heid’s spinnin fae readin this shite, ah kin fuckin tell ye. The book’s no novel – mair a collection ay short stories, likesay, aboot a bunch ay Scot junkies. The cunts go aroond, fartin n shitein n shootin smack. The book is written in the Scottish dialect, sortay like whit ah’m tryin tae imitate, ken whit ah mean? It wisnnae easy fe us tae git intae it. It made us scoobied aboot whit the cunts were sayin, likesay, bit after...more
Emily May
I must have read the first page of Trainspotting more than twenty times since purchasing the book years ago, and each time I would put it back in fear of all the Scottish dialect. There's no point lying, this is a challenging novel, sometimes you have to read things twice or pause to think about them to fully understand what's being said. But, unlike a lot of books that are difficult to read, this was ultimately rewarding and once you get used to the slang words it becomes a very gritty, moving...more
Tatiana
Nov 14, 2010 Tatiana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are not easily scared off by junkies, profanity, and Scottish dialect.
As seen on The Readventurer

This is why I love reading challenges - they allow me to discover books I would have never picked up on my own. Let's face it, would I ever intentionally seek a book about Scottish low-lives - junkies, thugs, and prostitutes? Don't think so. But alas, the fate threw Welsh's "Trainspotting" my way and I ate it up like hot cakes.

"Trainspotting" is a collection of short stories narrating scenes in the lives of a Skag Boys (skag = heroin) - Rents, Sick Boy, Begsbie, Spud,...more
Paul
Everything you heard about this book is true. It will not only melt your face, but also the faces of anyone in the same room as you. Be prepared for a deluge of c-words from page one to page last, be prepared for a detailed account of a bunch of lively Scottish junkies scuffling and waiting for their man and spiking up and all of that. This is offensiveness which achieves transcendence. There are scenes which will make you will drop your jaw so far you'll have to spend half an hour looking for i...more
Stacia (out of inspiration)
I'm a little confused about why I'd had the other edition reviewed, when I didn't read the John Hodge after-movie version. *delete, delete, delete*

If I hadn't seen the movie first, I probably wouldn't have even tried reading the book because the language difference is not the most accommodating to read in print. The writing works for the people, place, and lifestyle that's being shown, but it's definitely easier to understand when you have the movie to refer to in your mind. I will say that afte...more
Rowena
I actually quite enjoyed this book though some parts of it were really hard to take. There's a lot of vulgarity, sex and violence, but the book also talks about some important issues, such as Scottish nationalism, HIV/AIDS, drug use (there's a LOT of drug use), racism in the UK and the problems in Northern Ireland.

The characters are quite colourful and interesting, I think they are well-developed.The book was quite philosophical and witty at times, though mainly from a misanthropic viewpoint!

Th...more
Daniel Clausen
Probably the most famous passage from the book: "Whin yir oan junk, aw ye worry about is scorin. Oaf the gear, ye worry aboot loads ay things. Nae money, cannae git pished. Goat money, drinkin too much. Cannae git a burd, nae chance ay a ride. git a burd, too much hassle, canne breathe withoot her gitten oan yir case. Either that, or ye blow it, and feel aw guilty. Ye worry aboot bills, food bailiffs, these Jambo Nazi scum beatin us, aw the things that ye couldnae gie a fuck aboot whin yuv goat...more
Smokinjbc
Aug 29, 2007 Smokinjbc rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Irvine Welsh fans
Shelves: trainspotters
Those that know me are aware that I've never seriously (and can count on two fingers how often) done any serious drugs- the worse I 've tried was weed and it did absolutely nothing for me except make me feel like I was choking to death. So.. why the attraction of Irvine Welsh's lovely books? They are anything but lovely, more like a trip down into the sewer but they are still, to my ears anyways, gorgeous in the dialogue, characterizations and most of all, the original, frantic storylines. Who...more
Matt Algiers
I love this novel. I've read it three times, and I never re-read books. What surprised me at the first reading of this book was how disjointed it was when compared to the movie. Only a fraction of the chapters are represented in the film version, and several characters are missing completely. I learned that each chapter was actually a short story and Trainspotting itself was merely a collection. However,I found that the book characters were much more engaging and human. It seemed that each one...more
Kirstie
Jan 09, 2008 Kirstie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in politics just as much as the human condition.
I imagine when people hear the title of this book, they immediately think something scene. As if it's the story of a bunch of junkies in Scotland. The thing is about Welsh is that the culture of the people who live on these streets is really a grand metaphor for all kinds of political criticisms and systems. It has to do with the relationship of the Scottish to their own gov't as well as their relationship with Ireland and England. At the same time, these points may be easy to miss when mired wi...more
Christina
Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; Choose sitting oan a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fuckin junk food intae yir mooth. Choose rotting away, pishing and shiteing yersel in a home, a total fuckin embarrrassment tae the selfish, fucked-up brats ye've produced. Choose life. Well, ah choose no tae choose life. If the cunts cannae handle that, it's thair fuckin problem." (187-188)

Trainspotting is the story of...more
Ksenia Anske
If you ever told me I'd cry reading this book, I'd be like, what? I've seen the movie, you see, a long time ago. But I did. I cried like a baby. I cried at a part in the middle of the book, the part that starts off the movie, the famous words of "Choose life. Choose…" Well, in case you haven't read the book and haven't seen the movie, you'll get what I mean, once you do both. I'm actually about to jump into re-watching the movie again, now that I'm done reading. And, WOW. Just, WOW. This is not...more
Tancredi
Trainspotting è uno di quei rari casi (rari, ma affatto unici) in cui la trasposizione cinematografica piace di più o almeno riscuote maggior successo del romanzo originale. La cosa curiosa è che la distanza del prodotto cinematografico rispetto all'originale, che spesso comporta un giudizio alquanto negativo, in certi casi, come questo, ribalta la situazione: insomma, di Trainspotting mi è piaciuto mille volte di più il film, perché probabilmente è un'altra cosa rispetto al libro. Del romanzo o...more
Mei-Lu
In his appearance on In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg, philosopher and writer Roger Scruton, author of An Intelligent Person's Guide to Modern Culture, sniffed at Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting: "It's so badly written that I would call it an unsuccessful attempt to elevate to the level of high culture... If you compare his 'scotified' dialogue with Sir Walter himself you would see how badly written it is." In 1993, Trainspotting was longlisted for the Booker Prize. But, according to Wikipedia, it was...more
Jason
An amazing novel. The crushing weight of these characters and their lives is so monumental. I usually have a hard time with books that focus so much on the ugliness of humanity and the lengths we can go to to punish and destroy ourselves and others, but Welsh is so adept at creating the internal reflections of all these various people that I find myself utterly transfixed by them.
Everyone in this book is an absolute monster (except for Spud), but they're not easily categorized as one-dimensiona...more
Ellie
It took a while to get past the Scottish slang terms and dialect. I had to re-read some paragraphs over and over again to understand what was being said. But once you get used to it, the novel is an extremely interesting and compelling read. It is a realistic and hard-hitting story of drug addiction. The novel takes the reader into the minds and emotions of the characters, all who at one point or another, act as narrator. This technique allows for incredibly deep character insight and the read g...more
Alexei
Oh, what an atrocity against literature! And by the way "Trainspotting" is almost universally hailed by critics as something fresh, innovative and even "the best thing that has happened to British writing for decades". If so, I would like to offer my deepest condolescences to Britons. Happily, this is definitely not true. Of course, the benefit of reading this book in English (excuse me, in Lowland Scots!) is valuable one, but even the possible shortcomings coming from the fact that I read it in...more
Nancy Oakes
After reading Trainspotting I had to ask myself what else I've been missing. The main characters are addicts, junkies, heavy drinkers and a sicko or two, with heroin as the star here. It's an alien culture to me, but I just couldn’t put the book down, dialect and all. I also have no clue about this subculture of underclass in 1980s Scotland, but Welsh writes it as if he’s been there and followed this group of people around. I won’t go into the plot here (there are lots of places you can find inf...more
Sheli
I was recommended this book by a friend as it is one of his favourite books. After hearing that it was written in Scottish, I just had to give it a go.

Trainspotting is one of those books that has gained "cult" status, partly due to the film and I was worried that I would be disappointed. I needn't have worried!

Rather than one story, this book is a collection of short stories about a group of friends living in the less well off areas of Edinburgh in the nineties. It's full of sex, drugs and viole...more
Jason.frisbie
I think one of my favorite parts about this book was the absorbing style of the difficult Scottish dialects. Welsh is doing the same thing for Edinburgh that Twain did for the deep south- establishing worthwhile and nearly tangible characters. Those well written voices are fairly haunting because they are very particular in their styles: Spud says "cat-boy," whereas Sickboy says "cunt." It's stunning how well I got to know these characters and their expinations of their incredible and tragic exp...more
Amanda Pagano
It took a little time to really get into this mainly because I'm American and Welsh really uses some Scottish slang that took awhile to get used to. But, once I got into the flow and understood more words it was easy to get through and very entertaining. I could hear all the characters voices in my head talking with their Scottish accents and it made the stories so much more realistic. When you read this book get ready for a wild trip because that is exactly what Welsh gives you. He is very guts...more
Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
A very good read. I found the book surprisingly easy to get into and understand despite the use of dialect and I found that it really added to the impact and effect of the book. This read more like a collection of short stories rather than a novel but I found that it worked very well. The graphic and explicit nature of the book really made an impact and the contents allowed me to think deeper into some of the issues raised concerning drugs and the culture surrounding them. The book was shocking...more
Janice
I recently read this, one of my top all-time books, again. And I say everyone else should read it too (unless you have a weak-stomach when it comes to images of hard drug use and unpleasant bodily functions). As soon as you get used to the he Scottish slang and phonetic-spelling, you'll realize it's one of the most amazing books ever in terms of idiomatic language and dialogue. Gen-Xers may also relate to the theme of disaffection --there's the "choose life" speech made famous by the movie. ( Th...more
Charmlessman77 Newall
Sep 14, 2007 Charmlessman77 Newall rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Scottish people
This is one of my favourite books. Even being Scottish I had a hard time getting through certain sections of the book, with the East Coast accents used throughout, but I think this made it even more rewarding. Never having done anythign stronger than alcohol in my life I was interested to learn so much about addictions and what it does to peopel. Welsh really went through these things, and doesn't glamourize or villify drug taking. Amazing.
Carac Allison


"Trainspotting" is a reading experience.
I read it when it came out. Here is the litany of my disbelief back then. I could not believe what I was holding was a novel. I could not believe that the novel had been published. I could not believe it was a bestseller. I could not believe it was being made into a play and a movie.
Welsh puts voices in your head. It's hard to make comparisons but stylistically his prose works a little like Anthony Burgess' "Clockwork Orange", a little like Brett Easton El...more
Anthony Eaton
Okay - it hurts me to say this, because really, it's not how I usually approach these things, but I think the film was better than the book. *glances behind to check if karma is about to crap on me from a great height*

Admittedly, I saw the film first, which always changes one's perception of the book - though this generally doesn't change my preference for the written version (See: Fight Club - brilliant film, better book. Or The English Patient Execrable film, ordinary book.)

But reading Trainsp...more
David Ayres
The Dubliners of Edinburgh's drug scene...well that what it felt like I was reading anyway. Like Dubliners it is a collective of snapshots, but Trainspotting concentrates on the lives of a group of errr friends (for the lack of a better word) and their lives embroiled in the cities drug scene. It makes for uncomfortable reading. The dialect is difficult to get into form the outset, and Welsh has forsaken speech marks for dashes and indentations. The stories are only loosely connected (more throu...more
Kristen
I really really wanted to like this book. I loved the film and expected this book to be even better. I was very disappointed. The book, unlike the film, has no linear story. It is just a mash of short stories, some interesting, some not so much. It is totally confusing, not to mention the whole thing is written in dialect that is like deciphering a foreign language. Whoever adapted this book into the movie script should be given like fifty Academy awards for turning a book of disjointed, random...more
Katie
It's the literary offspring of A Clockwork Orange, complete with a dialect all its own (this time Scottish instead of some bastardized Cockney rogue-speak). Not sure what it is about hooliganism, but me likes it.
Tim
A sordid tale of depravity written mostly in a thick Leith dialect, the novel offers much more than the film. Where the film is an easily consumed narrative, the novel is a series of events in the lives of Edinburgh junkies, drunks, psychos, whores and bums, whose narrative is as shambolic as the lives it represents. It's a wonderfully vivid picture of the underbelly of the late 80s. And despite the content, it's not a depressing novel - it's full of action, adventure, and some very, very black...more
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Why the name Trainspotting? 11 440 Jun 26, 2014 10:53PM  
Boxall's 1001 Bo...: October {2009} Discussion -- TRAINSPOTTING by Irvine Welsh 33 243 Nov 18, 2009 07:19AM  
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5687
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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“Choose a life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers... Choose DSY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit crushing game shows, stucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away in the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself, choose your future. Choose life... But why would I want to do a thing like that?” 721 likes
“We start off with high hopes, then we bottle it. We realise that we’re all going to die, without really finding out the big answers. We develop all those long-winded ideas which just interpret the reality of our lives in different ways, without really extending our body of worthwhile knowledge, about the big things, the real things. Basically, we live a short disappointing life; and then we die. We fill up our lives with shite, things like careers and relationships to delude ourselves that it isn’t all totally pointless.” 233 likes
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