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The Acid House Paperback – May 28 1996


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Amazon.ca First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist


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The Acid House + Filth + Trainspotting
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (May 28 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099435012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099435013
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 222 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #96,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In Welsh's (Trainspotting) gritty proletarian universe, everyone from God to Madonna (the Material Girl, not the Virgin) speaks tough, working-class Scottish dialect: "That cunt Nietzsche wis wide ay the maark whin he sais ah wis deid," confides a prickly, pint-hefting Almighty in a Glasgow pub. "Ah'm no deid, ah jist dinnae gie a fuck." Nihilism and self-absorption characterize the nearly indistiguishable junkies, football hooligans and petty thieves who narrate these edgy, preponderantly first-person stories and one novella. Like fellow Scot James Kelman (whose salty vernacular Welsh's dialogue echoes), Welsh's predatory characters are society's dregs, hard-luck losers pinned to seediness by the empire's decline and by their own low expectations. The plots address this unrelenting grimness with shocking violence or twisted comedy. With the former, Welsh lacks Kelman's chilling incisiveness and tense dramatic control; he's somewhat more successful at broad satire and manic, high-concept humor. When it works, it's hilarious: "Where the Debris Meets the Sea" features inventive turnabout, as fanzines and tabloid TV programs about Scottish lorrie drivers feed the sexual fantasies of Madonna and friends. More often, though, the satire lacks teeth, descending instead to weak sarcasm. The title story's inspired premise (an acid tripping malcontent and a yuppie couple's newborn swap souls) fizzles out in conventional, trite pokes at political correctness, men's groups and upward mobility. Author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

“Mind-bendingly good.”
GQ magazine

“The collection as a whole is sick, horrific, occasionally moving and very funny.”
New Statesman

“Another season in Hell with Irvine Welsh, and God, it’s invigorating.”
New Statesman

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Without a doubt one of the funniest works anyone will ever read, know it is not for the judgmental or the too terribly sane. The humor and ironies not to mention the writing style and the translation of lower-class Glasgow speech into written text will entertain for hours.
The intricately linked stories, really anecdotes, off handed poetry and the genuine angst felt throughout the book, laced with deadpan humor and some of the most uproariously funny situations I can ever recall make for a fantastic escape from the everyday world.
The characters are vivid and true to their own characters throughout the book. The local and behaviors exhibited by everyone depicted are delivered with such wry comedy and wit it is no wonder this book was so well received. Again, this is not humor for children or anyone with issues with profanity or adult situations, be forewarned. It is, however, unexpectedly amusing and gritty to an extreme.
Enter the world of Eurotrash and gain some insight into the drug-singed minds of those depicted in The Acid House. You will never forget your journey there.
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Format: Paperback
Ah didnae think ah'd like this eht fist...
But these stories are pock-marked all over with irony, humour and the infallible bad language and vernacular put into use by Irvine Welsh, author of that classic (which I won't name here). This book should be read without that other book looming behind it with a knife to it's back.
This is a good read, and that should be enough. But there's people out there who think it could be better, that Welshie disnae have a grasp of the short story, etc, etc... but they're all missing the point something chronic. How often do we get the lives of Eurotrash thrust into our face? Not many of us get to witness first hand a drug raid, or indeed, a baby with a dirty mind... but herein lies Welsh's appeal. See, it's funny. It's so sick that it's funny...situations we'll never get into ourselves. It'll make you squirm and grin in revulsion. Come on people, admit it to yourself. You only ever read Welsh for the kick. Don't kid yourself about what is deemed to be literature or Booker Prize material or politically correct... just enjoy it and stop your whining.
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Format: Paperback
Irvine Welsh novels are definitely not for everyone. He is the "champion" of the poor, uneducated urban junkies of Edinburgh (Scotland). Since he writes in the first person, his books are, in effect, stories about junkies as told by junkies. The language is vile, the stories are frequently disgusting and depraved. Yet all this shock treatment is not gratuitous; all the stories strike me as oh-too-realistic, as if Mr. Welsh has lived in the gutter with these misfits. After the shock wears off, one is generally left with a feeling of compassion for these poor addicts (there but the grace of God...).
The Acid House differs somewhat from the author's other novels. It is actually a collection of short stories, plus a novella. While remaining true to general cause (ie, the plight of the junkie), some stories are rather weak (fortunately, these stories are very short indeed). Others are most memorable, with very clever endings (..I refer you to Irvine Welsh's masterpiece, Filth, for a really good ending!).
So The Acid House is the perfect read for Irvine Welsh fans. For others, be prepared for vile language, and sometimes incomprehensible language (..Scottish dialect). And parents, don't even THINK about letting your kids touch this or any other Irvine Welsh book.
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By A Customer on Jan. 17 2000
Format: Paperback
The Acid House is distilled Welsh. 100% proof. At a time where short story writing in Scotland is of a very high standard it is sad to report that Welsh has no mastery of the short story form unlike his fellow young Scots James Meek, Alison Kennedy or Gordon Legge, or the old master James Kelman.
This collection is very disappointing, and marks the first step in the inevitable downward spiral after the wonderful Trainspotting. However, from here on in, his books just get poorer and poorer.
Some stories are very clever (The Granton Star Cause, Lisa's mum meets the Queen mum, Disnae matter). Others are bereft of originality. VAT 69, for example, has the same plot twist as Roald Dahl's classic William and Mary. This then taints your reading of the other stories, because you are left wondering if the idea can be sourced elsewhere. (Granton Star Cause is a filthy minded, but very funny, Metamorphosis, for example).
There is some very good Welsh in here, but the most symptomatic of his subsequent work is the longest piece - a novella - that ultimately, like Welsh himself, does not last the pace.
If you've not read him before, try Trainspotting. If you have and have liked him while there is something to enjoy prepare to be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
I have very mixed reactions to the writing of Irvine Welsh. On the one hand, his use of Scottish dialect is astonishing and delightful, and his humor is unsurpassed. He is also remarkable for bringing to literary light a section of modern society (Scottish disaffected youth) that has been largely neglected. On the other hand, while he obviously realizes that his characters are pathetic in the extreme, he work doesn't seem to be informed by any essentially superior point of view. He tags these folks as pathetic losers, but doesn't seem to have any clue as to what they should be doing instead. And perhaps that is the point. The best illustration of the vacuous nature of these people's lives comes from the narrator of the longest (and best) piece in the book ("A Smart C*nt"). He is obviously a person for whom the phrase "Get a Life" was coined, and he does: he is addicted to reading biographies. He does get a life, in fact, many lives via his reading. He just doesn't have one of his own.
A fun collection. Obviously, in a work like this some pieces are better than others. But it is definitely worth taking a shot at. I have been inspired to go on to read TRAINSPOTTING (which I now am, and which I am loving also).
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