Book #20

Porno by Irvine Welsh

In the fag-end of his youth, Simon 'Sick Boy' Williamson is back in his native Edinburgh after a long spell in London. Having failed spectacularly as a hustler, pimp, husband, father and businessman, Sick Boy taps into an opportunity, which to him represents one last throw of the dice. To enable this scam to work out, Sick Boy needs bedfellows.

This is the sequel to Trainspotting, and takes place ten years later. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews on this one, always comparing it to Trainspotting, but I have to say I like it just as much, if not more than, its predecessor.

It's slightly less intense than Trainspotting and shows sex rather than heroin as the drug of choice. Despite this, it's still filled with corruption from beginning to end.

It's possibly not the best book to read in public. I have the edition with the cover above, and this provoked a few raised eyebrows from the public when I was doing my relentless 'read whilst walking somewhere' routine. If you're easily embarrassed, then this is one that should be read only in the comforting depths of your own home.

The main thing to notice here is how deeply Irvine Welsh falls in love with his characters. They appear in sequels, but they also appear dotted around in the backgrounds of his other novels and this intertwining is something I love about his work. Porno seems to have been written to continue the stories of the much loved characters from Trainspotting, and who can blame the man for this? I found the character development to be almost perfect; every character was more or less where I would've expected them to be ten years down the line.

The narrative is set out similar to Trainspotting’s, with each new chapter being narrated by a different voice. This is wonderful as it gives us a greater insight into the minds and actions of more of the characters, rather than just one. Again, some of the characters use Scot's dialect, which can become tiresome (I imagine) if it's not your native tongue. Most of Sick Boy's chapters were written in perfect English, but it was interesting to note the occasions where he reverted back into Edinburgh slang, and wonder upon the reasons for this. How pondersome of me, I know.

There is a lot Welsh is trying to say here about consumerism and corporate capitalism, which is interesting to think about also.

I wouldn't say this is a necessary read for everyone who has read Trainspotting. It is necessary, however, for lovers of Irvine Welsh and his characters; the insight into them here is phenomenal.

It's filthy, it's dark, it's dirty and hilarious. I really don't understand what's not to love here. I'd even go as far as to demand another installment.

20 / 72 books. 28% done!