“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.”



I have to admit to being a bandwagon hopper with Trainspotting. I absolutely loved the movie when it was released but didn’t discover there was a book until after I’d read it. I bought it immediately and so started a lifelong love affair with this punchy Scottish author.

I was warned by a ton of people that the Scottish dialect is really hard to read, and so I should probably include in my review that some people may have trouble with it. However, it only slowed me up by a page and while I can’t read it aloud, I have no trouble following the dialect in my head.

I don’t think there are many people who won’t know what this is about, but if there are then it’s a dark and gritty novel set in Leith in Edinburgh, following the exploits of a gang of young men and their descent into heroine addition, alcoholism and all the trials and tribulations that brings. It’s dark, it’s violent, there’s a lot of bad language, and it’s absolutely bloody brilliant! Dark and humorous, punchy and edgy, and yet bang on the money, Trainspotting perfectly depicts life on sink estates, on schemes, surrounded by wide boys with only your instincts to save you.

Trainspotting is an absolutely fantastic piece of social commentary and it’s seriously unputdownable. After reading it I went on to read further works from the author and have now been a fan of Irvine Welsh for many years.

I would add that although Trainspotting has a sequel, you may want to check out seemingly unconnected novels such as ‘Glue’ before you move onto the sequel, because although Welsh’s novels aren’t part of a series, they are interwoven and interconnected, much like the lives he writes about are too.

If I had to pick a top ten favourite novels of all time list, Trainspotting would consistently make it in the list.


Reviewed by:

Kath Cross

Added 9th October 2015

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Kath Cross