Paul Bryant's Reviews > Trainspotting

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
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Mar 17, 11

it was amazing
bookshelves: i-laughed-how-i-laughed, novels

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 it (it fell off and rolled under the bed). You will guffaw in public, stuff may emit forcefully from your nasal region.

Yes, the first ten or 15 pages will be tough tough tough like Clockwork Orange since it's written in the language of Scottish junkies. Bit et's nae bother. Hack your way through the first few pages and you'll be hurtling along, larfing and barfing, lurching and hurling, all the way to the sticky end.

Apparently some people find the title of the book obscure. Especially if they only see the extremely-watered-down but still pretty good film. Sometimes the notorious psycho Begbie decides after the pub shuts to go to the station and find anyone who's unfortunate enough to be waiting for a train and give them a random vicious beating. In a spirit of fun he calls that trainspotting.
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Reading Progress

02/17 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Traveller (new)

Traveller Gee- er.. the film is watered down compared to the book?!!?? #o#

Paul Bryant It really is!

message 3: by Traveller (last edited Mar 17, 2011 07:24AM) (new)

Traveller That's scary. I'm following you because I find your reviews very amusing. I 'discovered' you with your very amusing review of "Let the Right One In", and judging by the fact that you seem to have found that novel mild, this one must really be bad.

That said, probably the worst book I ever started and never finished is the notorious "Hogg" by multiple Nebula and Hugo award winner, Samuel Delaney. I can without reservation say that the latter is the... no, on second thought, I actually don't want to say anything about that piece of writing.

The scariest thought of all, would be to contemplate the possibility that there might actually exist characters such as are described in these pieces of fiction..

Paul Bryant ah yes, SD wrote The Mad Man

Oh, in this vein also, please check out my review of Cows by Matthew Stokoe - you'll love it!

notgettingenough Geez. The only thing I can recall about the film is a scene in a public loo, which was the first time I've ever seen anything which made me spontaneously vomit. Well, almost. I sort of managed to keep it down. Too much information? I'll stop there.

I, too, find it hard to believe that the book could be more...ummm...impressive than that.

Paul Bryant Well, it's more savage for one thing. The tone of the movie is self-mocking for the most part. It's a great read - try it! Remember - the first copy is free.

Carac Allison "This is offensiveness which achieves transcendence."

A perfect summation. The offensiveness tests the reader. If you stick with it you break through to an understanding of the world and characters.

"Sometimes the notorious psycho Begbie decides after the pub shuts to go to the station and find anyone who's unfortunate enough to be waiting for a train and give them a random vicious beating. In a spirit of fun he calls that trainspotting."

I thought the title was kind of silly for years--even when English relatives explained that the act of watching what trains passed and noting down the names in a book was a common alternative to bird watching for years throughout the UK. After years of recommending the book to friends I've come to accept the brilliance of the title. It's a little trick, isn't it? Readers expecting a passive description of post-industrial Scotland are about to get assaulted by Begbie. Haha.


Paul Bryant thanks Carac - Trainspotting is also very like the Clash's first album - maximum impact, such that everything done later seemed doomed to fail by comparison.

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