Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Trainspotting - Irvine Welsh

This list seems to suggest that I’m not much into novels. It’s not true: I’ve read hundreds of them. It’s just that these recent months have been more of a “not fiction” period for me. Let’s talk about a novel then, for a change.
This is a cult. Everybody has seen the movie. I’m not gonna get into the typical dispute: “The book is better!”, “No, the movie is!” What I can say is that they surely are quite different.

First of all: one thing is watching some Scottish actors speaking their lingo, another is rendering that same effect in writing. The book is in English but the the dialogs are written the way Edinburgh junkies from the ’80s-’90s would talk! I think that Irvine Welsh was the first to try something like that. He’s somehow created a new pattern that have been widely used ever since.
Second, the movie sticks to the classic pattern of a story: beginning, development, climax, ending. The book, on the other end, is more of a window on a life segment: it starts where the author begins to focus on it and it ends when he stops looking at it. It clearly extends beyond both ends, even though we never get to see what happens there. I should actually have used the plural, as the novel deals with the life segments of a set of characters: Renton, Spud, Sick boy and Begbie.
Read it even if you’ve watched the move. Read it especially if you have watched the movie. That’s what I did, and I’m glad.

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