The Blade Artist by Irvine Welsh

Good lord, let me start with a friggin spoiler – the dumb of me, I didn't pay attention to the cover, I didn't read the summary on Amazon – so man, I nearly jumped at the end of chapter five. Cause damn, it's not yet another US novel by Irvine Welsh, no sir – it's a FRANK BEGBIE novel – God, who could've thought.

Overall, as Welsh's prose typically is, it's a fast read pulp fiction novel, spanned between California and Edinburgh. Filled with archetypical rage, hatred, violence – but also totally shows Welsh (well, Begbie) getting old, reserved, treacherously double-faced. Breathe, man, breathe, one, two, three

The finale, with all the knives and chisels, is somewhat like a ball gag scene from Tarantino – but despite all that, the book lacks something. It just needed more – story, drama, action, well, I dunno what. And it sure as hell left the page open for a new Renton sequel. I'm in, always!

Read my first Welsh's book in 1996. 20 years have past, everyone chose life, and sadly, no-one got a bit younger. And yeah, Decent Ride was much funnier.

 

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A Decent Ride by Irvine Welsh

A good funny read from Mr. Irvine “Scotland-moved-to-Miami-and-then-came-back” Welsh.

As it's quite typical for Welsh to reuse and expand his old characters, this is now a third book about “Juice” Terry Lawson, a rough and cynical fellow from both Glue and Porno novels – and, to tell you the truth, I'm quite sad that I seem to remember very little from both of them. Need to re-read Glue one day anyway.

So as I was saying, the story revolves around Terry, who is mid-forties, works as an Edinburgh cab driver and, surprise-surprise, still acts as a true insatiable ladies man. Sex, drugs and rock'and'roll – and sex again.

Then, suddenly enough, the story of Terry charges its course – it becomes the epitome for aging and getting a bit more sad and mature at the same time. I couldn't but felt that Mr. Lawson caught up some of Irvine Welsh's own nostalgia of getting older – a former poet of Leith skag and casual youth, Welsh now writes about the same very folks, but 25 years older, 50 pounds heavier, and with a bad ticker on a brink of an imminent heart attack.

And then, miraculously enough again, it comes back positive again in the end. But no spoilers, eh, no spoilers.

PS: It's not yet available in the US, only comes out in Feb next year – so I had hit the shelves in the UK store of Amazon instead.

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Everything’s negotiable. As ah eywis say: fuck off means naw, naw means mibbe, mibbe means aye n aye means anal. Guaranteed!

Ah’ve goat a bookcase wi some books Rab Birrell lends ays which ah nivir fuckin read but ah keep tae impress the student burds. Moby-Dick, Crime and Punishment, that sort ay shite. That Dostoyevsky cunt, ah tried tae read um but every fucker hud aboot five different names, n ah left the scheme tae git away fae aw that! Too fuckin right.


Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

A brain dead fellow on vacation a couple of weeks back, I downloaded Masha Gessen's latest book on the Tsarnaev brothers and patiently started reading it. But in the sun and all, it kinda felt wrong.

So I went to kindle store again and kept on browsing. For whatever. Simpler, I guess. And simpler I found.

About two years ago I dwelled and dwelled in various airport bookstores over buying Stephen King's Joyland novel – liked the film noir cover a lot – but in the end, never had the guts to do it. Don't get me wrong, Mr. King is undoubtedly a good writer, the one who builds a story that gets a grip of you and doesn't let go. Biggest problem – the last time I read King's stuff, I was in my teens, mid-teens, to be exact. Dead zone, the Shining, etc etc. So buying and reading King seemed, ummm, grossly inappropriate and childish for a bit older fella. Well, it did and it didn't.

I also remembered that a year or so ago I read a praise in, what was it, the Guardian, on King's Mr. Mercedes, a crime novel, a novelty for King, as there were no dead clowns creeping in the shadows. Pure crime stuff. And here I was, sun and all, finally reading King. Felt the same as watching crime TV series, the Wire, Sherlock, Breaking Bad stuff.

The beginning and mid part are totally better than the end, if you ask me – as I don't like even a shred of comical in a crime book, and this Holly character was put there for that reason. Other than that, the book has typical King's wit, but it's pulp all right. Burn after reading. Lazy as I am, still I decided, hell, I'll try the sequel Finders Keepers anyways (googled it – better reviews), as at least one thing is true – pulp reads fast.

 


Blitz by David Trueba

Blitz is a short novel by David Trueba, a Spanish film director and screenwriter. Una historia de amor, it turned out in the end, and a strange one. A quick delightful read, eh.

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En la tele emitían resúmenes informativos del año. Todos hablaban de la crisis económica. En el recordatorio, la presidenta alemana Merkel, con su rigidez, daba una mano fría a los presidentes sucesivos de España, primero Zapatero con sus cejas de bebé asustado y luego Rajoy con esa ausencia de personalidad idéntica al muñeco abandonado de un ventrílocuo. Ambos parecían pedir de ella más que un apretón de manos, quizá ser acunados, que los acercara a su pecho para darles de mamar. Pero ella no era la madre que buscaban.

 


The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

God gracious, I can't believe I finally finished it. Such a long book, for lazy readers like me, it's pure nightmare, these 775 pages.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad one overall, but my opinion of it went down as the pages went. Could've been and probably should've been shorter.

The beginning and the first half are absolutely stellar, and I see why so many people can see the Catcher in Rye echoed there. The joy of youth, then the tragedy and the soul searching – well, these New York and Las Vegas parts are just stunning, cunning, entertaining, can't get my eyes off that kind of thing. It's a Pulitzer Prize winner, and for a reason it is.

But after that, with Theo coming back to New York again in his twenties, and then to Amsterdam, well, these bits are much less appealing. At first the novel lacks action, and then the action is just too much that it becomes klyukva. All the pretty little cranberries, if you know what I mean.

And the very ending, the long tedious passages, the moral of the story – uff, that made me sweat even. Lame. Unnecessary. In want of something else. Brrr.

To sum it up – when I started it in February (well, I think it was February), I was totally mesmerized by it and thinking – damn, it's so good, I will have to read more of Donna's stuff, maybe all of Donna's stuff. Wanted to buy a copy for my dad. When I finished it yesterday night, May already, in a hotel room in Tel Aviv, I'm not sure I want any more. No, not sure at all.


All You Need is Kill aka Edge of Tomorrow by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

Coincedences happen. Silly enough – watched the movie on Friday – and on this very Saturday morning stumbled upon the original book translated into English. Hm, must be a sign.

By the look and feel of the movie, I sensed it would have the Heinlein's Troopers touch to it – and the book, even more so.

Now, with less than 200 pages and a rabid pace, I can't but realize it's much more Verhoeven's.

Anyways, that bug queen sci-fi was dear to my mind, and I ate the book in a blink of an eye. Ay, yummy. Feels like I'm twelve again. Hope my son catches that affection a few years down the road.