Nate D's Reviews > Glue

Glue by Irvine Welsh
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Feb 15, 08

bookshelves: britain
Read in December, 2007

Someone had warned me that, along with Filth, this was where Irvine Welsh got especially difficult to get through. I'll admit that Filth's "bad cop" anti-hero narrator did make for some rather tough slogging there, and I never got around to picking this one up.

Until now, and it's good that I did. This may, on the contrary, be Welsh's most warmly-rendered and human novel, and its quartet of narrators growing up in the "schemes" (Edinburgh's destitute housing projects) may be his most sympathetic. Welsh's brand of realism, as usual, involves refusing to flinch away from marked character flaws and the acknowledgement that a lot of really awful things can happen (in excruciating detail), but here there's a heartfelt core to give the proceedings a sort of meaning. Easily his best since Trainspotting and Marabou Stork Nightmares, possibly just his best, period.

On the heavy use of dialect off-putting to some: just start reading and it'll all click into place after a few sections. You might even catch yourself narrating your life in heavy Scottish for a few days.
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