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Trainspotting [Paperback]

Irvine Welsh
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & 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 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,763 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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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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why trainspotting is as relevant today 29 Sep 2010
The dust has long settled since Irvine Welsh's rollercoaster debut clattered off the printing presses. There has been a play, TV dramatizations, a film, numerous reprints. Welsh has spent his time as a bestselling author attempting to emulate his initial success, with - perhaps understandably - less than satisfying results.

But I thought 2010, the 20th anniversary of the year of Heart of Midlothian FC's abortive attempt to takeover city rivals, Welsh's beloved Hibernian, might be a good point for a reappraisal.

Trainspotting is a triumph, dealing with issues affecting the underclass of Scotland's capital. In the 1980s, when the red-tops christened Edinburgh the 'AIDS capital of Europe', there was suffering, broken families, drug dealers making a fortune from addiction and early death. Trainspotting gives all these characters a voice, an east coast variant to James Kelman's Glasgow-slanted fiction. It never seeks to preach or condemn. Just lift the stone. Crucially, it also entertains.

As an Edinburgh native the stage adaptation stuck to the novel's narrative and complicated issues to a far more rewarding extent than the subsequent Hollywood makeover. (Although when I saw it performed at Edinburgh's Traverse, a large portion of the traditional theatre-going audience were laughing at rather than with the hilarious 'schemies'). Plus Ewen Bremner, Spud in the film, was the original Renton, and far more convincing than pin-up MacGregor. Boyle's film viewed seedy Edinburgh through pop culture-tinted lenses, using dynamic music as diverse as Iggy and Underworld. Excellent entertainment but never as poignant as the original prose.

Trainspotting presents a view of the struggle of ordinary people that is often harrowing but utterly relevant.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More addictive than drugs themselves 7 Aug 2006
I have to start by saying, i am not a good reader of fiction. I read reviews of books often, and even works which receive rave praise often fail to engross or even entertain me once i have gone out and bought a copy. Rarely do i come across a book which captivates me in the manner trainspotting did.

What makes this book so special for me is the way Welsh captures a culture so brilliantly. The scottish drug scene is one he writes about with knowledge and empathy. Unlike lesser authors, who seem to write about things they clearly know nothing about, Welsh takes us on a brillaint and exciting trickle through the seedy yet vivid world of drugs, punk and sex in the early 90's. His work doesn't revolve around cliched plot twists or neat metaphors to represent things, he merely tells things as they are in a raw and witty writing style that amounts to a huge breath of fresh air.

Others may disagree, but i wouldn't say the book follows a set plot. It is a compilation of short and absorbing passages which document the lives of various characters. The book does progress in a way, with addicts such as Mark Renton and Spud managing to kick their addictions, only to slip back into them towards the end of the book. However, this free flowing structure allows Welsh to explore his subject matter and issues in an unfettered way, that isn't bound by the rigours of a plot like so many other insipid works of "mainstream" fiction.

It is indeed the characters that make most books, and this work is no exception. The selection of characters in this book is diverse and wide, ranging from psycopaths such as Francis Begbie, to, as mentioned, junkies such as Renton and Spud, and even cameo appearances are made from characters such as David Mitchell- an unfortunate contractor of HIV.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 6 days 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 7 days 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 13 days 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 1 month ago by bethany jade gibson
1.0 out of 5 stars Completely misses the points
As a train devotee and regular visitor to the platforms up and down the length of the land I refute how this is representative of the 27th largest (and fastest growing) hobby in... Read more
Published 1 month ago by P Benson
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book
It's definitely a difficult read, and not normally the genre that appeals to me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it :)
Published 2 months ago by j alexander
1.0 out of 5 stars Read the abstract first
I was recommended by a friend to read this so I bought it without looking at the abstract. Boy I wish I did because it's all written in an accent! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jhaede
5.0 out of 5 stars Trainspotting
Great book just finished it for the 6th time, very engrossing a real classic, the greatest book I've ever read
Published 2 months ago by William Drummond
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the film.
I always thought I had read this book so when I read Skagboys I realised I had not.

Once you get to grips with the dialect of the text then it is a great read. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr. R. Frith
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Such a great book, a definite read before watching the film! Would recommend reading Skagboys as well, which is the prequel. Read more
Published 3 months ago by AE
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