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The Cutting Room [Paperback]

Louise Welsh
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 May 2003
The Cutting Room heralds the arrival of an outstanding, contemporary Glasgow novel. Its charismatic protagonist, Rilke, is eccentric, witty and frequently outrageous. An auctioneer by profession, he is an acknowledged expert in antiques but also considers himself something of an expert in many other fields. When Rilke comes upon a hidden collection of graphically violent erotic photographs, he feels compelled to unearth more about the deceased owner who coveted them. What follows is a compulsive journey of discovery, decadence and deviousness, steered in part by Rilke's gay promiscuity and inquisitive nature. Louise Welsh's writing is stylish and captivating; she combines aspects of a detective story with shades of the gothic in a colourful Glasgow ranging from the genteel suburbs to a transvestite club, auction house to the bookies, pub and porn shop. The result is a page-turning and deliciously original debut. The Cutting Room has won the Crime Writers Association award for debut crime novels, the John Creasey Memorial Dagger, and has been longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2002.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; New edition edition (1 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841954047
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841954042
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 430,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Before becoming a full-time writer Louise Welsh ran a second hand bookshop. She has been the recipient of several awards including the John Creasey Memorial Dagger, the Saltire first book award and in 2007 was included in Waterstones list of twenty-five authors for the future. She has also written for radio and stage and in 2009 produced a libretto for Scottish Opera's 5:15 series. She lives in Glasgow. You can learn more about Louise at

Product Description


The Cutting Room is a hugely commendable debut, assured and memorable. Crime fiction may have its prize-winner at last. -- The Independent

Astonishingly this is a first novel, catapulting Welsh straight into the superstar league, while establishing Rilke as a classic original. -- The Times

One of the most intriguing assured and unputdownable debuts to come out of Scotland in recent years. -- The Sunday Times

The year's most talked about crime debut. -- The Scotsman

This elegiac, elegant and atmospheric book is an original and compelling first novel. -- Daily Telegraph

About the Author

Louise Welsh is the bestselling author of The Cutting Room and Tamburlaine Must Die. She was chosen as one of Britain's Best First Novelists of 2002 by the Guardian, won The Crime Writers' Association Creasey Dagger for the best first crime novel, and the Saltire First Book of The Year Award, 2002. Her new novel, The Bullet Trick is published in paperback Feb 2007.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric 11 Sep 2006
By G. L. Haggett VINE VOICE
An atmospheric thriller, based upon an auctioneer's discovery of violent pornographic photographs during a house clearance, with homosexuality, brooding sexual tension and an ever-present sense of imminent menace thrown in for good measure.

Louise Welsh has a light touch in her writing, lending a subtlety to the dark and troubling scenes she creates; relationships, both on the one-to-one level of brute sexual desire and in the wider sense of man's relationship to man, are convincingly portrayed.

Two rather stilted homilies towards the end of the book, on people trafficking and the behaviour during the Orange Walk, therefore sit rather uneasily in the context.

All in all, however, this is a satisfyingly challenging read.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking Read 7 Aug 2002
By A Customer
This is a great book and I can't recommend it strongly enough. Loved everthing about it; great plot, great characters, great dialogue, brilliant evocation of seemier side to Glasgow, beautiful obsevation and none of the self consciously "fine writing" that spoils so many new British novels, nice and meaty and real. Nice use of quotations too and I really enjoyed all the references to Romanticism and Scottish literature (The drinks bar is called Gilmartin's, from the Justified Sinner). I can't remember reading a new book that was so generous to the reader in providing plain old fashioned reading pleasure, there's even (rarest of joys) a great ending with a real sense of closure. Just fabulous.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very different VERY good 5 Sep 2003
By Jo
I have never read a book like this before! All the characters are dark and interesting with shady pasts or little secrets. The main character spends his spare time looking for chance encounters in the park or gents toilets, yet he also manages to grip you to the storyline and you end up feeling for all the characters no matter their personality or preferences.
This book had me hooked from the first page! If you want a novel that is fresh and original you MUST read this. I cant wait to see what she writes next!
The ending caught me totally unawares!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very dark.... 30 Oct 2011
Louise Welsh is a talented writer - although I have to say that this book shouted "literary crime fiction" a bit too loudly in parts. However the atmosphere of Glasgow is brilliantly portrayed especially the interior of buildings. The plot is intriguing. An auctioneer is asked to clear the house of a dead man and finds a collection of disturbing pornographic photographs. He becomes fascinated by these and finds himself drawn towards tracking down the young female victim.

Most of the characters were, unfortunately, rather unpleasant and unattractive. The hero being a homosexual is no problem but the hero having predatory tendencies and a rather unsavoury sex life make him less appealing!

Recommended for those who like their crime fiction dark and with graphic sex.....

Plus: a brilliant narration by Robert Carlyle.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cut above the rest 9 Oct 2002
By A Customer
This book restored my faith in crime fiction! A dark story, set in a dark city, with a wonderfully dysfunctional hero. Beautifully written and tensely plotted, this is a class act for a first novel.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive 28 Nov 2003
By A Customer
I came upon it by chance and purchased it after reading the reviews on Amazon, half believing the claims, but from the first page I was hooked. The story (both in style and content), is so different from any other crime thriller I've read, that I couldn't wait to get back to it to see what twist or turn the plot would take. I found the main character, Rilke, endearing in a very seedy sort of way. I thought that the author's very clever style of writing (from the point of view of Rilke) made me think of the old 40s black-and-white detective movies where the detective talks over the action, telling the viewer what's going on in his head! Nevertheless, this novel has a very gritty, earthy, powerful feel to it and it is like no other novel I've read. Superb!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different and dark 22 Aug 2003
A different novel - if only because it has a rather unlovable 'protagonist' rather than a narrator or hero. Dark, obsessive and unusual, this book is one you will be sorry to finish and the author one whose future work you will await with eager interest.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ran out of steam 7 Mar 2011
By Gaviano
Format:Kindle Edition
The initial set-up is very good -- the grimy characters, the rainy city, the big mysterious house with the big mysterious attic, the disturbing secrets -- and I stayed with it until I was about halfway through, knowing it wasn't exactly spectacular but entertaining nonetheless.

After that, it runs out of steam a bit and started to feel a bit overwritten until near the end when a room full of new characters is introduced at great length and you just know none of these people are going to be important so don't feel at all guilty in skipping. The end itself felt out of focus with the rest of the book.

A decent introduction to Welsh's writing and despite my disappointment with the end, I look forward to reading more of her work.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Did not enjoy. Good idea but too much about the 'hero's ...
Did not enjoy. Good idea but too much about the 'hero's sex life for my liking and guessed the outcome half way through.
Published 23 days ago by Frances Bond
4.0 out of 5 stars distinctive
Unusual protagonist, gay, dishonest and a bit creepy set in an almost unbelievable unsuccessful Glasgow auctioneers. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Malcolm R
5.0 out of 5 stars an exceptionally well written first novel
I deliberately returned to the beginning and bought her first novel, after reading the Speccie Review of her latest Oeuvre. So glad I did. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Sadly I didn't enjoy this. Far too much description for my tastes which really interfered with the pace. Found myself flicking ahead through unread pages. Never a good sign. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Lucycat (Hampshire)
5.0 out of 5 stars Very unusual story.....
I loved the Glasgow setting,also loved the character of Rilke and hoped it was someone Louise may bring back. I did this for a university course and thoroughly enjoyed it. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Bellebookandcandle
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fabulously gritty crime story
I have to be honest I genuinely can't recall how this particular book got on my wish list, but I am terribly glad it did. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Mainser
3.0 out of 5 stars Good start
Love writing style. Difficult subject matter - images stayed with me for days! Thought opening chapters were brilliant but in middle I lost interest. But still finished it. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Evie
I found this book on the way back from the doctors a few years ago and late last year, with nothing left to read, I thought I'd give it a go. The first chapter hooked me in. Read more
Published 14 months ago by JM
4.0 out of 5 stars Idiosyncratic noir thriller with loads of local colour
This novel has a lot going for it. In the first place, a decidedly quirky first person narrator, plus a cast of other unusual characters, not all of them that convincing, but well... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Norman Housley
5.0 out of 5 stars a rare very good read
I thought The Cutting Room was a real page turner. I was gripped from page one. I just could not put The Cutting Room book down. Lousie Welsh has very skilfully written this novel. Read more
Published 19 months ago by ireadnovels
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