Renton le malin, Sick Boy l'ambitieux, Begbie le fou, Spud l'égaré : quatre jeunes d'Édimbourg avec l'héroïne, la bière et l'ivresse comme ciment et poison de leur relation. Chronique d'une époque, d'une ville et d'une société écrite en 1993, ce premier roman, pendant écossais - l'humour en plus - de Retour à Brooklyn d'Hubert Selby Jr, fut adapté au cinéma par Danny Boyle et devint en dix ans une référence sociale et culturelle mondiale. C'est aujourd'hui un classique dans une nouvelle traduction qui rend justice à la voix d'Irvine Welsh.
Lucy, coach de fitness narcissique, méprise les gros, les faibles, les ratés. Or elle va se trouver mise au défi de transformer Léna, le genre de fille qu'elle n'aurait même jamais pensé croiser. Dans une Floride décadente obsédée par le corps, s'engage entre les deux femmes une amitié ambivalente et extrême qui va les métamorphoser.
L'inspecteur Ray Lennox a quitté Édimbourg pour Miami après une dépression due à l'abus de stress et de cocaïne et à une sale affaire d'infanticides sexuels. Mais sa fiancée ne songe qu'à préparer leur mariage et il se retrouve seul et désoeuvré en Floride. Quand un toxico lui présente une fillette de dix ans victime de prédation sexuelle, Lennox décide de la protéger, à tout prix...
Dans les banlieues miteuses d'Édimbourg chères à Welsh, quatre enfants de la bagarre et des pubs enfumés, avec la glu de l'amitié contre vents et marées. Trente ans de culture musicale et politique, du punk à la techno, de l'héroïne à l'ecstasy, d'explosion sociale et littéraire. Trente ans de fermetures d'usines, de thatchérisme sauvage, de mutations, de petites et grandes tragédies ordinaires. Et pour eux, nés laissés-pour-compte, trente ans à chercher avec leur langue et dans leurs mots, ceux de la rue, leur place d'hommes.
Charlatan pour les uns, visionnaire pour les autres, le terrible Begbie est devenu un artiste bien installé en Californie. Mais un drame le ramène à Édimbourg où il retrouve sa vieille communauté. Là, entre un passé violent et un présent psychotique, les choses vont tourner vraiment mal, vraiment vite...
Au département de la Santé et de l'Hygiène d'Édimbourg, où il inspecte les meilleures tables de la ville, Danny Skinner, fêtard et coureur notoire, est pris au piège de ses pulsions autodestructrices. L'arrivée de Brian Kibby, innocent amateur de modèles réduits, déclenche chez lui une haine d'une puissance inattendue. Et quand Kibby est atteint par un mystérieux virus, Skinner comprend qu'un lien surnaturel les unit. Sous ce ressort de fable gothique, Welsh poursuit son exploration ironique des âmes urbaines et nous livre un extraordinaire Portrait de Dorian Gray du vingt-et-unième siècle.
Roy Strang is engaged is a strange quest in a surrealist South Africa. His mission is to eradicate the evil predator-scavenger bird, the marabou stork, before it drives away the peace-loving flamingo from the picturesque Lake Torto. But behind this world lies another: the world of Roy's bizarre family, the Scottish housing scheme in which he grew up, his mundane job, a disastrous emigration to Aftrica, and his youthful life of brutality with a gang of soccer casuals. As one world crashes into the other, this potentially charming story of ornithological goodwill mutates into a filthy tale of violence, abuse and redemption.
In 'Rattlesnakes', three young Americans find themselves lost in the desert, held captive by armed Mexicans; in 'The DOGS of Lincoln Park', a mysterious Korean chef may or may not have something to do with the disappearance of a socialite's pooch; an English bar owner battles to keep all his balls in the air on the Costa Brava; a film biographer becomes a piece of movie memorabilia himself in 'Miss Arizona'; and in the 'Kingdom of Fife'; an ex-jockey and table-football star of Cowdenbeath takes on the charms of Jenni Cahill and her remarkable jodhpurs...
Troubled Environmental Health Officer Danny Skinner is engaged on a quest to uncover what he refers to as 'the bedroom secrets of the master chefs'. He regards the unravelling of this classified information as the key to learning genetic facts about himself and the crippling compulsions that threaten to wreck his young life. The ensuing journey takes him from Europe's festival city of Edinburgh to the foodie capital of America, San Francisco. But the hard-drinking, womanising Skinner has a strange nemesis in the form of model-railway enthusiast Brian Kibby. It is his unfathomable, obsessive hatred of Kibby that takes over everything, threatening to destroy not only Skinner and his mission but also those he loves most dearly. When Kibby contracts a horrific and debilitating mystery virus, Skinner understands that his destiny is inextricably bound to that of his hated rival, and he is faced with a terrible dilemma. The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs is a gothic parable about the great obsessions of our time: food, sex and minor celebrity, and is a brilliant examination of identity, male rivalry and the need to belong in the world.
In these pages you can enjoy Christmas dinner with Begbie, and see how warmly Franco greets his sister's boyfriend and the news of their engagement. You will discover, in 'The Rosewell Incident', how aliens addicted to Embassy Regal have Midlothian under surveillance, and plan to install the local casuals as the new governors of Planet Earth. You will not be surprised to read that a televised Hibs v. Hearts game might matter more to one character than the life of his wife, or that two guys fighting over a beautiful girl might agree - on reflection, and after a few pills and many pints of lager - that their friendship is actually more important. And you will be delighted to welcome back 'Juice' Terry Lawson, and to watch what happens when he meets his old nemesis, retired schoolmaster Albert Black, under the strobe-lights of a Miami Beach nightclub.
BEFORE TRAINSPOTTING CAME SKAGBOYS The Number One Bestseller Mark Renton has it all: he's good-looking, young, with a pretty girlfriend and a bright future. But there's no room for him in the 1980s and when his family starts to fracture, Mark's life swings out of control. The way out is heroin. It's no better for his friends - Spud Murphy is laid off from his job, Tommy Lawrence finds himself sucked into a life of petty crime, violence and the world of the psychotic Franco Begbie. Only Sick Boy seems to ride the current, scamming and hustling his way through it all. Exhilarating and moving, Skagboys charts their journey from likely lads to young addicts in a decade which changed Britain forever.
In his first short-story collection since The Acid House, Irvine Welsh sets us five tricky questions.
In 'Rattlesnakes' how do three young Americans find themselves lost in the desert, and why does one find himself performing fellatio on another while being watched by the bare-breasted Madeline and two armed Mexicans?
Who is the mysterious Korean chef who has moved upstairs to Chicago socialite Kendra Cross, in 'The D.O.G.S. of Lincoln Park', and what does he have to do with the disappearance of her faithful pooch Toto?
In the title story, can Mickey Baker - an expat English bar-owner ducking and diving on the Costa Brava - manage to keep all his balls in the air: maintaining his barmaid Cynthia's body weight at the sexual maximum while attending to the youthful Persephone and dodging his persistent ex-wife and a pair of Spanish gangsters?
By what train of events does Raymond Wilson Butler, writing a biography of a legendary US film director in 'Miss Arizona' come to end up as a piece of movie memorabilia?
And how, in the novella 'The Kingdom of Fife' will Jason King - diminutive ex-trainee jockey and Subbuteo star of Cowdenbeath - fare in the world of middle-class female equestrians, and will he ever enjoy the tender and long-anticipated charms of Jenni Cahill and her remarkable jodhpurs?
All of these questions are posed, and answered, in these five extraordinary stories: stries that remind us that Irvine Welsh is a master of the shorter form, a brilliant storyteller, and - unarguably - one of the funniest and filthiest writers in Britain.
Cigarette-addicted aliens have Midlothian under surveillance. A jaded police constable, a pregnant teenager with a UFO obsession and a gang of youths bent on a violent scam are shaken up when a caravan of travellers arrives in Rosewell, and the local mechanic's long-lost brother turns up in some peculiar company.
Part of the Storycuts series, this story was previously published in the collection Reheated Cabbage.
Calum's evening gets off to nostalgic start when a childhood friend, now a junkie, wanders into the bar. His drinking partner, Crooky, has procured some hits of acid, and the trio head off in search of a party. However, their trip goes badly wrong and the morning brings with it a bleak comedown.
Part of the Storycuts series, this story was previously published in the collection Reheated Cabbage.
Three young women - competitive, bitchy and moneyed - have lunch together at their favourite Korean restaurant every Friday. When the friendly chef from the restaurant moves into the same building as one of the girls, she strikes up a friendship with him. But the disappearance of her dog sparks suspicion of the Korean chef's motives, and his culinary ambitions.
Part of the Storycuts series, this short story was previously published in the collection If You Liked School, You'll Love Work.
Now bereft of both youth and ambition, Detective Inspector Ray Lennox is recovering from a mental breakdown induced by occupational stress and cocaine abuse, and a particularly horrifying child sex murder case back in Edinburgh. On vacation in Florida, his fiancée Trudi is only interested in planning their forthcoming wedding, and a bitter argument sees a deranged Lennox cast adrift in strip-mall Florida. He meets two women in a seedy bar, ending up at their apartment for a coke binge interrupted by two menacing strangers. After the ensuing brawl, Lennox finds himself alone with Tianna, the terrified ten-year-old daughter of one of the women, and a sheet of instructions that make him responsible for her immediate safety.
Lennox takes her across the state to an exclusive marina on the Gulf of Mexico, and quickly suspects that he has stumbled into a hornet's nest: a gang of organized paedophiles, every bit as threatening as the monster that haunted him back in Edinburgh. His priority is to protect the abused girl, but can the edgy Lennox trust his own instincts? And can he negotiate her inappropriate sexuality, as well as his own mental fragility, while still trying to get to grips with the Edinburgh murder and the emotions it unleashes in him?
A novel about the corruption and abuse of the human soul and the possibilities of redemption, Crime is a thrilling journey into the bright glamour of the Sunshine State and a seething underworldof utter darkness.
Glue is the story of four boys growing up in the Edinburgh schemes, and about the loyalties, the experiences - and the secrets - that hold them together into their thirties. Four boys becoming men: Juice Terry, the work-shy fanny-merchant, with corkscrew curls and sticky fingers; Billy the boxer: driven, controlled, playing to his strengths; Carl, the Milky Bar Kid, drifting along to his own soundtrack; and the doomed Gally - who has one less skin than everyone and seems to find catastrophe at every corner. As we follow their lives from the seventies into the new century - from punk to techno, from speed to Es - we can see each of them trying to struggle out from under the weight of the conditioning of class and culture, peer pressure and their parents' hopes that maybe their sons will do better than they did. What binds the four of them is the friendship formed by the scheme, their school, and their ambition to escape from both; their loyalty fused in street morality: back up your mates, don't hit women and, most importantly, never grass - on anyone.
Lloyd from Leith has a transfiguring passion for the unhappily married Heather. Together they explore the true nature of house music and chemical romance. Will their ardour fizzle and die or will it ignite and blaze like a thousand suns? Ecstasy follows them and others through the backstreets of Edinburgh, stifling suburban sitting rooms and the bright lights of London. Exhilarating and dazzling, this is Welsh at his very best.
The characters in this extraordinary book are often - on the surface - depraved, vicious, cowardly and manipulative, but their essential humanity is never undermined. Two professors of philosophy turn pugilists; Leith removal men become the objects of desire for Hollywood goddesses; God turns Boab Coyle into a house-fly; and in the novella, 'A Smart Cunt', the drug-addled young hero spins off on a collision course with his past. The Acid House is a bizarre, disturbing and hilarious collection from one of the most uncompromising and original writers around.
Ten years on from Trainspotting, Simon 'Sick Boy' Williamson is back in Edinburgh after a long spell in London. Having failed spectacularly as a hustler, pimp, husband, father and businessman, Sick Boy taps into an opportunity, which to him represents one last throw of the dice. However, to realize his dream of directing and producing a pornographic movie, Sick Boy must team up with old pal and fellow exile Mark Renton and a motley crew that includes the city's favourite ex-aerated-water-salesman, 'Juice' Terry Lawson. In the world of Porno, however, nothing is straightforward, as Sick Boy and Renton find out that they have unresolved issues to address, concerning the increasingly unhinged Frank Begbie, the troubled, drug-addled Spud, but, most of all, with each other.
Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting oan a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fuckin junk food intae yir mooth. Choose rotting away, pishing and shiteing yersel in a home, a total fuckin embarrassment tae the selfish, fucked-up brats ye've produced. Choose life.
When Lucy Brennan, a Miami Beach personal-fitness trainer, disarms a gunman chasing two frightened homeless men, the police and the breaking-news cameras are not far behind and, within hours, Lucy is a media hero. The solitary eye-witness is the depressed and overweight Lena Sorensen, who becomes obsessed with Lucy and signs up as her client - though she seems more interested in the trainer's body than her own. When the two women find themselves more closely aligned, and can't stop thinking about the sex lives of Siamese twins, the real problems start...
In the aggressive, foul-mouthed trainer, Lucy Brennan, and the needy, manipulative Lena Sorensen, Irvine Welsh has created two of his most memorable female protagonists, and one of the most bizarre, sado-masochistic folies à deux in contemporary fiction. Featuring murder, depravity and revenge - and enormous amounts of food and sex - The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins taps into two great obsessions of our time - how we look and where we live - and tells a story so subversive and dark it blacks out the Florida sun.