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Trainspotting Paperback – 31 Oct 1996

4.5 out of 5 stars 245 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton & Co; 1st American Ed edition (31 Oct. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393314804
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393314809
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (245 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 588,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The language in Trainspotting is... exhilarating once you get the hang of it, and finally poetic in its complications.... Literary in the best sense, using language at every level to tell a story. --Jane Mendelsohn"

Blisteringly funny.... Don't abandon everything for the movie. It's worth making the effort with Trainspotting ?not merely because relatively few writers have rummaged through this particular enclave of British youth culture, but because even fewer have dug there so deeply. "

It is funny, unflinchingly abrasive, authentic, and inventive, unerringly on and off the pulse. It is a true cult, the kind of novel you press on perfect strangers. It validates a world fiction hasn't recognized before."

Irvine Welsh writes with skill, wit, and compassion that amounts to genius. He is the best thing that has happened to British writing in decades.--Nick Hornby

Irvine Welsh may become one of the most significant writers in Britain. He writes with style, imagination, wit, and force, and in a voice which those alienated by much current fiction clearly want to hear.

Irvine Welsh is the real thing a marvelous admixture of nihilism and heartbreak, pinpoint realism (especially in dialect and tone) and almost archetypal universality.--David Foster Wallace"

Review

`A complex, episodic read'
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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By A Customer on 22 Aug. 1996
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before I mention the novel, a note of caution is in order. I bought this as part of the set of Vintage's 21st anniversary releases which, apart from promising some great reading, look very pretty on a bookshelf. Unfortunately, if my copy of 'Trainspotting' is anything to go by, the spines of these are fragile and being one of the thicker volumes, the middle pages are in danger of falling out.

As for the novel itself, it is less a focused story than a series of haphazard episodes about the same group of characters. This, I think, suits the chaotic nature of their lives; spending their time doing whatever it takes to get a fix, or stay clean, or obtain money, they are concerned with survival rather than aims. Most of the story is in dialect form, with the voices of Sick Boy and Begbie the most distinct.

I feel that the novel's driving force is Welsh's portrayal of Renton because he is the one character who possesses all the tools of humanity that everyone recognises. This, coupled with the more extreme behaviour he stoops to to get through the day hits harder than anything else in the story. He seems to regard his part in a benefit scam not as a means of satisfying greed or putting one over on the system, but as a duty he is resigned to.

In contrast, Begbie has barely a spark of humanity in him and Sick Boy is almost as bad. These two characters serve to highlight Renton's positive attributes. There are times when I wondered whether the author was making a point or just trying to shock, but on the whole thought the book a very good read. The claim of 'best book ever written' on the back of my copy, however, does it no favours, given that you would have to have read everything ever written to give such an opinion credibility.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Book that you receive with the ISBN-10: 0099465892 advertised is not the one that is advertised with the White cover ( the extended and revised version with 448 pages). The book with this ISBN-10 number above is the Orange Cover version which is only 344 pages long and i can only compare it to buying a DVD,watching it, and finding all the best and gory bits have been cut out. Bitterly disappointed but still a good read but has a lot left out. Check with the seller which copy they are sending out before buying and ensure it has the white cover as is advertised and described in the Product details
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