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Irvine Welsh Overview

born: 1958
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Irvine Welsh was born in 1958 in Leith, an area that had been incorporated into Edinburgh in much the same way that Scotland itself had been colonized by England. So his -- and his characters' -- congenital resentment towards the world... [more]

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“"Trainspotting" is a spectacular book. So spectacular, in fact, that (a) it is worth overcoming whatever resistance you may have had to reading it due to it's Oprah-Book-Club-For-Hipsters status, and (b) I do not in the least fear that I am overselling it. Much of the book has been reviewed/analyzed/dissected to death elsewhere, so I'll just pick up on my two favorite points: First, there's the language. I've been told others originated it/do it better, but this was my first introduction to transliterated low-rent Scottish dialect, and I found it challenging for about 50 pages and then charismatic, infectious and, when married to low-rent Scottish content, powerfully authoritative. I challenge anyone to pick up this book and not savor the exotic funk of "the sweat wis lashin' oafay Sick Boy; he wis tremblin" with the same guility, almost obsessive pleasure that one gets from interrogating a rather personal, nominally disgusting smell (how's that for oblique?). Secondly, I thought the stuttering dis-articulated narrative structure worked perfectly: purposeful episodes for (multiple) plot advancement, deft character sketches, anecdotes included just for the humor/pathos/fuck of it, all come together to give the story a fully lived-in immediacy, an adumbration of infinite stories untold. To anticipate a common criticism: For sure, "Trainspotting" afforded me all manner of vicarious and voyeuristic thrills precisely of the kind that the authenticity of the narrative rejects. But so what? It was great fun. ”
Posted over 7 years ago
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