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“Trainspotting” by Irvine Welsh

“Trainspotting” by Irvine Welsh is a raucous, gritty, irreverent, and ultimately moving tale of a group of drug addicts trying to find their way through life and the mess that it often creates.

The story dives deep into the lives of those struggling with drug addiction to bring us a story of love, loss, and ultimately redemption.


This story is full of characters that are so realistically portrayed and scrabble through life in a manner that is alternately heart-breaking and uplifting. It follows the life of Mark Renton as he navigates his way through his dysfunctional life, often by relying on drugs and his friends.

The story switches between past and present, leading Renton to a greater understanding of the choices he has made and of the people around him, who are struggling with the same issues.

“Trainspotting” vividly captures the justice and injustice of those who are trying to make their way out of the darkness while still surrounded by it.


The characters are real, richly drawn, and often flawed humans. The protagonists and antagonists possess deep complexities which drive the story, never allowing the reader to make a judgement of one or another, but instead to walk alongside them.

Through them, Welsh is able to explore various themes, especially that of addiction and the need for redemptive power.

Language and Style

Welsh’s writing style is unapologetic, dropping you right into the lives of these characters and not letting go until the end.

He employs a number of different dialects and speech patterns which capture and reflect the cultures of the characters, making them accessible to all readers. His descriptions of the people and places immerse the reader in another world.


“Trainspotting” by Irvine Welsh is a story that captivates and disturbs. A story that delves into the darkness of addiction and its consequences.

An honest and powerful read, it moves from humour to sadness, from hope to despair, reminding us of the human-ness in us all.

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