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If You Liked School, You'll Love Work

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Irvine Welsh, the author of Trainspotting, is up to his old tricks with his new work of transgressive short fiction. Irvine Welsh's first short-story collection since his debut work The Acid House presents five extraordinary stories, which remind us that he is a master of the short form, a brilliant storyteller, and—unarguably—one of today's funniest and most subversive wri Irvine Welsh, the author of Trainspotting, is up to his old tricks with his new work of transgressive short fiction. Irvine Welsh's first short-story collection since his debut work The Acid House presents five extraordinary stories, which remind us that he is a master of the short form, a brilliant storyteller, and—unarguably—one of today's funniest and most subversive writers. In "Rattlesnakes" three young Americans, lost in the desert, are accosted by two armed Mexicans. A Korean chef and a Chicago socialite find themselves connected through the disappearance of a pooch named Toto in "The D.O.G.S. of Lincoln Park." And in the title story, Mickey Baker—an ex-pat English bar owner living on the Costa Brava—tries to keep all of his balls in the air: maintaining his barmaid's weight at the sexual maximum, attending to the youthful Persephone, and dodging his ex-wife and Spanish gangsters. In typically Welshian fashion, the characters and settings are anything but typical. These stories will make you laugh and gasp.


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Irvine Welsh, the author of Trainspotting, is up to his old tricks with his new work of transgressive short fiction. Irvine Welsh's first short-story collection since his debut work The Acid House presents five extraordinary stories, which remind us that he is a master of the short form, a brilliant storyteller, and—unarguably—one of today's funniest and most subversive wri Irvine Welsh, the author of Trainspotting, is up to his old tricks with his new work of transgressive short fiction. Irvine Welsh's first short-story collection since his debut work The Acid House presents five extraordinary stories, which remind us that he is a master of the short form, a brilliant storyteller, and—unarguably—one of today's funniest and most subversive writers. In "Rattlesnakes" three young Americans, lost in the desert, are accosted by two armed Mexicans. A Korean chef and a Chicago socialite find themselves connected through the disappearance of a pooch named Toto in "The D.O.G.S. of Lincoln Park." And in the title story, Mickey Baker—an ex-pat English bar owner living on the Costa Brava—tries to keep all of his balls in the air: maintaining his barmaid's weight at the sexual maximum, attending to the youthful Persephone, and dodging his ex-wife and Spanish gangsters. In typically Welshian fashion, the characters and settings are anything but typical. These stories will make you laugh and gasp.

30 review for If You Liked School, You'll Love Work

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    Irvine Welsh has the uncanny ability to make everything seem sordid. There's always a sheen of filth covering his work, and that's true of the five stories in this collection. From the first story (where a camper has his junk bitten by a rattlesnake) to the last (featuring dogfights, decapitation, and cocaine laced with human ashes), there's just no escaping the fact that you finish all of Welsh's books feeling a little bit dirty. Not that that's a bad thing, mind. In these stories his language Irvine Welsh has the uncanny ability to make everything seem sordid. There's always a sheen of filth covering his work, and that's true of the five stories in this collection. From the first story (where a camper has his junk bitten by a rattlesnake) to the last (featuring dogfights, decapitation, and cocaine laced with human ashes), there's just no escaping the fact that you finish all of Welsh's books feeling a little bit dirty. Not that that's a bad thing, mind. In these stories his language is as vibrant as ever, and even amid the dirt and desperation there's humor and the sense that his characters act the way they do only as a distraction on the way to something better.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    Takes on rich girls, dog fight rednecks, the problem w/ pent up Burning Man people, boredom, frustration, and even has some happy endings and a few characters who ya wind up liking for real instead of just because they are freakin INSANE like in lots of his other books. He even tries to write Americans and women which is fun to see. I think this is one of my favorites out of this guy.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dane Cobain

    It was nice to get back to Irvine Welsh because it’s been a little while now since I’ve last read him. It was also fun to pick this one up because my cat picked it out for me for a YouTube video series I do. What I didn’t realise before getting started with this is that it’s actually a collection of short stories as opposed to a single novel. Sure, the final story – Kingdom of Fife – is about the length of a novel and could have held its own as a standalone, but that just made it more fun. I also lik It was nice to get back to Irvine Welsh because it’s been a little while now since I’ve last read him. It was also fun to pick this one up because my cat picked it out for me for a YouTube video series I do. What I didn’t realise before getting started with this is that it’s actually a collection of short stories as opposed to a single novel. Sure, the final story – Kingdom of Fife – is about the length of a novel and could have held its own as a standalone, but that just made it more fun. I also liked how the characters in that both were and weren’t your typical Irvine Welsh creations. And while I’m not really one for horses, it was also cool how they played a pretty big part in the plot. I also quite liked Rattlesnakes, the first story in the collection. It’s about a bunch of people travelling back from a music festival when their car breaks down and they’re forced to camp on the side of the road. One of them is bitten on the penis by a snake and then another one has to try to suck the venom out. Then some shady Mexican youths show up with a gun and all hell breaks loose. It’s a good one. Really, what this collection does well is present a variety of different stories that span an impressive range of themes, settings and styles. It proves that Welsh is up there with the best of them, and I take my hat off to my cat for another good pick. Although I will admit that it took me a little while to get into it, especially that final story, which ended up being a cracker. As with most collections, there are ups and downs here and some of the stories are better than others. There was plenty enough here for me though, and even though I read it a little bit at a time before bed, I quite enjoyed it. I’m sure that it’s not for everyone, but it scratched an itch for me and has left me looking forward to reading some more.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sabur76

    I enjoyed the second half of this book immensely. The first half is mostly stories that encompass the extreme depravity of the human race. The second half deals with a young man named Jason from Scotland and tells the story from different points of view. I've come to expect some depravity from Irvine Welsh based on Trainspotting and Porno. I've also come to expect the great protagonists from him. Between Rents and Jason I've had a great time reading the books. This is definitely a book for anyone w I enjoyed the second half of this book immensely. The first half is mostly stories that encompass the extreme depravity of the human race. The second half deals with a young man named Jason from Scotland and tells the story from different points of view. I've come to expect some depravity from Irvine Welsh based on Trainspotting and Porno. I've also come to expect the great protagonists from him. Between Rents and Jason I've had a great time reading the books. This is definitely a book for anyone who has enjoyed Trainspotting and Porno.

  5. 5 out of 5

    JK

    It’s mental to believe that your faithful Welsh Fangirl #1 hasn’t read this one before now, despite it being published ten years ago. I don’t even have a reason, other than I’m an arsehole with too many books. There’s a lot of mixed reviews out there, but I got real feel here of Welsh trying out different styles. Folk just don’t like change. Although I prefer his stories set on home soil, and most of the stories in this collection were American-based, it was class to see the sickness he could dra It’s mental to believe that your faithful Welsh Fangirl #1 hasn’t read this one before now, despite it being published ten years ago. I don’t even have a reason, other than I’m an arsehole with too many books. There’s a lot of mixed reviews out there, but I got real feel here of Welsh trying out different styles. Folk just don’t like change. Although I prefer his stories set on home soil, and most of the stories in this collection were American-based, it was class to see the sickness he could drag out in the land of the free. It’s just pure uncut depravity, and if you say you’re not looking for that from Welsh, you’re lying. I get this mad feeling of excitement when I’m sunk into his rank mind, a crazy adrenaline feeding my brain with thoughts on what the fuck he’s going to hit me with next. It leads to wild behaviour like lying next to a pool, reading with a pint, and shouting out “HE’S COOKED THE FUCKIN DUG!” Aye, some of them are better than others, but you get that with any short story collection, and as I've said, this really feels like an experimental work, and it’s total class. And everyone on Goodreads who has said The DOGS of Lincoln Park was shite is cordially invited to come and fight me.

  6. 4 out of 5

    John Bruni

    Another great transgressive collection of Welsh stories. I find it interesting that three of them are American as opposed to the usual Scottish. It's funny when he's using American dialect. For example, when meaning "not," he spells it "nat." I'm still trying to figure out why, as it doesn't relate to any American dialect that I can think of. When you think about it, though, in Scottish it's "nawt," so I guess it sounds like "nat" to him. My favorite is "Miss Arizona," which is about a young film Another great transgressive collection of Welsh stories. I find it interesting that three of them are American as opposed to the usual Scottish. It's funny when he's using American dialect. For example, when meaning "not," he spells it "nat." I'm still trying to figure out why, as it doesn't relate to any American dialect that I can think of. When you think about it, though, in Scottish it's "nawt," so I guess it sounds like "nat" to him. My favorite is "Miss Arizona," which is about a young filmmaker who finds a great deal of interest in his hero's ex-wife. It goes to places you will never see coming. "Rattlesnakes" is a close second. Imagine if you get snake-bit on your genitals, and you're only with two friends. One of 'em's got to suck out the poison, right? Heh-heh. Then there's the novella, "Kingdom of Fife," which is full-blown Scottish. It's got mobsters and dog fights and a . . . um, beloved severed head. You just can't go wrong with Welsh. Also, apologies in advance, but because of Jason King's habits, I'm probably going to be calling people, "ya hoor sor," for quite some time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    David

    I found the stories in this collection fairly surprising. I admire Welsh's writing, but these stories demonstrated a far greater range than the other writing of Welsh's that I've read. He handles dialect very well, as always, but it is interesting to see him write American characters so convincingly. No one could say after reading this that Welsh is limited to dialect writing. They're good stories for me because they are built around such interesting characters. In short, I was impressed. I found the stories in this collection fairly surprising. I admire Welsh's writing, but these stories demonstrated a far greater range than the other writing of Welsh's that I've read. He handles dialect very well, as always, but it is interesting to see him write American characters so convincingly. No one could say after reading this that Welsh is limited to dialect writing. They're good stories for me because they are built around such interesting characters. In short, I was impressed.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Johny

    Irvine W is one of the few writers who can be grotesque and hilarious at the same time.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paulo Andrade

    The way the book starts is a riot of laughs. Disturbingly enough i always relate with Irvine Welsh`s characters. The way the book starts is a riot of laughs. Disturbingly enough i always relate with Irvine Welsh`s characters.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    My old man, your grandad, he used to say to me, 'If you like school you'll love work then live happily ever after.' She don't say nothing to that, just sort of rolls her eyes. I try to explain: – What I mean is that it's your start in life, so you gotta go in with the right attitude. You get out what you put in, don'tcha? She just shrugs and don't say nothing. And I suppose she's right to be a skeptic n all. The stuff about the old man, he said nothing of the kind, I just made that up. Church My old man, your grandad, he used to say to me, 'If you like school you'll love work then live happily ever after.' She don't say nothing to that, just sort of rolls her eyes. I try to explain: – What I mean is that it's your start in life, so you gotta go in with the right attitude. You get out what you put in, don'tcha? She just shrugs and don't say nothing. And I suppose she's right to be a skeptic n all. The stuff about the old man, he said nothing of the kind, I just made that up. Churchillian-style motivational speech, that sort of thing. Reality was, the old boy didn't give a monkey's about what I got up to at school. Yeah, she's right, school was a load of bleedin bollocks. I read a lot of Irvine Welsh before I joined Goodreads, so there's no record here of how much I loved Trainspotting and its prequel Skagboys (I didn't love the sequel Porno quite as much, but I did enjoy being in that world again), or how much I loved an earlier collection of Welsh's short stories, Reheated Cabbage. I can really dig into transgressive fiction if it feels authentic to lived human experience and Welsh is the master of employing the shock of grit and muck to explore serious social issues. But that's not really what's on offer here in If You Liked School, You'll Love Work; a collection of four short stories and a novella, there's no deep dive into psychology or sociology; shocks come for shock's sake; and where Welsh swaps his trademark underclass Scottish dialect for the voice of Americans, he doesn't read as quite believable. Some of these offerings were just okay, some less so, and three stars is a sentimental rounding up. The first story, Rattlesnakes, starts this collection off with a bang: A group of three young Americans are driving across the desert after a music festival when their car breaks down in a sand storm. When one is bitten by a rattlesnake ('nuff said about that, but the ensuing scene is classic, squirm-inducing Welsh), the tension is ramped-up. But then, two Mexican immigrants (brought to the States by their older sister to work as gardeners for the rich family she cleans for), who are on the run after the older of the two grows to resent and despise the lazy Americans who expect him to do the work they don't want to, come upon the broken down car and bring real menace to the scene. I'm describing this plot in detail only to make the point that I bet Welsh now regrets making the only two Mexican characters out to be America-hating, gun-toting, could-be rapists and murderers. The title story is about an ex-pat Scot who runs a bar in the Canary Islands and the various women he tries to sleep with, all while suffering an unexpected visit from his teenage daughter. It was fine. The DOGS of Lincoln Park is about a group of narcissistic young professional women living in Chicago, and I found the whole thing charmless. Miss Arizona is set back in American desert country, and while the plot of this story was a little more interesting (an independent filmmaker forges some surprising relationships while researching a possible film on his mentor), the social commentary was rather predictable: I distrusted Phoenix, in much the same way as I did all them shabby sunbelt cities with their pop-up business districts, soulless suburban tracts, strip malls, used-car dealerships, and bad homes almost but not quite hidden by palm trees. And then you had the people drying out like old fruit in the sun, brains too fired by heat and routine to remember why they ever did come here in the first place. And that was just the poor. The wealthy folk you only saw under glass; in their malls and motor cars, breathing in the conditioned air that tasted like weak cough medicine. I was used to heat but this place was so dry the trees were bribing the dogs. On a side note: I don't think Americans use the term “motor cars” (or, in an earlier story, refer to “the air con” instead of “the ac”), and slips like that were distracting for me. Also: while I did like the metaphor “this place was so dry the trees were bribing the dogs” (which is the only quote from this collection “liked” on Goodreads), it doesn't compare to the richness Welsh can evoke when he's writing in dialect: Darkness faws like a workin hoor's keks: sudden but yet predictable. That last bit is from the book's concluding novella, Kingdom of Fife, and while I did like that one of the main characters, Jason King, narrated his story with a dense Cowdenbeath dialect, I didn't love that his voice alternated with that of Jenni Cahill; a rich local girl who narrates in plain English. Jason is a bit of a loser (twenty-six and unemployed, residing with his Dad, living for cadged Guinness and table-top football), and Jenni is a nineteen-year-old princess of show-jumping (who in her candid thoughts and conversations with her best friend is as narcissistic and shallow as the women from The DOGS of Lincoln Park; I don't get the sense that Mr Welsh much likes the upperclass wee lassies), and the disparity of experience and of voice between the pair makes theirs the unlikeliest of love stories. Ultimately, however, Jason King is just a loveable enough loser that you can cheer with him when he and Jenni take a runner for Spain together: Ah still think ay masel as the King ay Fife, but ah'm a king in exile, voluntary exile, n ah'm in nae hurry tae git back. Ye kin caw it the Kingdom ay Fife if ye like; ah prefer tae cry it the Fiefdom ay King, ya hoor, sir! I could have never read this collection and be no worse off for it, but I don't regret spending some vacation reading time with Irvine Welsh. At least now I know what this is and can put it out of my mind.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nora

    You know I love Irvine, but I read at night before bed and I just couldn't deal with the last novella in this book (called "The Kingdom of Fife"). God knows I'm more cultured than the next person and don't need subtitles for those crazy UK movies, but I couldn't be bothered. Think Trainspotting accents, spelled out. I'm sure I'll go back to it, but now I ain't got the time to think while I read. You know I love Irvine, but I read at night before bed and I just couldn't deal with the last novella in this book (called "The Kingdom of Fife"). God knows I'm more cultured than the next person and don't need subtitles for those crazy UK movies, but I couldn't be bothered. Think Trainspotting accents, spelled out. I'm sure I'll go back to it, but now I ain't got the time to think while I read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kylee Smith

    I was quite excited about reading this book and it did get off to a pretty good start with "Rattlesnakes". The ending managed to at least trigger some sort of emotion (even if it was revulsion), but "Dogs of Lincoln Park" just left me feeling cold. Alas, my attention started dwindling half way through until i ended up just shelving it. The impression I got was that Irvine has lost his touch, and he is now just a filthy old perve with a massive boring chip on his shoulder... I was quite excited about reading this book and it did get off to a pretty good start with "Rattlesnakes". The ending managed to at least trigger some sort of emotion (even if it was revulsion), but "Dogs of Lincoln Park" just left me feeling cold. Alas, my attention started dwindling half way through until i ended up just shelving it. The impression I got was that Irvine has lost his touch, and he is now just a filthy old perve with a massive boring chip on his shoulder...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stephan van der Linde

    This book contains several stories of (one of my favorite writers) Irvine Welsh. Some I really liked, some I liked less. First story 'Rattlesnakes' is in my opinion the best by far. It's about 2 boys and a girl who reside in a tent in a desert, when their car breaks down. One of the guys got bitten by a rattlesnake in his genitalia and an argue breaks loose, about who must suck the poison out of it........The tent attracts the attention of 2 Mexican criminals, under which one killer.. When they o This book contains several stories of (one of my favorite writers) Irvine Welsh. Some I really liked, some I liked less. First story 'Rattlesnakes' is in my opinion the best by far. It's about 2 boys and a girl who reside in a tent in a desert, when their car breaks down. One of the guys got bitten by a rattlesnake in his genitalia and an argue breaks loose, about who must suck the poison out of it........The tent attracts the attention of 2 Mexican criminals, under which one killer.. When they open the tent they won't believe what they see.. 'Miss Arizona' is also a good story, especially the plot was quite severe. 'The D.O.G.S. Of Lincoln Park' was amazing as well. When a Korean cook is, or is not a suspect of the vanishing of a dog. (This is written very well, loved it!) And another 2 stories, but this was more written in Scottish. This was harder to read for me. "Cannae, aye, aboot, yu goat tha, didnae, shoot yir f*cking mooth" ... I can't remember all of those, but all in all, a good book. But when it comes to Scottish, I rather have a Dutch translation ;)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Christian Baines

    it was only one story out of the book

  15. 4 out of 5

    Iain

    One half short stories and one half novella, this is a fun collection of latter day Welsh writings. While missing the off the wall humour of his earlier short story collections, more attention is paid to characterisation here leading to a more laid back experience. However given the more relaxed nature of the content it leaves less of an initial impression. The collection is largely redeemed by the novella which occupies it's latter half. It's classic Welsh, the sexual topography of the minds of One half short stories and one half novella, this is a fun collection of latter day Welsh writings. While missing the off the wall humour of his earlier short story collections, more attention is paid to characterisation here leading to a more laid back experience. However given the more relaxed nature of the content it leaves less of an initial impression. The collection is largely redeemed by the novella which occupies it's latter half. It's classic Welsh, the sexual topography of the minds of Scots without much else to concern themselves with. Worth reading for Welsh die hards but for new comers I would more quickly reccomend The Acid House or Ecstasy for short stories that are actually short.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    As a hardcore Welsh fan, it was painful to read the first story, blunt and pointless, by far the worst Welsh reading I have ever encountered. I really liked the 3 middle stories. The self-titled did bring in the mind the legendary Bruce Robertson of Filth, whereas the other 2 present a rather Americanized version of Irvine Welsh, while keeping his storytelling sharp. All fun stuff. The last one is the only one which occurs in Scotland -although not Edinburgh- and although it was not bad, it's not As a hardcore Welsh fan, it was painful to read the first story, blunt and pointless, by far the worst Welsh reading I have ever encountered. I really liked the 3 middle stories. The self-titled did bring in the mind the legendary Bruce Robertson of Filth, whereas the other 2 present a rather Americanized version of Irvine Welsh, while keeping his storytelling sharp. All fun stuff. The last one is the only one which occurs in Scotland -although not Edinburgh- and although it was not bad, it's not something to write home about. All in all, not the best way to enter the Welsh-realm but it was sure not a waste of time.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bridget

    It's incredibly hard to rate this book. Irvine Welsh has been one of my favorite authors for over a decade, and I've never disliked anything he's had his hand in. The same goes here. Mostly it was a good collection of short stories. It could have, however, benefited from the absence of "The D.O.G.S. Of Lincoln Park". While I appreciate what he was trying to do with the story, it felt like it really came up short. It also took nearly 60 pages of "The Kingdom Of Fife" to sell me on that story. Not It's incredibly hard to rate this book. Irvine Welsh has been one of my favorite authors for over a decade, and I've never disliked anything he's had his hand in. The same goes here. Mostly it was a good collection of short stories. It could have, however, benefited from the absence of "The D.O.G.S. Of Lincoln Park". While I appreciate what he was trying to do with the story, it felt like it really came up short. It also took nearly 60 pages of "The Kingdom Of Fife" to sell me on that story. Not his best work, but from what I understand these were stories he was writing when he had a moment here and there of spare time between other projects. If I can think of it that way - like you would a musical side project - then it's well good enough.

  18. 4 out of 5

    John

    Picked it up in an airport in New Zealand, intrigued by the blurbs on the cover (which turned out to be total lies). Poorly written, unnecessarily crude, inauthentic dialogue...it is truly sad that trees had to die for this piece of crap. Even trapped in a plane for 13 hours, I couldn't bring myself to finish it Picked it up in an airport in New Zealand, intrigued by the blurbs on the cover (which turned out to be total lies). Poorly written, unnecessarily crude, inauthentic dialogue...it is truly sad that trees had to die for this piece of crap. Even trapped in a plane for 13 hours, I couldn't bring myself to finish it

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    Irvine Welsh needs to stick to Scottish losers. His American voice just plain fails. The short stories had a 'poorly done Palahniuk' feel to them. The novella achieves its rather pedestrian goals in an uncompelling manner. I love Welsh, but... (Of course there's a but...) I could set his latter works in two stacks: ill advised attempts to diverge from his early works and reprocessed shadows of those same early works. These stories are simply a microcosm of his recent work, tired and old or crapp Irvine Welsh needs to stick to Scottish losers. His American voice just plain fails. The short stories had a 'poorly done Palahniuk' feel to them. The novella achieves its rather pedestrian goals in an uncompelling manner. I love Welsh, but... (Of course there's a but...) I could set his latter works in two stacks: ill advised attempts to diverge from his early works and reprocessed shadows of those same early works. These stories are simply a microcosm of his recent work, tired and old or crappy and new. Still, hey, they had their funny moments.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    Very well written short stories with real bite. Ashamed to admit I couldn't face the effort of reading the final story. The dialect was so thick that the only way I could get the sense of it was to read it aloud - not a very socially friendly way of reading! Very well written short stories with real bite. Ashamed to admit I couldn't face the effort of reading the final story. The dialect was so thick that the only way I could get the sense of it was to read it aloud - not a very socially friendly way of reading!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chris Kelly

    This is another compendium of carnage from one of Britain's very best writers. If You Liked School You'll Love Work is a gritty, rough and ready collection of short stories, with a surprisingly diverse cast of characters and locations. This is Welsh at the peak of his considerable linguistic prowess, as he wields the vernacular like a razor sharp axe. From South London to Fuertaventura, via Arizona, Chicago and eventually Fife, Welsh nails each accent he attempts, creating a bevvy of characters t This is another compendium of carnage from one of Britain's very best writers. If You Liked School You'll Love Work is a gritty, rough and ready collection of short stories, with a surprisingly diverse cast of characters and locations. This is Welsh at the peak of his considerable linguistic prowess, as he wields the vernacular like a razor sharp axe. From South London to Fuertaventura, via Arizona, Chicago and eventually Fife, Welsh nails each accent he attempts, creating a bevvy of characters that demand your attention. The Kingdom of Fife was probably my favourite story from this collection - maybe because at 160 odd pages in its own right it feels more like a complete novel that a short story. Miss Arizona is also worth a mention but, in truth, four out of five of these stories are solid gold. I didn't love Rattlesnakes, the collections opening story, perhaps because it's setting in the Nevada desert and the subject of drugs evoke inevitable comparisons with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which is a very, very tough act to follow. Not that Welsh really tries to mimic Hunter S Thompson's seminal Gonzo classic in any way - they are very different pieces of work - still the story is weighed down by a slightly anti-climactic feel for me. Minor criticism aside, this is a brilliant collection of funny, vital, action packed stories that will keep you flicking through the pages faster than a Cowdenbeath hoor on giro day, ye hoor, sor! (see The Kingdom of Fife for comic reference!).

  22. 5 out of 5

    Denise E.

    What am I doing? Oh, I'm just reading a short story about a guy getting a blowjob from another guy while the girl who he's in love with but is in love with the other one watches crying, then two people pull up in a car and one of them starts masturbating, then the other one starts masturbating but they have to take turns because one of them has to hold the gun. Just an Irvine Welsh story. Of course, the depth comes from the fact that there is a medical reason for all the above, and all of the ch What am I doing? Oh, I'm just reading a short story about a guy getting a blowjob from another guy while the girl who he's in love with but is in love with the other one watches crying, then two people pull up in a car and one of them starts masturbating, then the other one starts masturbating but they have to take turns because one of them has to hold the gun. Just an Irvine Welsh story. Of course, the depth comes from the fact that there is a medical reason for all the above, and all of the characters are sketched out in detail. We find out one is a lonely ex football player, the other a lost trust fund kid, the girl a runaway with hidden sensitivities, and the gunmen two desperate, exploited gardeners on the run from a dark past. Begging the question, I guess, if the story were a movie, which character would you want to be cast as? Irvine Welsh is good but as they say, "in small doses."

  23. 5 out of 5

    Logan

    Not one of Welshy's best, but an entertaining read. Just four stories and a novella, it leans more toward the strictly humorous end of things. And when it was funny, it was pretty funny. My favorite, however, was the one that took a too-quick turn into the horror genre at the end. "Miss Arizona" was pretty engaging, but it ends abruptly and a bit ridiculously. The novella at the end of the collection was entertaining and funny, but sometimes schmaltzy and it probably didn't need to be as long as Not one of Welshy's best, but an entertaining read. Just four stories and a novella, it leans more toward the strictly humorous end of things. And when it was funny, it was pretty funny. My favorite, however, was the one that took a too-quick turn into the horror genre at the end. "Miss Arizona" was pretty engaging, but it ends abruptly and a bit ridiculously. The novella at the end of the collection was entertaining and funny, but sometimes schmaltzy and it probably didn't need to be as long as it was. All in all, not the Welsh book you'd want to start with if you've not read him, but definitely a good read for well-established Irvine Welsh fans (which I am--I've run out of Welsh books now! Nothing left to read of his. This was the last on the list. Fortunately he's still kicking 'em out, so hopefully won't be too long before there's something new to read.).

  24. 5 out of 5

    Geraud

    the first stories are decent.... tatlesnakes is OK, Miss Arizona is a good bit, although nothing really struck me as awe inspiring. and then comes the novella. The bits in phonetic are undecipherable for a non scott, i believe, and even a scott would really find it hard to read. really a shame. But I didn't feel like carrying on while I couldn't understand half of what I was reading even though the phonetic technique is not new to me As Iain Banks uses it as well..... with much better results, o the first stories are decent.... tatlesnakes is OK, Miss Arizona is a good bit, although nothing really struck me as awe inspiring. and then comes the novella. The bits in phonetic are undecipherable for a non scott, i believe, and even a scott would really find it hard to read. really a shame. But I didn't feel like carrying on while I couldn't understand half of what I was reading even though the phonetic technique is not new to me As Iain Banks uses it as well..... with much better results, or at least more enjoyable.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    I've read the three short stories & it will most likely be awhile before I get to the novellas. I just read Miss Arizona and DOGS yesterday and they are both amazing. One seems creepy and disturbed, but ends up quite happy and sweet. The other seems happy and sweet (sorta) and ends up turning into some demented Twilight Zone 50's horror flick. I'll have to wait until I can take the heavy dialect before getting to the other two. :) I've read the three short stories & it will most likely be awhile before I get to the novellas. I just read Miss Arizona and DOGS yesterday and they are both amazing. One seems creepy and disturbed, but ends up quite happy and sweet. The other seems happy and sweet (sorta) and ends up turning into some demented Twilight Zone 50's horror flick. I'll have to wait until I can take the heavy dialect before getting to the other two. :)

  26. 4 out of 5

    misstippin

    3.5 stars, truly. Welsh can write dialogue like few people I've read, you just have to get the accents running in your head. I often find myself reading him aloud so I can tune my ear to what these crazy brogues would sound like. And after I read a Welsh book- every single time- I find myself talking like one of his characters, over-the-top accent, attitude, colorful phraseology and all. Aye sor. 3.5 stars, truly. Welsh can write dialogue like few people I've read, you just have to get the accents running in your head. I often find myself reading him aloud so I can tune my ear to what these crazy brogues would sound like. And after I read a Welsh book- every single time- I find myself talking like one of his characters, over-the-top accent, attitude, colorful phraseology and all. Aye sor.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bret

    Some hits, and some misses, among these five short stories/novellas. I actually liked the stories that took place in the US a lot more; the British ones were just kind of uninspired Trainspotting knock-off stuff, while the American stories combine Welsh's always sharp dialogue with some fresh themes and tight plots. Some hits, and some misses, among these five short stories/novellas. I actually liked the stories that took place in the US a lot more; the British ones were just kind of uninspired Trainspotting knock-off stuff, while the American stories combine Welsh's always sharp dialogue with some fresh themes and tight plots.

  28. 5 out of 5

    D4ngerousBeans

    I didn`t care much for the short stories ( 4 of them ) but the novella about 200 pages worth I chomped through as quick as I could and loved it ,so for me its worth reading just for the novella. Although for non scots the novella might be a somewhat tricky read,then again if you have read trainspotting then you should know what to expect. I didn`t care much for the short stories ( 4 of them ) but the novella about 200 pages worth I chomped through as quick as I could and loved it ,so for me its worth reading just for the novella. Although for non scots the novella might be a somewhat tricky read,then again if you have read trainspotting then you should know what to expect.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    The first story is the craziest - nightmarish, really. True Welsh fashion. The Lincoln Park story brings up a lot of good Chicago references. I didn't make it through the novella at the end. I'm a quitter. The first story is the craziest - nightmarish, really. True Welsh fashion. The Lincoln Park story brings up a lot of good Chicago references. I didn't make it through the novella at the end. I'm a quitter.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Most of it was good bus reading. I didn't read the last story though. It's a cop out that I have to say it was because it was not in the english language that I understand even thought it's written in english. Call me lazy, but I don't care it's January. Most of it was good bus reading. I didn't read the last story though. It's a cop out that I have to say it was because it was not in the english language that I understand even thought it's written in english. Call me lazy, but I don't care it's January.

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