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Glue [Paperback]

Irvine Welsh
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

4 April 2002

Glue is the story of four boys growing up in the Edinburgh schemes, and about the loyalties, the experiences and the secrets that hold them together into their thirties.

As we follow their lives from the 70's into the new century - from punk to techno, from speed to Es - we can see each of them trying to struggle out from under the weight of the conditioning of class and culture, peer pressure and their parents' hopes that maybe their sons will do better than they did. What binds the four of them is the friendship formed by the scheme, their school, and their ambition to escape from both; their loyalty fused in street morality: back up your mates, don't hit women and, most importantly, never grass - on anyone.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (4 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099285924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099285922
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Irvine Welsh was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. Raised in the tenement homes of Leith, the prefabs in West Pilton and the maisonettes in Muirhouse, he attended Ainslie Park Secondary School. At sixteen, he left education and took on various jobs, and eventually moved to London in the seventies. There he dabbled with the property market while spending his free time exploring the London punk scene. He then moved back to Edinburgh to study an MBA.

Back home, and inspired by the nineties rave scene, he was fortunate enough to run into some fascinating characters whom he immortalised in his diary - and, later, in the pages of Trainspotting. At first dismissed for its unmarketable content, Trainspotting shot Welsh to fame, precipitated further by the release of the film, by Danny Boyle, three years later.

Since then he has written eight other works of fiction. He currently lives in Chicago.

Product Description

Amazon Review

With a title like Glue, it would seem reasonable to assume that Irvine Welsh's new novel is a profound reflection upon the pitfalls of solvent abuse. In fact, the glue of Welsh's book deals with the bonds that unite four boys growing up together in "the scheme", the "slum-clearance" flats of Edinburgh, whose optimistic construction in the 1970s give way to the poverty, unemployment and crime of the 1980s and 1990s. It is this despair that defines the lives of Welsh's central protagonists: Terry Lawson, work-shy and sex-mad; Carl Ewart, budding DJ; Billy Birrell, boxer, and Andrew Galloway, a drug addict who tests HIV-positive.

Glue is a bildungsroman of growing up bad, recounted in Welsh's inimitable style. The novel follows the boys through their early forays into sex, drink, drugs and football violence, written in the author's trademark vernacular. Carl Ewart poses crucial questions such as: "How dae ah chat up a bird?" and "Do I wear a rubber johnny? (If so, nae problem, I've started trying them on so ah ken how tae fir them)". Welsh also attempts occasional political comment on the friends' difficulties: Billy Birrell reflects: "Having money is the only way to get respect. Desperate, but that's the world we live in now." However, Welsh is better at grotesque moments of sex and violence and offhand one-liners, such as: "Guilt and shaggin, they go the gither like fish 'n' chips". Fans of Trainspotting will love Glue, even down to the brief appearance of Begbie and Renton, but others may feel that the novel is just more of the same, and that this performance finds Welsh stuck in a rut. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Wild, brave and funny" (Sunday Times)

"Welsh is brilliant at what he does... This is his most readable and memorable novel since Trainspotting" (Independent on Sunday)

"His most ambitious, but also his most complete and engaging work to date... arguably, his best book" (Times Literary Supplement)

"Full of incident, mad, crackling dialogue, attractively appalling characters and some of the funniest and rudest sex scenes I have read since Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint" (Sunday Times)

"With razor-sharp dialogue, a powerful odour of ordinary desperation and an incisive understanding of what makes these men's friendship tick, Welsh is at the top of his game" (The Face)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welsh comes of age 1 May 2002
Just like Oasis, Welsh shot into the public consciousness with a staggering debut ("Trainspotting") and has spent the rest of his career trying, and failing, to match it. 1999's "Filth" came pretty close, but the tapeworm sub-plot showed that Welsh still hadn't got over his penchant for playing literary games instead of doing what he does best, i.e. characterisation and dialogue.
With "Glue", however, he is definitely back to his best. On the face of it "Glue" sounds similar to "Trainspotting", following as it does a group of mates from the Edinburgh schemes as they get drunk, stoned and generally battered & bruised over a 4-decade period.
But the book is as much about Scotland, and Britain as a whole, as it is the central characters. Welsh's grasp of period is faultless, as he traces the social changes in British society from the 1970s through Thatcherism and the E generation to the present day, and the way his characters either ride the wave or are swept away.
The usual Welsh elements are all there - drugs, booze, sex, football, humour, swearing, politics - but for the first time there's a maturity here, a soul, a desire to place the characters and their activities into a sociopolitical context which can in some way explain their lifestyle choices.
Ultimately, it's a book about friendship and loyalty, and how these qualities somehow manage to endure even when the world keeps on kicking you in the teeth. A funny, gripping, and for the first time touching Welsh novel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glue, by Irvine Welsh 9 July 2002
By A Customer
This was a brilliant book i thought. I am a fan of books that follow groups of mates through their lives, and this definately did not disappoint. Lots of funny moments, but also i found some parts very moving - particularly the end. I was on a train reading it at the time and hoped no-one saw me visibly moved by the ending! 3/4 of the way through i thought it lost it's way slightly when introducing the new female characters, but this did not prevent me from loving this book. A real recommend.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent read. 28 Oct 2001
By A Customer
The strength of this book is the vivid, believable, acutely observed characters. The story meanders through the lives of four "schemies" as they grow up together and grow apart in adulthood. A great book about ordinary life. In 100 years' time this will still be read, at least by literature students.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautiful story 21 Nov 2003
OK so there is violence, sex, violent sex, drink, drugs and swearing. But under it or perhaps throught it there is a beautiful story about how people stick together, look out for each other and care about each other. If you've never read Irvine Welsh before this would be a good place to start.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic 7 April 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I could talk about this novel all day long. It is quite simply, my favourite book of all time. Who knew Irvine Welsh had a masterpiec like this in him. Well done sir.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rambling in the middle but ultimately excellent 22 Jun 2001
a plotless ramble through the decades with four characters and their loyalties tested. The book was a bit overly long with not enough Welsch set peices to my mind. The wire robbery scene and how they kill the dogs is a real toe-curler. The sequence in Germany and the characters relationships were the highlights for me. i thought that it captured the futulity of trying to keep in touch with your mates when you are moving on and changing. Also the way lads are merciless in mickey taking and that that has to be dealt with in a social context - excellent ! Overall a top read if a bit wayward at times. 'Juice' Terry Lawson - what an anti-hero !
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 13 Jun 2006
I loved this book, it being my 3rd experience of Irvine Welsh after Trainspotting and Porno. At first it seemed as if it was going nowhere and it was hard to sympathise with many of the main characters but the more you read the more complex they became. The book is about 4 friends from an Edinburgh scheme and their own unique journeys charting their lives from their childhood in 1970 (though mainly through their parents) to the approach of middle-age in 2000, I like the way it jumps forward from decade to decade letting you see the consequences of the characters actions at a glance whilst updating you on other pivotal moments inbetween.

I think it helped that I was born myself in an Edinburgh scheme, Oxgangs, there are instances where I believe that an outsider would not get 100% out of the story and the dialect is pretty exclusive in parts to only those who have ever lived in the South East lowlands of Scotland but this shouldn't deterr anybody whatsoever, this is a fantastic read, brilliantly funny but at the same time absolutely shocking. The stories are engrossing and at times the action is relentless, this was a book I didn't ever want to finish.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welsh's Greatest Book To Date 5 Aug 2002
By A Customer
I find it breathtaking, reading the reviews of others, to discover that several people feel this book to be weak, to demonstrate further decline in the abilities of Welsh, and so on. The laugh-out-loud humour, the depth of characterisation, and the intricacies and subtleties of the plot seem to have been lost on these poor souls. Those who suggest that the characterisation is weak, when you have characters such as "Juice" Terry in the book, must be deluded. I cheered out loud when I heard that he was to make an appearance in upcoming "Porno". This is one of the very few books that I could read again and again. I found it actually uplifting whilst I was reading it - I'd grin whilst driving to work thinking of Terry and his encounter with the pop star, or or Carl's first panicky sexual experience. This text is flawless. Read this book - if you don't you'll be missing out on some truly entertaining and memorable time with Mr Welsh.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Barry
Barry. The Leith Police displeases us! Every brilliant wee Irvinism resonates, hard & funny. More depth than a pint of IPA. rock & roll literature. Buy it!
Published 2 months ago by Bilbo 123
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Welsh's best
This is a brilliant story of four boys growing up; you really get to learn their backgrounds and feel for the various characters. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Andrew
4.0 out of 5 stars Never boring
Good read/not Trainspotting but how could that ever be matched or surpassed. Recommended to any Welsh fan. Enjoyed it thoroughly.
Published 7 months ago by R Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars quality book
this is my fav book of all times , I collect them all but this is the best must read
Published 8 months ago by m marie lynch
4.0 out of 5 stars Irvine Welsh doing what he does best
having read all of Welsh's books i enjoyed this in the main but felt it ran out of steam and became rather implausible. Read more
Published 10 months ago by D J Parrott
5.0 out of 5 stars Intricate...
Friendships; Poverty; Crime; Football; Sex; Violence; Amsterdam; Drugs; Heroes; Villains; Intricately woven and detailed story telling. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Walter Otton
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, great characters, great writing..,
You probably need to read some of the earlier books to know the background. These characters are so real and the writing is superb. Read more
Published 13 months ago by glush
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING!
Glue was such a great book, you can't help but love the main characters (as mental as some may be). I definitely recommend it!! You won't regret it :)
Published 14 months ago by StarlightMadness
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
There are only so many words you can use to describe this.

Great book, Really enthralling and try as I might I just couldn't put it down.
Published 24 months ago by Evlar
4.0 out of 5 stars Glue
A cracking read, it gives a real insight into life in a scottish town....

Great characters and a very well thought out plot. Read more
Published on 10 May 2010 by Mr. M. Harvey
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