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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lost classic from a great Scottish author.
Young Adam was the first novel that Alexander Trocchi wrote, and due to circumstances the actual content of the novel has been changed and pirated over the years but this edition is the one that he himself felt was the best. The story concerns a barge operator, Joe, who dislikes the work ethic and would rather spend his time in leisure. He and the barge captain find...
Published on 11 Jan 1999

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3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable story
Having watched the film I thought it might be a good idea to read the book. The story was reasonable and possible but I preferred the film.
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lost classic from a great Scottish author., 11 Jan 1999
By A Customer
Young Adam was the first novel that Alexander Trocchi wrote, and due to circumstances the actual content of the novel has been changed and pirated over the years but this edition is the one that he himself felt was the best. The story concerns a barge operator, Joe, who dislikes the work ethic and would rather spend his time in leisure. He and the barge captain find a dead body in the water, which Joe has some relation to. The plot also follows the personal relationships between Joe and those around him. However I think that the plot is not the most important part of the book, when I read the book I was struck by the quality of the language, the way that Trocchi describes sensations is perfect, and also the ideas contained in the text. In a way this book is similiar to "L'etranger" by Camus, but more didactic and direct in its approach. The style and central character's observations, asides to an audience almost, are amongst the best I have ever read, in some ways these are comparable with those of "Junky" by William Burroughs, but Trocchi had a more fluent style. Most of the myth around Trocchi comes from his lifestyle and list of famous friends, but what will remain ultimately are his novels, of which I find this to be the best, due to its ability to conjure a large range of emotions, its technical quality and its ideas. I hope this publishing of Young Adam will stop Alexander Trocchi from being just a footnote in the careers of Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and other 'beat' writers, and show how he was a great writer in his own right. (When will anyone republish the anthology "Writers in Revolt" that he coedited? or any of his translations?).
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Existentialist Thriller, 6 Jun 2001
This book has often been compared with Camus's The Outsider. Frankly, I think it's better. Darker. More human. More ambiguous. More sensual. And more messy.
Trocchi, as well as being a fine novelist, was also a drug addict and an accomplished writer of pornography. These aspects of him bleed into the writing style. He is probaly the least known of all the Beat Writers, yet he seems to be in a higher league from all the sophomoric rantings of his more famous peers. If you're a fan of the Beat Writers, this is probably the best book of them all.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is Justice??, 17 May 2001
By A Customer
Trocchi style is enchanting, slick and clever. WE find our potaginist on a barge with a family travelling from Glasgow to Edinburgh - But do not be put off this could be set anywhere in the world and the language is not trainspotting- the story unravals revealing crimes of passion both personal and criminal, and the huge question of guilty till proven innocent. This novel is exceptional and a must for those who like the darker side, but be prepared you may not want to put it down .....
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outsider - not an outlaw, 8 Nov 2001
By A Customer
Meeting Alex Trocchi was always memorable - and unpredictable. So reading Young Adam is to glimpse Trocchi's genius as a writer and lifelong determined objectionist. In Young Adam his declared preoccupation with sex should not be confused with the exploitation of women - a definition of pornography. The poetic landscape he creates is women-centric but never demeaning. The result is a timeless quality; a moment portrayed; a visual flickering of events that indeed lend themselves to celluloid.
'Trainspotting' could be a curtainraiser to the impossible genius of Alex Trocchi. Young Adam has that rarity of literary effects: you hold your breath. If Trocchi hadn't been such a determined heroin user, mainstream publishing (at least outside Scotland) would have made his genius respectable - probably to his intense annoyance and possibly to his secret delight. He'd have won. He may still if this book makes it to Hollywood.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable story, 22 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Young Adam (Kindle Edition)
Having watched the film I thought it might be a good idea to read the book. The story was reasonable and possible but I preferred the film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Class, 30 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Young Adam (Oneworld Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Joe has had many surnames. He changes them as he drifts from one place to the next, but always keeps his first name so that he'll never be caught out.
When we meet him, he's working on a barge and moving across Scotland shifting goods between Edinburgh and Glasgow. In a sense, it recalls a time when the industrial landscape and transport networks were changing enough for this to be at the end of an era.
At the opening of the book, Joe and his boss Leslie are fishing the bloated corpse of a woman out of the canal. What intrigues the police about their discovery is the fact that the girl is wearing nothing but her underwear and therefore they feel the need to investigate further.
The discovery of the body ignites a lust in Joe for Leslie's wife and it's not long before they are having an active affair that only seems to lack romance.
Eventually Joe, the narrator, explains how all the pieces of the jigsaw fit together, all the way up to the court case where justice is to be seen to be served.
It's a very good read. The prose flows and the surprises are introduced extremely well. The plot is well drawn out and the subject is always fascinating.
In some ways, the narrative has a cold feel. The characters are really well rounded, each sharing the common feature of being human. They create difficult situations and respond to cause with resignation, moving on from one life to another as others impact on their homes, relationships and economic circumstances. Much of the changes are matter of fact, as is the sex and the murder of a young woman.
The sex is matter-of-fact in the way it's described, but loses nothing for the lack of erotic detail.
There's also a growing guilt in Joe that he discusses openly as he considers how he might move forward in life, summing up all the possible consequences and then deciding to take on the one that seems to suit him best at the time.
It's a powerful, short read and I recommend it to the house.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 19 July 2014
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This review is from: Young Adam (Oneworld Modern Classics) (Paperback)
good story
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 17 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Young Adam (Oneworld Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Excellent
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Young Adam (Oneworld Modern Classics)
Young Adam (Oneworld Modern Classics) by Alexander Trocchi (Paperback - 1 Jun 2008)
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