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10 thoughts on “Skagboys

  1. Andrew Andrew says:

    I should prefix this short review with a disclaimer that I'm a huge Welsh fan boy and am probably incapable of writing anything totally subjective about this bookSince Trainspotting I have read everything he has ever done and have bought the books the minute they have come out I suppose he's the literary euivalent to my favoutite band and like with my favourite band even when the high standards slip If you liked school you'll love work I always believe it's only a temporary glitch and greatness will soon be restored Although this isn't always the case; Oasis being a fine example of thatSkagboys is a return to form for Welsh all the characters from Trainspotting are back and up to their usual shennanigans When Welsh is on form he's characterisation is second to none and the way he writes the dynamic between the group of pals is just superbWelsh is in my opinion one of the few genuine working class voices on the British literary scene and I don't think there are any other authors with whose characters I can relate to Trainspotting was one of the first books I read where I felt compelled to write a letter to the author I got as far as 'Dear Irvine' and then felt like a bit of a knob head and decided against it If you liked Trainspotting and Porno you'll like Skagboys it does go off on a few tangents and there are some characters I would have liked to have seen expanded on but overall I think it's a roaring success and I'm giving it five starsI'm contemplating reading the trilogy in chronological order now re reading Trainspotting next then Porno The only thing stopping me is the suspicion it's a bit sad and the fact I have an unread Tom Franklin book just calling my name Decisions decisions

  2. Paltia Paltia says:

    Maybe you grew up in a city on the wrong side of town If so you might find yourself saying I knew these characters or people who were very similar to them Irvine Welsh is a master at creating characters that are so real with each so flawlessly described that you don’t lose track of who’s who in his books This preuel to Trainspotting felt desperate and ominous Perhaps that was on account of having that feeling of dread when you knew where things are headed It is a searingly graphic and brutally honest depiction of a deep dive into the abyss of heroin addiction There is still plenty of humor with some characters being uite adept at self deprecation The political situation of the time continues as a backdrop to the story The city shuts down the needle exchange indifferent to the inevitable outcome of AIDS Who in government or the general population gives a care about junkies? Laced throughout there are references to philosophers Schopenhauer and Kierkegaard used by Mark Renton the character who loves reading to help himself better understand the predicaments of his life He has a clear comprehension of the choices he’s made The choice to leave life behind as he once knew it and commit himself to stealing scoring and using A life of daily obstacles and limitations A life on the periphery lawless unwashed and nearly corrupted by want Yet the story ends with the elegant Welsh trademark There Renton and Simon spew poison out in every direction as they climb a rickety staircase to stand up in truth It gives me chills to think about it There is between the two lads that tiny spark of honesty which ends the story with hope

  3. F F says:

    PERFECT I WANT MORESo happy to be reunited with these characters Love these guys than words can describe

  4. Cbj Cbj says:

    As one other reviewer wrote reading Skagboys is like meeting your old long lost friends Trainspotting is one of my five favourite novels of all time and a preuel where all the characters are in their early twenties is like a treat There are few books where the characters are so memorable that finishing the book is almost the same as them leaving your home or life forever As a middle class Indian my interest in a book like Trainspotting or Skagboys is almost superficial For me Trainspotting is about these young working class people in Scotland who seem to be living it up getting high on heroine getting drunk having casual sex sneering at getting jobs and the middle classes in their own country and generally laying around doing nothing or reflecting on the futility of entering the rat race And then there is the amazing social commentary that would probably resonate with anybody anywhere in the world I don't even know much about Scotland or Britain or what happened to the British working classes when Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979 But when I started to read Skagboys I remembered an anecdote from VSNaipaul's biography which I had read earlier this year Sometime in 1985 VSNaipaul and Iris Murdoch along with a bunch of other intellectuals attended a dinner at 10 Downing Street for an intellectual discussion about Margaret Thatcher During the discussion Murdoch said that what was reuired was a caring and compassionate society And Naipaul who is sort of a pro establishment figure responded with Iris I first heard those words twenty years ago They had no meaning then they have less meaning now Apparently Murdoch did not utter a word for the rest of the evening Skagboys is about that society which Murdoch said reuired caring and compassion There is mass unemployment families are breaking up and there is a general sense of despair among the young working class kids in Leith The ending of old certainties and the economic turmoil in Britain magnifies the problems in their own livesThe 25 26 year old wasters in Trainspotting are in their early 20s in Skagboys Mark Renton is doing well at University and seems to want to leave the life in Leith behind him But his spastic younger brother grates on his nerves and the thought of entering the 9 to 5 middle class life of conformity with his beautiful girlfriend Fiona scares the shit out of him Sick Boy is already a street smart young man but is racked by guilt at the things he would do to get laid and have a nice time Sensitive Spud Murphy is laid off and is desperate for female companionship Alison struggles with the death of her mother They’re all on the edge and waiting for something Some kind of direction or some kind of distraction The book gets off to a fantastic and pulsating start Mark Renton and his dad wake up early in the morning to go to the Orgreave coking plant where miners take on the police They are egged on by Mark's granny who gives them whiskey early in the morning for inspiration Hahaha This is all from an entry in Mark’s rehab journal Welsh is in the form of his life in Skagboys Sample some of Renton’s early weariness about his home country “ upset my hairy beep its this beep that upsets me the proddies and the papes the lowlife rump ay losers distilled fae the dregs ay european christendoms two most blood simple tribes sneering rabid vermin who intuitively know they're at the bottom ay the trash pile at the scabbiest end ay a bunch ay frozen rocks in the north seaWelsh had given chapters to Spud and Francis Begbie in Porno compared to Trainspotting And they are prominent characters in Skagboys And it is the chapters told from Spud and Begbie’s point of view that are the most interesting and entertaining The book is not without its faults – some of Renton and Sick Boy’s escapades like their time working in a ship seem to be uninspired Characters like Matty and Nicksie are easily forgettable maybe this was intentional? And the ending was a bit too abrupt as if it was written for a thrilling movie ending And even though it made me want to uit my job and drink myself to death Skagboys lacks the killer punch of Trainspotting When I read Trainspotting at the age of 23 it blew me away completely It is a book that had a tremendous impact on my life And the reason was the amazing social commentary in the book Even though Trainspotting was humorous the humour did not eclipse the despair felt by the characters In both Porno and Skagboys the things that need to be in the background seem to be in the forefrontNonetheless a very entertaining read and it has affected me deeply though nowhere as much as Trainspotting did I guess this has as a lot to do with me being a much older person It would be interesting to hear from somebody who reads Skagboys before sampling any of Welsh’s other work

  5. Nigeyb Nigeyb says:

    Since reading 'Trainspotting' around the time it came out I have read and to one degree or another enjoyed every one of Irvine Welsh's books Before writing this review I had a look round at some of the other reviews and notice that this book does seem to polarise opinion generally though most of the readers who have enjoyed previous Irvine Welsh books have enjoyed this one though certainly not all One reviewer likened 'Skagboys' to the extras that turn on up on some DVDs specifically that 'Skagboys' is the extras for 'Trainspotting' a in depth look at the main characters on their path to drug addiction prison etc I feel that does this book a slight disservice 'Skagboys' stands up on its own merits whilst probably mainly appealing to people who read and enjoyed 'Trainspotting' and 'Porno'Irvine Welsh says that 'Skagboys' was written as part of 'Trainspotting and at the same time which makes sense It's like a Scottish literary version of the superb US TV series The Wire The book directly or indirectly touches on all aspects of the world of heroin during the Thatcher years with the focus being on the core of working class lads from Leith During the course of the book some of the characters move from Edinburgh; to London; briefly to Amsterdam and a stint working on a Sealink ferry; to a rehab centre near Fife; and even the Battle of Orgreave during the Miners StrikeIrvine Welsh weaves in plenty of real life incidents into his narrative I just mentioned the infamous Battle Of Orgreave I was visiting Amsterdam in the mid 1980s when West Ham United and Manchester United hooligans caused chaos on the ferry to Holland and in the city Those events appear in 'Skagboys' too Talk about art imitating lifeAs with the other books about these characters the stories are told by different characters and from their different perspectives This is a real strength and gives the reader insights into each of the main characters and many of the minor ones too I think the 'Trainspotting' crew inspire Irvine Welsh's best writing 'Skagboys' is another visceral page turner It's such a shame that he is no longer flavour of the month as this book is absolutely superb If you loved 'Trainspotting' and 'Porno' then you'll probably revel in this preuel By turns hilarious appalling and freuently both at the same time It's also uietly profound too Irvine Welsh gives Renton numerous opportunities to take a route out of addiction but each time he reasons that heroin addiction is a rational response to the futility of the alternatives on offer in Thatcher's Britain and given his own personal history The addict as the ultimate free spirited non conformist That perhaps makes the book sound uite serious It certainly has moments of profundity but is as much about Irvine Welsh's trademark hilarious appalling dark witty insightful set pieces scams and stories

  6. Prundeanu Ciprian Prundeanu Ciprian says:

    Barry you radge ct A seminal linguistic work on the intricacies of Scottish English and a thorough medical analysis of the perils of substance abuse 910 will enjoy unless a Jambo or a weedgie

  7. Rob Rob says:

    It's been a long time – 15 years? – since I read Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting but its preuel Skagboys feels even better at once ambitious darker and funnier than its predecessor Focusing once again on the same four characters Mark Renton Simon Sick Boy Williamson Spud and Begbie Welsh relates the story of how three of them first got hooked on heroin in the mid 1980s while he simultaneously critiues class warfare Margaret Thatcher's United Kingdom and Scottish national identityTold or less in a series of vignettes what Welsh does exceedingly well here is detail their descent into addiction especially Renton and Sick Boy as a reaction to the disgust they feel with themselves – pleasurable anesthesia that distracts them from all the things they hate when they look in the mirror This level of addiction is something I'll never understand but after reading Skagboys I kind of get it Oblivion is nice right? There's a certain appeal to knowing your only obligation in life is finding your next fix But what Welsh definitely doesn't do is glamorize heroin addiction which was the rap against Trainspotting As the characters gradually become fixated on the spike in their veins to paraphrase Lou Reed there's no attempt to pretty up the corresponding decay in the rest of their lives Welsh is like always not afraid to go dark and I found myself relating to the characters – Renton especially a college kid who really should know better – with varying degrees of disgust and disappointmentIt's a rough read but it's also laugh out loud funny in places their climactic scheme to steal a factory's worth of morphine is hysterical and horrifying at the same time and Welsh's use of Scottish vernacular Totally skint man n the bread trap ay Christmas n New Year looms It's a awfay scene Mind you everybody's in the same boat Begbie comes roond the gaff n yuv nivir seen a rooster in such a foul mood ken? begins one chapter is as vibrant as ever I need to reacuaint myself with the rest of his stuff but right now Skagboys feels like the best thing Welsh has ever written

  8. Daren Daren says:

    Even though I am a big fan Welsh's work this book worked a lot better than I had expectedIt is of course the preuel to Trainspotting and fills in the backgrounds of our favourite characters during the 1980s including their introduction to heroinLike Trainspotting and many of Welsh's other books it is written in part in Scottish dialectIt amazes me with the writing how talented Welsh is to be able to have a different written form for each character For each chapter before the narrator is fully revealed it is almost always obvious who the character is just by the formation of their sentences and word choicesAt some 550 pages this book sat in my shelf for a long time for two reasons it is a lengthy investment in time but importantly I was concerned it wouldn't be excellent It could have been a shallow or poorly constructed reverse engineering of Renton Sick Boy Spud and Begbie It could have done a disservice to Trainspotting one of my favourite books of my youth Thankfully it was none of these thingsExcellent and 5 Stars

  9. Sara Sara says:

    Despite the mixed reviews I had seen I love the 'Trainspotting' boys and it was good to add to ther backstories with this preuel Not as jovial as 'Porno' but with some fabulous gallows humour in places and when he tries Mr Welsh describes his home town of Edina with a wonderfully bleak turn of phrase A uality read likeasay catboy

  10. McKinley McKinley says:

    This is one of the best fucking books I've ever read 20 years ago I said the same thing about Trainspotting I've come full circle following the Irvine train since then and I'll always be a Welshian I may write a full review once I've regained the ability to form sentences Or rather the sense that I've any right or need to form them after this man puts the final dot on the page There is much to be said about this book but I don't know that I am the one to say any of it or if I even want to try I'm still coming down I may never touch bottom Read this book if it's the last thing you do

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Skagboys ❰BOOKS❯ ✯ Skagboys Author Irvine Welsh – Mark Renton has it all he's good looking young with a pretty girlfriend and a place at university But there's no room for him in the 1980s Thatcher's government is destroying working class communities Mark Renton has it all he's good looking young with a pretty girlfriend and a place at university But there's no room for him in the s Thatcher's government is destroying working class communities across Britain and the post war certainties of full employment educational opportunity and a welfare state are gone When his family starts to fracture Mark's life swings out of control and he succumbs to the defeatism which has taken hold in Edinburgh's grimmer areas The way out is heroinIt's no better for his friends Spud Murphy is paid off from his job Tommy Lawrence feels himself being sucked into a life of petty crime and violence the worlds of the thieving Matty Connell and psychotic Franco Begbie Only Sick Boy the supreme manipulator of the opposite sex seems to ride the current scamming and hustling his way through it all Skagboys charts their journey from likely lads to young men addicted to the heroin which has flooded their disintegrating community This is the s a time of drugs poverty AIDS violence political strife and hatred but a lot of laughs and maybe just a little love; a decade which changed Britain for ever The preuel to the world renowned Trainspotting this is an exhilarating and moving book full of the scabrous humour salty vernacular and appalling behaviour that has made Irvine Welsh a household name.

  • Paperback
  • 548 pages
  • Skagboys
  • Irvine Welsh
  • English
  • 20 December 2016
  • 9780224087919

About the Author: Irvine Welsh

Probably most famous for his gritty depiction of a gang of Scottish Heroin addicts Trainspotting Welsh focuses on the darker side of human nature and drug use All of his novels are set in his native Scotland and filled with anti heroes small time crooks and hooligans Welsh manages however to imbue these characters with a sad humanity that makes them likable despite their obvious scumb.