Skagboys by Irvine Welsh

To make it clear, Skagboys is a rather lengthy 550-page long prequel to Trainspotting, published some 20 years or so after the original hit the shelves and corrupted the minds of millions – and given the fact that Porno, a 2002 sequel to the same Rents/Sick Boy/Begbie routine was so-and-so (I couldn't read it, so I just listened to a shortened audiobook instead), hopes were not too high.

Despite being a little bit slow at the beginning (I tried to start reading it three times, and only the 3rd attempt got me past Chapter 1), the book caught up with me somewhat later, and got me pretty much immersed in it till the very end.

My call – the absolute peak of the novel is a chapter called Chute, a standalone story about Nicksy, rather a secondary character than the main crew, a brilliant piece of literature in its own right – brutal, raw, jaw twisting, gripping, and showing that grandpa Irvine hasn't lost his form yet. After such intensity through, a comedown was imminent – and there was a prolonged, I'd say, even dragging pace-killer of Renton's 100-page rehab diary.

The very end of the book was a tiny bit disappointing, as with all my love and devotion to Welsh, I didn't like at all his poorly hidden winks and nods at the T-novel and the T-movie – had a lame taste, if you ask me – but nah, what can you do in a prequel.

Overall, hard as it seems to believe, I still adore these dirty, incorrect, abusive, and violent crime/sex/addiction stories of Leith's troubled youth – and probably not to a lesser extent than when I first read them, after I'd bought a copy of Ecstasy in 1996 in the old Zwemmer's bookstore on Kuznetsky, once I had found out about Mr. W's world in Птюч magazine. Oh well, these days are long gone.

If you don't wanna read the whole of Skagboys – well, read just Chute, it's awesome.



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