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Trainspotting [Paperback]

Irvine Welsh
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

11 July 1994
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.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (11 July 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099465892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099465898
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,037 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


"The voice of punk, grown up, grown wiser and grown eloquent" (Sunday Times)

"The best book ever written by man or woman... Deserves to sell more copies than the bible" (Rebel Inc)

"Welsh writes with a skill, wit and compassion that amounts to genius. He is the best thing that has happened to British writing for decades" (Sunday Times)

"An unremitting powerhouse of a novel that marked the arrival of a major new talent. Loud with laughter in the dark, this novel is the real McCoy" (Herald)

"A novel perpetually in a starburst of verbal energy - a vernacular spectacular... The stories we hear are retched from the gullet" (Scotland on Sunday)


`A complex, episodic read'

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
The first thing to point out is that the book is very different from the (excellent) film.
This is an amazing book; essentially a collection of vignettes about Edinburgh street life among the heroin users strung together by a common cast and a narrative about Renton escaping.
Making heavy use of the local patois, the book can be difficult to read but it is well worth preserving because the language is an essential element in bringing the amazing cast of characters to life.
The film does have an impact here - as the casting affects your image of the characters - this is not really a problem as the casting was generally excellent - Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller fitted my mental images of Renton and Sick Boy very well. Robert Carlyle did not conform to my mental image of Begbie but that doesn't really matter as in many ways he was even more terrifying.
Also note that this is not a book for the faint-hearted - it is often graphic and disturbing in its portrayal of drug addiction (particularly the places you might stick needles) and violence (you will certainly think twice before insulting a waitress).
Essential reading
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 22 Aug 1996
By A Customer
As a reader currently accustomed to standard paperback
bestseller crap "Trainspotting" was a welcome change. I
admit, I didn''t discover this book in its obscurity but
was influenced to read it after the great media-hype
surrounding the film, but I still feel gratitude I read the
book before watching the movie. This book, unlike other
mind-numbing American novels later turned into films,
intrigues the reader and teases his thoughts and his
perception of border lines and what is acceptable and
unacceptable. The novel never urges the reader to try any
drug but rather shows the real side of drug use, the ups
and downs of mainly Heroine and alchohol, in a funny and
provokingly interesting way. With the use of intricate
scottish slang Welsh manages to expose the dark realities of
hopeless junkie lives and bring out the humor of those empty
lives, while still incorpporating hilarious sex scenes, harsh
violence and drug use. A definate must-read, this book will
hopefully open the minds of its readers, if there is any hope
in the youth of this great world of ours!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the film 7 Aug 2004
By Greg
If you've read any other of Irvine Welsh's books and are looking for another hit of his hard-edge and often funny writing style then go to the source, the original, train spotting. Seeing the film will not spoil your experience nor will any comparisons stop you flying through the book, it's simply the most addictive book i've read to date. The characters are, as allways, jumping straight out from the page and are well pictured giving a good dynamic between them. I've never enjoyed a book more and thoroughly recommend the book to anyone who fancies a good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trainspotting: Choosing Life 28 Aug 1996
By A Customer
The controversial novel Trainspotting may be a challenge for those of us Americans who may not grasp the culture or language of the Scottish people. But when you take a closer look, Trainspotting is a book that anyone who has ever had friends going on a downward spiral can relate to. There are no heros in this book. Everyone has their share of downfalls and bad experiences. In no way does the novel glamorize heroin use of any kind. In fact, it should serve as a wake up call for anyone looking into the junkies' life. It is sometimes touching, often humorous, and most of all, real and disturbing. Even so, the reader becomes attached to the characters. The bold and outspoken Mark Renton, the cocky yet gorgeous Sick Boy, and even the screw-up Spud are all characters that will be etched into the reader's memory. I personally enjoyed this book thoroughly. Not just because of its use of integrating different outlooks and directions, but because it gave me a taste of what it is like to live on the "other side" of society. It is a must-read for anyone even remotely interested in what goes on in the mind of thieves, bar-hoppers, and drug addicts. Irvine Welsh's writing is a style that is hard to compare to any other author. Two thumbs up!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book that depicts brilliant realism 13 Oct 1998
By A Customer
'Trainspotting' is a book that has suffered from becoming a sucessful film. Many readers will only come to the book after seeing the film itself and will therefore be forever comparing the book with the movie. However, as a book it screams comedy, realism and social comment. At first difficult to read, as it is written in Glaswegian dialect, it creates a real sense of being young in 1990s Britain, facing the prospect of lifelong unemployment and seeking escapism from reality through the use of drugs. 'Trainspotting' is brilliant in the way that it addresses social problems, creating some funny moments that are always somehow tinged with sadness and thus requiring the reader to use their minds and challenging them to face the realities of the situation. Welsh explore social attitudes and doesn't hold back in expressing any views about the wider cultural problems that face the youth of Britain today. I would recommend eveyone to read this book, to stick with the unusual writing style as it does get easier to follow, and to enjoy the book for what it is and to abstain fromn the temptation to constantly compare it with the film starring the gorgeous Ewan McGregor.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars The book is in a bad condition, wouldn't even see it is 'acceptable'...
The book is in a bad condition, wouldn't even see it is 'acceptable' as the cover is dirty and has some sort of stains on it. Overall I'm very disappointed
Published 19 days ago by Zahra
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, hard hitting masterpiece.
Wasn't sure if I believed the hype surrounding this book but I was surprised. Welsh's writing is insanely good. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Helen
5.0 out of 5 stars Choose Life
Love this book, Irvine welsh takes the reader on a grim dirty sometimes psychotic roller coaster of events, from the mundane to the absolute surreal, buy it, Peace
Published 1 month ago by michael kahl
2.0 out of 5 stars Unreadable
As much as I tried, I don't know why Mr. Welsh implemented the actual accent in written text instead of the usual " he replied with a thick so so accent ... Read more
Published 2 months ago by marwan m alquaiz
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best novels ever.
one of the best novels ever. I've bought it for a young friend.I think it could make him understand essential things about life and about our world.
Published 2 months ago by rents
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
The good thing about Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting is the raw Scots dialect. Usually I always find the books underwhelming up to the film adaptations, but it is so well-paced and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by E Lewis
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic...
A great, if sometimes disturbing read. Welsh isn't interested in cheering his readers up, but he's very good at looking at some of society's more pressing issues without flinching. Read more
Published 3 months ago by E. Orr
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps not a book for everyone!
Although I thoroughly enjoyed getting inside the head of some Scottish drug abusers, you definitely need to be in the mood to read this book.
Published 3 months ago by Emma Fletcher
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced
Thought was a brilliantly written book. No stopping to underline drug addiction and the lengths people will go to. Insightful.
Published 3 months ago by fenric71
5.0 out of 5 stars Scottish dialect = genius!
Half way through the book! Love the set out of the characters' perspectives. Scottish dialect is hard to get your head around at first but after the first chapter it comes... Read more
Published 5 months ago by bethany jade gibson
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Great book, try reading this 2 21 Jan 2014
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