After “We Children from Bahnhof Zoo” mogu mogu chan, during a new trip to our local library, recommended this book by Irvine Welsh that kept the same theme but took me on a trip from cold-war era Berlin to Edinburgh, Scotland.
“Trainspotting” is about a group of heroin, booze and other “destructive things and behaviours” addicts, that we can very easily classify as crazy mofos, set in the impoverished Leith during the late 1980’s/early 1990’s. Mark Renton – “rent boy” – is the anti hero at the center of it all and a lot of the story will be witnessed through his perspective. He’s a bitter, intelligent and philosophical heroin addict who’s trying to find a meaning for his life – if there is any to be found – and some way to escape the boredom of it all. Around Renton will find his core group, Begbie – a violent cocky bastard with a short temper, “Spud” – a romantic and naive guy with low self-esteem, “Sick Boy” – whose addiction lies more often in women than in drugs.. that and a lot of scamming and “Second Prize” – more often drunk than not – occasionally these guys will be the ones give us insight on their misadventures. But the cast of unique characters doesn’t stop here as there will be plenty of others getting in and out of scene to cause some mayhem.
The book is divided in 7 non linear parts – one could even say 7 short stories – not entirely related but not entirely independent either trough which the author will paint a very grim, realistic, sometimes nasty and sometimes funny image of the characters lives and misadventures that’ll give you plenty of food for thought and perspectives on life.
The version I’ve read was the one translated in portuguese and as so some of the original style was lost, which is a shame, but the core essence, revolving around violence, rage, despair, betrayal, friendship, love, fun and of course drugs, was still there in a harsh but hilarious and very enjoyable book. Do I recommend it? Well, yes, but not for every one for obvious reasons.
Just a quick note before ending this: As you should know, Trainspotting is a cult classic by now, and as any decent cult classic there’s a movie adaptation… I’m not a “movie person” but I got curious, saw it and had a pleasant surprise because the film was as enjoyable as the book. As for “We Children from Bahnhof Zoo” I also found the movie, 1980 somethings german piece that had the contrary effect.. it was just a confusing shadow of the original source.