Filth Paperback – 5 Jun. 1999
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It is surely a remarkable cultural moment when a reviewer is offered cash in a bar for an advance copy of a literary novel... Filth is a masterpiece...squarely in the classic line of classic scottish writing, Independent
Things are going well for Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson. Promotion is in the offing, he's got all the booze and drugs he needs, and his various plots aimed at friends and colleagues seem to be working out. Robertson, compulsive and repulsive by turns, has only two problems. One is a case of racially-motivated murder on his patch. The other is that there's a nasty tapeworm in his gut and it seems intent on having its say... A brutally sustained achievement, Evening Standard
We're used to tough cops with non-PC attitudes, but Welsh trumps the lot with his evil-scheming, ball-scratching, foul-mouthed hero-with-haemorrhoids... Welsh's jet-black comedy at once entertains and appals... Gloriously grotesque, Esquire
A snarling epic of a book...ugly, devastatingly funny, unremittingly nasty and pulls no punches... Don't dare miss it, Scotsman
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Just don't read this one while eating.
The writing style & vocabulary tries to appeal to the baser level of Scot .... thereby (mercifully) excluding the educated and those who operate in The Queen's English! It will be acclaimed by those who rate the smearing of excrement on cell walls, as an art form!
That said the supplier forgot to send the first book, sending only an empty pouch.
I contacted them and they did resend but no reason as to why. Weird.
Did I like it? I really don't know. It's disturbing for sure, and some bits are ghoulishly funny. I found myself exhausted by the main character's unrelenting bingeing on drugs, booze, food and sex, but also in awe of his clear headed amoral scheming to sabotage all and sundry around him.
The tapeworm thing is difficult on Kindle, but I switched to iPad half way through, and then it became a much more powerful element.
I'm embarrassed to say that the end left me very sad indeed. In all very powerful and shocking. I'll certainly read it again, but in a few month's time when I've recovered.
Top international reviews
das geschriebene "gesprochene schottisch" ist am anfang wirklich schwer, man muss sich viele stellen im gedanken vorlesen, um die bedeutung der wörter zu erfassen.
ein tolles buch!
Empfehlenswert - und sehr schnell geliefert.
The book follows the exploits Bruce Robertson, a plain clothes police officer in Edinburgh, who is maneuvering for a promotion. He engages in a series of "games" to sabotage his rivals' changes at beating him, but we quickly realize that this is simply an excuse, as he engages in other games simply for his own cruel amusement. The latter include a number of misogynistic and manipulative relationships with women.
Robertson, or "Robbo", is a classic Welsh anti-hero. He's by turns despicable, comical, sympathetic, and ultimately simply pathetic. The author gradually and deftly introduces the reader to both the depths of Robertson's depravity, and the dark history that led to his misanthropy. Welsh is very good at foreshadowing without giving things away, and even the things you'll probably figure out turn out to be much stranger than you thought. Without giving away any spoilers, I'll just that right when you're sure things can't get any darker, Welsh will show you you're wrong.
Definitely not for everyone, but if you're a Welsh fan, this book is a must read.