Book #19

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting oan a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fuckin junk food intae yir mooth. Choose rotting away, pishing and shiteing yersel in a home, a total fuckin embarrassment tae the selfish, fucked-up brats ye've produced. Choose life.

This is an old favourite of mine. Irvine Welsh can do no wrong in my eyes.

Trainspotting is almost like a collection of short stories in the way it's written. Welsh flits through different narrators so quickly and frantically that you really have to pay attention to the words and themes in new chapters in order to understand who is telling you this next particular tale.

Welsh writes predominately in Scottish colloquialism, particularly in common Edinburgh dialect. I found this easy to read, being Scottish, but at times I wasn't too sure whether anyone other than a native Scot would be able to understand certain parts of this type of narrative. I imagine it would be a bit like reading A Clockwork Orange for the first time.

The book is dark and absolutely repulsive, but at the same time hilarious and relatable in places. There are some real emotional and moral struggles, and although these are experienced by some depraved criminal losers, sympathy can still be evoked by Welsh.

As a small aside, and since this a question that many people ask me, I'd like to comment on how much I prefer the book to the film. In all fairness, the film is one of my favourites, but it misses out a lot of key points and issues, and embellishes a few others. It's a lot less disjointed than the book is which is less appealing. It raises fewer questions. It's like Diet Trainspotting.

I have always maintained that Irvine Welsh is a man who can bring the lowest lows to life. Anything coarse or depraved that can be imagined can be personified by this man. I think it's his sheer sickness that I'm attracted to; I like reading his books and being transported almost down into the gutters with his characters. I’m sure this is a book that most people are familiar with, and I’d urge everyone to read it. It’s harrowing and to the point, and it’s something that has to be read.

19 / 72 books. 26% done!