Allison Faris, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by Allison Faris)
After considering the books of the past decade that have really stuck with me, I had to pick "Trainspotting" for its originality, style and piercing wit. Welsh may have had a few stumbles since writing what is arguably his best book, but "Trainspotting" remains canonical for the movement it ushered in and the 90's microcosm it so deftly depicts. By turning the vogue of heroin chic into something both palpable and depraved, Welsh explores the inner psyche of his fully-developed characters and creates a work still stunning in its relevance. A real treat.
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crowyhead, October 31, 2007 (view all comments by crowyhead)
Once you get to the point where you can "hear" the dialog in your head, it gets a lot easier to understand this book. I loved it almost in spite of myself.
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W. W. Norton & Company -
by Jane Mendelsohn, The New Republic,
"Welsh writes with a wit that's calculatedly outrageous, and his main character, Mark Renton, can be winningly sarcastic, especially when he's in need of a fix; but this does not make the book an advertisement for drugs....To say that Trainspotting glorifies heroin is like saying that the Inferno glorifies hell....The careful manipulation of perspective is what makes Welsh's writing more than just a catalog of dead baby humor and drug lore. Through his use of vernacular and shifting voices, he stays close enough to his characters to get into their heads, but far enough away to show their self-delusion....The language in Trainspotting is alienating at first, exhilarating once you get the hang of it, and finally poetic in its complications. One of the most complicated things about the book is that it isn't written in one voice but in many. Each character has his own syntax, vocabulary and rhythm....This isn't just dictation on Welsh's part; it's literary in the best sense, using language at every level to tell a story."
by Mark Jolly, The New York Times Book Review,
"It's worth making the effort with Trainspotting not merely because relatively few writers have rummaged through this particular enclave of British youth culture, but because even fewer have dug there so deeply."
by David Foster Wallace, author of Infinite Jest,
"Irvine Welsh is the real thing a marvelous mixture of nihilism and heartbreak, pinpoint realism (especially in dialect and tone), and an archetypal universality."
by Rebel, Inc.,
"The best book ever written by man or woman...deserves to sell more copies than the Bible."
Trainspotting is the novel that first launched Irvine Welsh's spectacular career—an authentic, unrelenting, and strangely exhilarating episodic group portrait of blasted lives.
It accomplished for its own time and place what Hubert Selby, Jr.'s Last Exit to Brooklyn did for his. Rents, Sick Boy, Mother Superior, Swanney, Spuds, and Seeker are as unforgettable a clutch of junkies, rude boys, and psychos as readers will ever encounter. Trainspotting was made into the 1996 cult film starring Ewan MacGregor and directed by Danny Boyle (Shallow Grave).
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