Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book 44 - Trainspotting

I'm getting ready to move and as I was packing up my books I found a copy of Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. Back in the 90s I went through a big Irvine Welsh phase and I decided to reread Trainspotting to see if it held up. I had a tough time at first adjusting to the Scottish dialect that it is mostly written in, but soon found myself engrossed in the tales contained within. I had another copy of this book back in the day, and in the back there was a handy glossary that explained what some of the slang terms meant, I think that it should be contained in each edition of the book because although not essential it is quite interesting.

Trainspotting is a series of vignettes that more or less tie together. A lot of characters repeat and different stories are told by different characters. It sometimes takes a bit to know which character is telling the story, but that is all a part of this book's charm. There is Mark Renton, pictured above portrayed by Ewan McGeregor, a lovable junkie who just can't seem to kick the habit. In the book version, Renton is a ginger and there is an interesting sequence in where he is nervous to disrobe in front of his date because he has dyed his hair black but the carpets don't match the drapes.

In addition to the junkies, there are also the jocks who are all about bevvying. It is interesting to see these characters who are in many ways just as messed up as the junkies, slag on the junkies for their dirty habit. Most infamous of these is Francis Begbie, feared even by his mates who don't even know why they associate with him in the first place. Renton said he only did well in school so that he could advance and get away from Begbie, but he just keeps coming back around.

I could go on about all of these blokes, but long story short, I enjoyed this book again. I guess I have killed enough brain cells (or read enough books) so it was really like reading it for the first time. I was pleasantly surprised to see a prequel to this book at the store today, it is going on my Xmas list.

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