Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Blade Artist” as Want to Read:
The Blade Artist
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Blade Artist

(Mark Renton #4)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  2,767 ratings  ·  280 reviews
Jim Francis has finally found the perfect life – and is now unrecognisable, even to himself. A successful painter and sculptor, he lives quietly with his wife, Melanie, and their two young daughters, in an affluent beach town in California. Some say he’s a fake and a con man, while others see him as a genuine visionary.

But Francis has a very dark past, with another identit
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 7th 2016 by Jonathan Cape
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Blade Artist, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Juste The events in this book happen many years after Porno. Frank has been back to prison, been released, married and had two new kids, aged 3 and 5......
Morrissey Fat I would say you definitely need to read the other three, or at least Trainspotting and Porno, Skagboys is not completely essential, but without…moreI would say you definitely need to read the other three, or at least Trainspotting and Porno, Skagboys is not completely essential, but without reading the first two books many characters will hold little to no significance when they appear and there are call backs to the past novels that won't make sense without reading them. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,767 ratings  ·  280 reviews

Sort order
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, scotland
Loved it. Begbie will always be the king.
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
BEGBIE, I canny believe it's really you. All those years of peevin, scrappin, and jail time, you land it nice in California with a gorgeous wife and kids, a rehabilitative job, and a massive hoose. The boy has changed. Until, of course, his son ends up pan breed and he has to come back to Embra for the funeral.

No one could write this but Welsh. Carving this new life for Franco, under the name of Jim Francis, he creates a stark contrast to the one we're used to, and takes us immediately out of o
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very welcome return for one of Irvine Welsh’s greatest literary creations, the psychotic Frank “Franco” Begbie.

I doubt anyone would be able to second guess what’s happened to Frank since we last encountered him: Begbie, now known as Jim Francis, is a middle-aged, successful artist living the dream in California with his beautiful wife and daughters.

The question at the heart of this deft, engrossing thriller is “has he really changed?”

Four concurrent stories intertwine: an incident on a beach
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels, irvine-welsh
Of all the characters from the Trainspotting universe, Begbie may be most surprising one to suddenly be able to sustain a protagonistship in a new Irvine Welsh novel.

Psycho wild card of Skag Boys, and of course Trainspotting, and the unrepentant antagonist of Porno (not to mention the different version in the film T2). He just never seemed the type to sustain a book all on his own, with no other POVs. Yet here it is, short and to the point like the eponymous art of the blade.

Especially a refor
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Jim Francis is an expat Scot living the American dream in California. He has a lovely family, a house a few minutes from the beach and is making a good living as an artist. His art is a bit twisted - sculptured heads of the rich and famous with their faces cut open as if in a knife attack, but these are in great demand so, hey ho, whatever goes in the land of the free.

But Jim has a colourful past as a man of violence with many years in prison behind him.

He gets a message from Scotland to say tha
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scotland, novels
Ritorna Begbie, accidenti: per noi vecchi che lo abbiamo conosciuto ormai vent'anni fa, mai ritorno fu più apprezzato. Che bellezza, signore e signori, avere una storia tutta dedicata al Franco nostro, rinsavito come non te lo aspetti (oppure psicato come ai bei tempi...). A me mi prende peggio di una telenovela, l'ambientazione sottoproletaria di Leith, con i personaggi che ritornano, le storie che si intrecciano, le mogli ciccione lasciate di là e ritrovate di qua, i figli che crescono, gli Sp ...more
Jul 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
That's the thing aboot bein an artist, ye get...creative.

When I heard that there was to be a new Irvine Welsh and that he would be devoting the whole book to everyone's favourite amoral psychopath Begbie, I got excited and thought, “Bring it on”. But as The Blade Artist begins, we meet a new sort of character: Begbie is now a celebrated sculptor, living in California with his beautiful young wife and two blonde daughters, and not only has he given up drinking and fighting, but he's given up his
Makis Dionis
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: guiness
O Welsh ξέρει να γράφει ιστορίες για την pub κ τους ανθρώπους της... Εδώ με πρώτο βιολί τον αντιήρωα κ μέγιστο Frank Begbie
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As soon as I heard about The Blade Artist, and that Irvine Welsh was bringing one of his most iconic characters back, I knew I had to read it. There was no way I was going to miss out on the return of one of my favourite literary creations. The good news? Begbie has returned and he is bringing a whole world of hurt with him.

As ever, Welsh’s writing offers a keen insight into the innermost workings of his protagonist. It is fascinating watching as Jim Francis devolves back into Francis Begbie. Th
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Da ich bislang noch kein Buch von Irvine Welsh gelesen habe, obwohl mir der Autor immer wieder empfohlen wurde, wurde es nun endlich an der Zeit, ein Werk von ihm zu lesen. Die Wahl fiel dabei auf sein neuestes Werk "Kurzer Abstecher", das nicht nur gut klang, sondern bislang gute Kritiken erhalten hat. Interessant fand ich hierbei auch, dass die Figur Begbie bereits in "Trainspotting" vorkam, sodass ich er mir nicht ganz unbekannt war. Meine Erwartungen waren dementsprechend hoch und ich wurde ...more
Ophelia Sings
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
'The best way to make sure your children don't grow up as cunts is not to be one yourself.'

So far, Jim Francis is managing to follow his own advice rather well, bringing up his two beautiful daughters in a Californian beachside idyll. Along with his blissful marriage to Mel and a lucrative career as an artist, disfiguring the sculpted heads of the rich and famous, life's pretty good - a million miles from his old life when his enlightened parenting mantra was still many years - and prison stretc
Alex Jones
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Welsh has long been one of my favorite authors, and from the get-go I was exhilarated by the prospect of a new Begbie book. Though that's what I got, it's not what I really wanted. I have no problem with the new approach Welsh took to the character, the reimagining of him as a man who has learned through years of hardship how to mitigate his vitriol and channel it into a more fulfilling outlet: art.

My problem is that Welsh couldn't really commit to the new Begbie. Even though the book is really
Guy Portman
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reformed Scottish ex-con Jim Francis (formerly Franco Begbie) is now a successful sculptor living the dream in sunny California with his former prison art therapist now trophy wife and their two children. But when a tragic event unfolds back in his hometown of Leith, Edinburgh, he feels compelled to return to his old stomping ground. There he must face the very different life he left behind. Will Jim stay restrained, off the booze and away from the violence that was the scourge of his younger se ...more
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Having some substantial rail travel in hand, I have ripped through this - the latest from one of my favourite authors - in a couple of days. I wouldn't say it's one of the best and it's largely lacking in humour, even of the dark Irvine kind, but it's certainly gripping.

I read a couple of reviews of this and conclude that certain public school boys don't think that working class people should be able to write books and if they do they shouldn't write them on subjects based in real working class
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was very excited when I got my mitts on an early copy of this book. I have read most of this author's books and loved every delicious one of them. I was even more excited as this book marked the return of Francis Begbie. One of my favourite characters from Trainspotting. There are also some great cameos from other familiar characters including Spud and Juice Terry as well as mentions for several others so reading this was like slipping back into a very familiar world. Well, once the rather str ...more
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Let's get this over with...


The Blade Artist is part of a series that involves the characters from Trainspotting (Renton, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie). It is from Begbie's perspective after he's managed to turn his life around.
What I liked about this story is that Begbie was mostly relatable. He didn't expect a good life with a loving spouse and kidlets that he adored, because he wouldn't have ever thought that was an option. And then it happened and it's awesome. That part of this book is awe
Stephen McQuiggan
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Begbie, the most iconic character in the Welsh canon, is now a renowned sculptor married to a Californian goddess and living the American dream. It opens with a confrontation on the beach that suggests his new non-violent, contented persona is little more than a flimsy facade. When he is called back to Edinburgh for the funeral of a murdered son he never knew the facade is slowly, inexorably peeled away. The only real difference between this incarnation of Begbie and the rampaging psycho of 'Tra ...more
Louise Wilson
Mar 28, 2016 rated it liked it
In the follow up to Trainspotting Jim Francis is now a successful sculptor and painter and lives peacefully with his wife and two daughters in California.

In Francis's past he has another identity. He has to travel back to Scotland for the funeral of his son that he barely knew. Will he seek his revenge in Edinburgh? Is this his past catching up with him.

This is quite a violent book at times and not the type of book I would normally read though the book is well written

I would like to thank Net Ga
Metodi Markov
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crimy, modern, uk
Нечаквано свеж, оптимистичен и същевременно брутален роман на Уелш.

Бегби се завръща със стил и размах, непознати от предишните приключения на единбургските негодници. Направо съжалявам, че преди това авторът го е държал в миманса на историите - та той има толкова много да предложи!

Абсолютно съм очарован и ще потърся непрочетените книги от Уелш. ;) Май ще трябва да изгледам и Трейнспотинг 2.

Робърт Карлайл като Бегби:

Колибри, корицата ви е отвратителна!
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites-2016
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Dear Irvine Welsh,

I was looking forward to reading The Blade Artist ever since I read that Francis Begbie was making a comeback. The short description at the back of the book said that you had turned Begbie into a famous sculptor (!) living in America. This indicated to me that you would be at your cheeky best. Some questions would be answered. What is Begbie really like? Is he a force of nature? Or just a wanker? How would Begbie deal with gentrified American society and those phony Hollywood
Sam Berry
May 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
It was like mildly shit fan-fiction.
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Jimmy Boyle has a lot to answer for. The gang executioner (literally), introduced to art while in prison, and on release builds a career as an arty type, marrying the American art therapist - and giving rise to thousands of words about the nature of criminals, potential for reform and the importance of art and reaching out (left) and scepticism that you can't reform the fundamentally broken (right).

Begbie goes Boyle in the fourth Trainspotting book, and it's entirely focused on him. We meet Jim
Matthew Vaughn
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Begbie returns! I found myself really sucked into this book. I liked the way he changed Franco, and how he had to fight at times to stay that way. But some things never change, and Welsh delivered another great read!
Elvio Maccari
Irvine Welsh - L'artista del coltello
Frank Begbie, il folle psicopatico di Trainspotting, è un uomo che ha cambiato la sua vita, oggi si fa chiamare Jim Francis e vive in California con la sua splendida moglie Melanie e le due figlie. E' un artista famoso ed apprezzato per le sue sculture, sulle quali sfoga la violenza creativa con coltelli e altre armi da taglio. Ha messo da parte il suo animo violento ed ha provato a sotterrare le sue pulsioni rabbiose. Ma quanto è spesso lo strato sotto il qu
Jakub Karda
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nadšení, prostě jízda a pokud přebal sliboval Tarantina tak já dostal Coeny říznutý Tarantinem... miluji Begbieho
Dimitris Passas
Aug 19, 2017 rated it liked it
''The wisest of human beings are students, forever learning how to deal with life, continuously readjusting in the face of shifting opportunities and threats it presents''

Εν πολλοίς απογοητευτικό... ο Welsh χάνει την ευκαιρία να χτίσει ένα άρτιο μυθιστόρημα με κεντρικό πρωταγωνιστή έναν από τους διασημότερους αντικοινωνικούς ψυχοπαθείς στην λογοτεχνία, τον Franco Begbie, που ο περισσότερος κόσμος γνώρισε στα πρώτα βιβλία της σειράς Mark Renton και ειδικότερα στο ''Trainspotting''. Ο Begbie φαίν
Rodrigo Acuna
Apr 07, 2016 rated it liked it
"The first cut is the deepest"

We have met Francis Begbie before he was in Trainspotting, then again in the sequel Porno, then in the prequel Skagboys but now he has a new identity and a new name Jim Francis. He lives in california with a beautiful wife and two daughters, he adores them and would do anything to protect them; and he does.

He carries two lives in him, one is normal the other one is pure violence, controlled restrained but never too far never too controlled when is safe to let go, in
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing

‘Ye get what ye get, not what ye deserve’

I can’t think of another literary character who embodies both horror and hilarity to the same extent as Frank Begbie. I inhaled this novel in two days, just couldn’t put it down. Except for the excessively vicious Tyrone scene at the end, I thought it was perfect. The new world immigrant forced to return to his old world stomping ground, like a wild beast returned to its natural habitat. Throw the odd outbreak of hallmark Franco violence (did someone say
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 4th book in the 'Trainspotting' series and this was not at all what I was expecting. First of all it largely focused on only one of the gang, and that someone is virtually unrecognisable from how we has last seen him (both on paper and film) Typically violent, sweary and vulgar, just what you have come to expect from an Irvine Welsh book, oh and what an ending! Brilliant.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Help with similar authors?? 2 6 Jan 31, 2017 09:13AM  
  • The Sunshine Cruise Company
  • The Fainting Room
  • Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft #3
  • Betwixt and Between
  • 22 Dead Little Bodies (Logan McRae #8.6)
  • Trois mille chevaux vapeur
  • City of Spades
  • Non stancarti di andare
  • Last Kiss (Dr. Kate Pearson, #3)
  • Residenza Arcadia
  • La bolla di componenda
  • The Scottish Nation: A History, 1700-2000
  • The Death of Danny Daggers
  • Keeping Up with the Kalashnikovs
  • New Hope for the Dead (Hoke Mosely #2)
  • The Lamplighter
  • The Prince's Boy: Volume One (The Prince's Boy, #1)
  • L'Ordine della penna (Black Friars, #2)
Probably most famous for his gritty depiction of a gang of Scottish Heroin addicts, Trainspotting (1993), 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 scumb ...more

Other books in the series

Mark Renton (5 books)
  • Skagboys
  • Trainspotting
  • Porno
  • Dead Men's Trousers
“I like the idea of a black sun; like a black hole in space, sucking everything into darkness, where we came from and where we're heading” 14 likes
“History repeated itself. The 'don't do the things I did' mantra was tiresome pish. The best way to make sure your children don't grow up as cunts is not to be one yourself - or not to let them SEE you being one. This is easier as a sober artist in Santa Barbara than as an alcoholic jailbird in Leith.” 2 likes
More quotes…