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PORNO by Irvine Welsh

PORNO

By Irvine Welsh

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-393-05723-2
Publisher: Norton

The Trainspotting boys are back and not a whit wiser for the decade that’s passed.

Welsh (Glue, 2001, etc.) knows what a good thing he had with Trainspotting and thought it might be a laugh to see what happened to the pack of Scottish junkies and grifters ten years later, letting them narrate their stories in turn. The focus of this overstuffed comic sequel is Sick Boy, who’s still pulling scams, only with more aplomb. He’s got two primary ones going: renovating an old pub (though the longer he’s into that one, the more legit it seems to get) and directing a porn film with some friends. Renton, who made off with his money years before, is now running a club in Amsterdam and seems to be settling into a pre–middle-age sloth. Begbie is still a psychotic font of rage and invective who’s come out of jail a little earlier than most people thought and is looking for someone to take revenge on. Spud shows up every now and again, a sad portrait of a lifelong junkie hanging on to life only by some cruel joke of the cosmos. Into this boys’ club comes Nikki, a student with a taste for self-degradation who gets involved with Sick Boy and, concurrently, his film. She’s a fascinating figure in that, unlike the rest of these random elements, Welsh actually seems to have taken the time to try to figure out what makes this damaged and self-hating person tick. Sick Boy makes for good reading, as his amoral self sizes up and then dispenses with everyone who crosses his path, always finding the angles. Begbie foams at the mouth in an almost unreadable Scottish patois, while Renton doesn’t add much to the story—and the less said about Spud the better.

Flush with bile, bitter humor, drugs, and sex: a fun few hundred pages spent with the worst that humanity has to offer.