Trainspotting was Irvine Welsh’s debut novel. It was published first in the United Kingdom in 1993, and in 1996 an American edition was published. Welsh lives in Edinburgh and London. He held a plethora of jobs before becoming a writer. The groundwork for Trainspotting was built in short story collections and novellas, where he told the stories of arguably interesting and disturbed characters.
Trainspotting stands out because of its creation primarily through dialogue. The dialogue consists of the characters’ Scottish-dialect conversations both with one another and with readers. Rare passages in the book are written in the traditional third person, in Standard English, easily understood by American readers. A glossary of key terms is provided to inform readers of the definitions of key slang words used throughout.
The use of characters’ dialect is an essential tool for immersing readers into Welsh’s world of junkies, prostitutes, and those who associate with them. Welsh’s plot is full of the philosophies of those on the margins of society, including the rationalizations used to make the most unconventional choices. It also incorporates many references to popular culture. The Skag Boys and their friends are fans of violent martial arts films, and their music consists of Iggy Pop and David Bowie, not the then-new genre of techno music. The world of working-class Edinburgh is home for the Skag Boys, and it is...
(The entire section is 590 words.)