Trainspotting

( 59 )

Overview

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 ...

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Trainspotting

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Jane Mendelsohn - New Republic
“The language in Trainspotting is... exhilarating once you get the hang of it, and finally poetic in its complications.... Literary in the best sense, using language at every level to tell a story.”
New York Times Book Review
“Blisteringly funny.... Don't abandon everything for the movie. 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.”
Times Out
“It is funny, unflinchingly abrasive, authentic, and inventive, unerringly on—and off—the pulse. It is a true cult, the kind of novel you press on perfect strangers. It validates a world fiction hasn't recognized before.”
Nick Hornby - Sunday Times
“Irvine Welsh writes with skill, wit, and compassion that amounts to genius. He is the best thing that has happened to British writing in decades.”
Times Literary Supplement
“Irvine Welsh may become one of the most significant writers in Britain. He writes with style, imagination, wit, and force, and in a voice which those alienated by much current fiction clearly want to hear.”
David Foster Wallace
“Irvine Welsh is the real thing—a marvelous admixture of nihilism and heartbreak, pinpoint realism (especially in dialect and tone) and almost archetypal universality.”
Nick Hornby
Irvine Welsh writes with skill, wit, and compassion that amounts to genius. He is the best thing that has happened to British writing in decades. -- Sunday Times
From the Publisher
“A novel perpetually in a starburst of verbal energy – a vernacular spectacular…the stories we hear are retched from the gullet.”
Scotland on Sunday

“One of the most original writers in Britain. He writes with style, imagination, wit and force.”
— Nick Hornby, Times Literary Supplement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393314809
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 81,768
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Irvine Welsh

Irvine Welsh is the author of Trainspotting, Ecstacy, Filth (soon to be a major motion picture), Glue, Porno, and Crime, among other works. Welsh is also producing movies and writing screenplays. A native of Edinburgh, he lives in Chicago and Miami.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 59 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(42)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 59 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2006

    Avant-garde

    The only book to compare this one to is 'A Clockwork Orange.' Even Burgess' masterful novel can't compare to this strange, horrifying, visceral, funny, and entertaining knock out. The characters are lowlifes and, at the same time, sympathetic. The stories, at first glance, don't look like they flow together, but when Welsh drags you deeper into his depressing, bleak, gallows humour infested world, you feel its correllation. It seems as if Irvine is a fly on the wall, able to analyze (and sometimes divulge) into the darkness of living. At times, this book has the same feel of Celine's 'Journey to the End of the Night' with its raging, maniacal prose, in sections, anyways. Other times it felt like a gothic novel set amidst an industrial wasteland full of sociopaths, heroin addicts, and all around scum bags. Think Wuthering Heights if it were written by Hubert Selby Jr, set in modern day Edinburgh. Violence is always up in the air, ready to explode at any minute. It's impossible to set this three hundred page wallop down, despite the fact that you really want to - the uncomfortable truths this aesthetically driven masterpiece exposes is unbelievably disgusting to dissect, but the author pulls you in and doesn't let go. This assemblage is a nightmare, content wise there are so many sequences that make you cringe, and if you don't cringe, you're just a sick person, period. Sure, many people have pointed out how funny the novel is. Granted, while it is laugh out loud hilarious, it's still terrifying. This is an admirable feat. Welsh has managed to dig so incredibly deep into the foggy netherworld of the Scottish proleteriat, tearing down a verdigris moss covered wall to discover the restlessly vicious honesty on the other side and, at the same time, still gaze at it through a comedian's lens. This makes aspiring authors (such as me) hate him with an envy. Each story he manages to end with a sting. He zaps the reader with rhythem. The famed phonetic scottish dialect is admirable. Welsh knows how difficult it is to read, and through the consistent challenge of understanding this prose, the writer makes sure he pummels you with discomforting altruisms on nearly every page. In a transgressional novel written in plain english, it's easy to skip whatever line you want. If you don't want to read something, you don't have to. With this book, you have to. The honesty is what impressed me most about 'Trainspotting.' Having read thousands of novels, I've never ran across a text that was so originally inventive with getting across incompassionate personalities. The (second) funeral scene for Tommy was my favorite. There's an interior monologue for each character attending, and it's simply astounding it reminds you of how low the human race can go in terms of being unsympathetic and inhumane. While many would argue that Welsh is by no means a moralist (and I'm not inclined to intensely disagree with this supposition) I think that there is a speck of allegory dotting this map of anarchic nihilism. It only exists tonally, however. It's not spoonfed to you in the last couple of pages, a technique that famed author Palahniuk executes in most of his novels. Upon finishing Trainspotting, I felt like three years had been taken off of my life. It was a draining, satisfying experience. You can't really describe the reading of this novel to anyone who hasn't done it the entire thing is a rollar coaster ride.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2003

    Choose Life! Anyways

    Steakhorny and dope and behind them the life! Rents was the only one who tried and somewhat went away with a bit of success. Lest, it was junk and rusting for those unsporting and heroin savvy guys. Doping over the death of babies, death of their trust, death of feelings. But only missing the death! I wish things were fiction and screenshow. But what Sick By, Spud and gang went through is a bitter pill to swallow.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2005

    A Must Read, Even If You Saw The Movie!!!

    Once I read this book, that was it!! I was a fan of Welsh's forever. This book goes deeper than detailed in the movie of the life of the charaters and tells how rotten, skaggy, and different they really are. Drugs are a big chunk of it, but deeply opens up what really happens to people while on them & not. Told in a true Scotish way, which will take a while at first, but once you've gotten the hang of it, the read is very, very, very well worth it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2005

    Brit's n all

    Seedy British life told as it is. A classic and an even better experience than the lauded film

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2004

    Simply one of the best books I've ever read.

    Trainspotting is probably the best book I have ever read.I love the movie and have watched it about 100 times.After watching the movie I wouldn't expect the book to be like it is.Unlike the movie the book isn't just about heroin.While reading the book I found it hard to believe that the movie was based on the same story.The movie leaves TONS of parts out of the story,but is still a great movie.The thing I enjoyed most about the book was that it let the reader see things from more than one character's point of view.Trainspotting is everything a book should be-it's funny,shocking,and beautifully written.Reading it has changed the way I look at life,I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone,especially people who love the movie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Before I could pick up this book, the professor at my college re

    Before I could pick up this book, the professor at my college replace the reading of it with watching the movie. From what I know about the material (as opposed to Ewan McGregor, who stars in the movie), it is about drugs, drugs, and drugs. You’ll find yourself struggling with the characters and maybe even finding them a bit bullheaded if that’s possible. The story has kind of a movie feel to it by the end with the twist, and who gets rewarded garners the attention of the viewer/reader. I probably would not have considered myself as having experienced this work without the book, but if the professor okays it, so do I!

    I would recommend this product along with Sirens of Morning Light by Benjamin Anderson, a quest for a man in Iowa to regain his identity, which becomes entangled with people who claim to have known him when he discovers he is a scientific experiment. Make sure not to miss either book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2013

    Renton is amazing

    Junkie philosopher. Amazing perspective of himself, life, and herion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    Xm .o

    Yq . ?uish .hdjcnjluotBnmmyi .ruuiyjh.i

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 22, 2012

    A thrill ride

    This was quite the thrill ride. There was nonstop action right after the escape from the pet store. Also felt very cinematic. Any plans to turn this into a movie?

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Cultish

    Consistently interesting, if at times confusing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2006

    Xcellent Read

    one of the best books i have ever read. if u like the movie, u will love the book. a dictionary is included, but u gotta get the rest of the lingo down though that isn't in it, which isn't that hard to do. just brilliant.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2004

    Loved it

    The this only the second book I've read by Irvine Welsh and now I am convinced I will have to read all of them. Even if you don't care about the losers in his books, the trip inside their world is so fascinating, compelling and hard to turn away from that you will return again and again to the world of Irvine Welsh. The writing is SO good that it astounds me. I've now gotten used to the 'burr' and although it slows the reader down, it's worth it and makes you savor the books even more. Why is this man not nominated for more awards. He deserves every literary award available.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2003

    Strict anti-typecasting

    Trainspotting offers something to the reader that other books or film alike cannot. The reader feeds on the extremity of each of the characters, so distinguished and characterized. They are not played from type but are carved meticulously to provide the best script and entertainment witnessed in years. Trainspotting is different. Unlike similiar themes, it centres around the inner thoughts of a single character, 'Renton' highlighting the battle between morality (choosing life) and unconcious wasting (drugs). Choose Trainspotting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2003

    OUTSTANDING!

    I absolutley love the book. When I started, I couldn't stop. Its hard to get past the first chapter, but once you do, you understand whats going on and what the hell people are saying. But the thing about the language, is that you have to stop and think about what they are saying to is helps alot because you actually had to think about it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2002

    RAW

    I've never shot up heroin. I've never destroyed my life, abusing a substance,person,situation. But I've wanted a new life. I've wanted to believe in myself. I've tried to stop doing the unstoppable, felt life slipping away from me, and hence the lure of this novel. You don't need to have been there to be there. Right there. You feel for Renton, you root for Renton, as he takes it all in; the awful and the euphoria. The struggle to get it right. To change. To feel like even the most suburbial life could still be his. It's almost suffocatingly honest. I've heard the folks at the Cannes Film Festival gave the film version a 10-minute standing ovation. The novel makes you want to go home w/Renton in the end, and see where life ends up taking him. I still want to know how he's doing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2002

    The Movie Was Better

    One of the rare times in which the movie was better. The writing was convoluted and the colloquilisms were often difficult to follow. However, this is an important book. A voice and perspective as unique as the Slick Worthy character in Quentin Cain's fabulous 'Notes from the 'G' Spot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2002

    equally as good as the movie

    I really hate it when I see a movie that is really outstanding and then I find out that it was a book as well. I always end up reading the book because I enjoy the fullness of character that a movie just can't provide. After reading the book I found Mark Rentons character to be dynamic and real. I can't remember the last time I read a book where I knew the character so intemitly. The book also contains a subchapter entitled 'Bad Blood' that is out of place and fits perfectly at the same time; a would be outstanding short story. All in all I would invest time to at least the movie or the book, but they are both outstanding.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2001

    life in the eyes of a junky

    This book is unlike any I've ever read. Welsh gives a refreshing perspective of drug use. He makes the reader fall in love with these junkies. The crude and abrupt humor makes this book difficult to put down. It gave me a new perspective on life. This book is an eye opener. It will introduce the reader to new ideas and ways of looking at events in life. I would recommend this book to anyone who needs a fresh, slap in the face kind of experience.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2001

    Astonishing

    Surely one of the top 5 novels of the 1990s. It's the compassion he creates that is so astonishing, in amongst all the filth and degradation and casual violence. If you're seriously into this book, you might want to check out Robert Morace's guide to it - a great, intelligent treatment by a real fan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2001

    A classic story of Heroin, In Depth

    This book is one that I would never get tired of reading. The wit and utter disgust that Renton can dish out is amazing! I would recomend this to anyone who likes reading books in a language that is unfamiliar to ours. Ivirine Welsh writes the best books you will ever find! Congrats!

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