Tyler Byng's Reviews > Trainspotting

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
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's review
Oct 27, 2011

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Read in October, 2011

Irvine Welsh's "Trainspotting" is fiction written like non-fiction written like fiction. It is an in-depth look at a gang of scottish junkies and the larger youth culture they represent. A work almost reminiscent of Anthony Burgess' "A Clockwork Orange" in both its linguistic choices and heavy focus on free will, it does not make new points but reveals old ones in a contemporary of addiction and HIV. The major difference between the two novels is Trainspotting's more internal focus. Welsh's moral issues are relevant to the individual sphere and the conflict resides in the character's mind, external trouble only belying the more cancerous problems inherent in their worldviews. Welsh does not hold onto much, constantly shifting points of view and central characters to create a collection of vignettes that leave the reader feeling as though they have woken from a sweaty nightmare montage. Trainspotting's overall all-over-the-place writing style serves as an apt metaphor for the delirium and loose grip nearly every character seems to have on life, a difficulty we do read as solely relegated to the junky. Trainspotting is well written but not a revelation, definitely worth reading if the content or issues have ever interested you and a deft commentary on modern society and its youths.

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