Irvine Welsh's controversial first novel, set on the heroin-addicted fringe of working-class youth in Edinburgh, is yet another exploration of the dark side of Scottishness. The main character, Mark Renton, is at the center of a clique of nihilistic slacker junkies with no hopes and no possibilities, and only "mind-numbing and spirit-crushing" alternatives in the straight world they despise. This particular slice of humanity has nothing left but the blackest of humor and a sharpness of wit. This is a bleak vision sung as musical comedy.
Year of Publication
Begbie, Sick Boy and Renton have become icons, but if you only know Danny Boyle’s film with Ewan McGregor and Robert Carlyle then it’s time to pick up the book. In many ways it is more shocking, more disturbing and much funnier. Welsh’s fragmentary narrative mirrors the chaotic lives of his protagonists, and combines unflinching realism with hallucinatory surrealism. -- Stuart Kelly
Iconic book turned into an iconic film. What can I say about this that hasn't been said before, Nothing! It's great, go read it! I think it should be in all Scottish schools and part of the Higher English course.--James Graham, The Twilight Sad
Irvine Welsh is the author of Trainspotting, Ecstasy, Glue, Porno, Filth, Marabou Stork Nightmares, The Acid House, If You Liked School, You'll Love Work, The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs and Reheated Cabbage. He divides his time between Florida, Ireland, and Scotland.