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Glue Paperback – 4 Apr 2002

4.2 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (4 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099285924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099285922
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

With a title like Glue, it would seem reasonable to assume that Irvine Welsh's new novel is a profound reflection upon the pitfalls of solvent abuse. In fact, the glue of Welsh's book deals with the bonds that unite four boys growing up together in "the scheme", the "slum-clearance" flats of Edinburgh, whose optimistic construction in the 1970s give way to the poverty, unemployment and crime of the 1980s and 1990s. It is this despair that defines the lives of Welsh's central protagonists: Terry Lawson, work-shy and sex-mad; Carl Ewart, budding DJ; Billy Birrell, boxer, and Andrew Galloway, a drug addict who tests HIV-positive.

Glue is a bildungsroman of growing up bad, recounted in Welsh's inimitable style. The novel follows the boys through their early forays into sex, drink, drugs and football violence, written in the author's trademark vernacular. Carl Ewart poses crucial questions such as: "How dae ah chat up a bird?" and "Do I wear a rubber johnny? (If so, nae problem, I've started trying them on so ah ken how tae fir them)". Welsh also attempts occasional political comment on the friends' difficulties: Billy Birrell reflects: "Having money is the only way to get respect. Desperate, but that's the world we live in now." However, Welsh is better at grotesque moments of sex and violence and offhand one-liners, such as: "Guilt and shaggin, they go the gither like fish 'n' chips". Fans of Trainspotting will love Glue, even down to the brief appearance of Begbie and Renton, but others may feel that the novel is just more of the same, and that this performance finds Welsh stuck in a rut. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Wild, brave and funny" (Sunday Times)

"Welsh is brilliant at what he does... This is his most readable and memorable novel since Trainspotting" (Independent on Sunday)

"His most ambitious, but also his most complete and engaging work to date... arguably, his best book" (Times Literary Supplement)

"Full of incident, mad, crackling dialogue, attractively appalling characters and some of the funniest and rudest sex scenes I have read since Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint" (Sunday Times)

"With razor-sharp dialogue, a powerful odour of ordinary desperation and an incisive understanding of what makes these men's friendship tick, Welsh is at the top of his game" (The Face)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
OK so there is violence, sex, violent sex, drink, drugs and swearing. But under it or perhaps throught it there is a beautiful story about how people stick together, look out for each other and care about each other. If you've never read Irvine Welsh before this would be a good place to start.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of Great Britain's finest writers gives us this excellent, interesting and touching story of a group of Scottish friends; from their youth to adulthood.
The four main characters each have their own distinctive personalities and the interactions between them are realistic, complicated and often very moving. Welsh manages to capture perfectly their individual personalities from the start and develop them as they grow through the novel (from the unbridled confidence of a child, to the introspective, rollercoaster emotions of a teenager, and finally the complex doubts and worries of their adult selves). You really feel you get to know these characters as people, they seem so real - I genuinely feel if I ever visited Leith, I could walk into a bar and be hit on by Juice Terry Lawson or could get into a club to see DJ Carl Ensign Ewart play. There are also cameos from some of Welsh's other well known characters, sometimes just mentions (Lexo, Begbie, Spud, Sick Boy et al).
The title of Glue obviously refers to the cheap high that teenagers can get from huffing it but it also refers to the bond that holds this group together- it can be broken but re-mended; the cracks may still show but they just tell the story.
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By A Customer on 9 July 2002
Format: Paperback
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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By A Customer on 28 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
The strength of this book is the vivid, believable, acutely observed characters. The story meanders through the lives of four "schemies" as they grow up together and grow apart in adulthood. A great book about ordinary life. In 100 years' time this will still be read, at least by literature students.
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Format: Paperback
This book is brilliant. I couldn't put it down, and as with all of Welsh's books, I couldn't help falling for the characters from the 'schemes' who he winds the story around. This in itself never ceases to amaze me.
As literature Glue is surprisingly adventurous. Lots of characters viewed from a variety of different angles over 40 years. A plot, morals, and good Welsh-style entertainment.
I loved his other books (maybe not Filth so much - it was disappointing) and you'll smirk if you've read them to catch brief guest appearances in Glue by Begbie, Rents, Spud etc.
If you're new to Irvine Welsh you'll probably find the 'scottish' dialect he writes in a bit tricky to start with. Bear with it.
I highly recommend this book. Would be great to take on holiday.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book, it being my 3rd experience of Irvine Welsh after Trainspotting and Porno. At first it seemed as if it was going nowhere and it was hard to sympathise with many of the main characters but the more you read the more complex they became. The book is about 4 friends from an Edinburgh scheme and their own unique journeys charting their lives from their childhood in 1970 (though mainly through their parents) to the approach of middle-age in 2000, I like the way it jumps forward from decade to decade letting you see the consequences of the characters actions at a glance whilst updating you on other pivotal moments inbetween.

I think it helped that I was born myself in an Edinburgh scheme, Oxgangs, there are instances where I believe that an outsider would not get 100% out of the story and the dialect is pretty exclusive in parts to only those who have ever lived in the South East lowlands of Scotland but this shouldn't deterr anybody whatsoever, this is a fantastic read, brilliantly funny but at the same time absolutely shocking. The stories are engrossing and at times the action is relentless, this was a book I didn't ever want to finish.
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