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  • Glue
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars79
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 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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on 3 July 2015
Another well written book by Irvine Welsh, very funny plots although tongue in cheek as to the possible authenticity. I was brought up in the west pilton prefabs Edinburgh and can recognise some of the subculture and language. Some very good one liners.
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on 18 June 2013
having read all of Welsh's books i enjoyed this in the main but felt it ran out of steam and became rather implausible. The dialogue and descriptive nature of the various character's psyches are as brilliant as ever with all the wit and toe curling detail he used to show. As the characters moved on and had various degrees of success i just felt the book didnt know when to finish, but personally i didnt want it to as it was so well written.
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on 14 August 2015
I considered ditching this book due to my loathing of "Juice Terry Lawson "
Born a schemie myself the charisma of the other main characters Billy, Carl and Gally annihilated Juice Terry in the fit for purpose schemie manner that only increases arrogance. So familiar that by the end of the book Terry was my good mate. I immediately picked up " A Decent Ride" Gaun yirsel the boy Lawson.
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on 17 July 2014
Eftir readin Trainspottin Filth Skagboys and CRIME ah thougt that Glue coudnae be is gid,but ah coudnae be mare wrong.
Business Juice Terry Gally and N SIGN could be any group eh mates in any scheme.won fur aw,und aw fur won shood be they're motto.
Anither qwality read fur Mr Welsh,
(Ah also hink thit stenhoose sounds like it hisnae changed much since the 70's)
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on 6 August 2014
Irvine Welsh is usually very good at having you empathise with unlikeable characters. I struggled to find redeeming features in these characters and therefore felt no sympathy towards them. The book did flow quite well though and it kept me interested until the end.
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on 9 July 2002
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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on 20 May 2013
Friendships; Poverty; Crime; Football; Sex; Violence; Amsterdam; Drugs; Heroes; Villains; Intricately woven and detailed story telling.

Not as brutal as Ecstasy, Filth, Marabou or Skag boys but riveting genius nonetheless.
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on 8 October 2014
The story of a group of mates growing in different directions through the decades in the schemes of Edinburgh, this book shows that despite the twists and turns of their individual lives the bond between them stays as tight as ever. Written in a style that keeps you gripped, and with an often dark storyline,there was loads of humorous shenanigans ( I love that word), I found myself laughing out load on many occasions .
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VINE VOICEon 28 July 2007
Many suggest that Trainspotting was Irvine Welsh's best book. I agree that the film is peerless, but I don't think it is his best book, mostly because it is quite nihilistic and despairing. This book, on the other hand has a superb and spiritually uplifting ending, and shows the struggle of 4 kids trying to get out of the 'scheme' (Edinburgh's slums).

For the first time in Welsh's books, it uses multiple narrators and also extends their story over a long enough period of time to see far more charactor detail than was previously possible. Unlike Trainspotting, it covers a variety of different charactors and sees them to their conclusion. The result is a powerful book that has understandable charactors (rather than demagogues).

The book starts off with the charactor 'Juice' Terry making 'love' to two women in a grotty Edinburgh flat. It also shows us Billy 'Business' Birrell', who is an amateur boxer, along with Carl 'NSign' Ewart, who becomes a DJ. In addition there is the sad charactor of Andrew 'Gally' Galloway, who is like a cross between 'spud' and Bruce Robertson out of Filth (i.e. Unlucky).

I won't spoil the plot, but the four of them go through a semi- typical scheme upbringing (from the 1970's to modern times) where they discover their talents or waste them respectively. It all ends with them in their mid 30's reflecting on the events of their life and philosophising on the way things are in Edinburgh.

The book is rich in dialogue and insight, and is compelling to the very end. If I had the money, I would make a film of it, but I fear I could never do it justice!
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