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The Acid House Paperback – May 28 1996
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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.
— 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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Most recent customer reviews
This book literally reads itself and for those people with a short attention span this book is perfect, being a compilation of unbelievably detailed short stories always ending... Read morePublished on April 25 2002
Like all of Welsh's books, Acid House is a far from pleasant read. That said, like a car accident, this book is difficult to look away from. Read morePublished on Nov. 18 2001 by Plato Fish
Irvine Welsh is amazing! This collection focuses mainly on the experiences of people familiar with the world of drugs, but you'll relate to them to a frightening extent. Read morePublished on Aug. 10 2001 by Terra Bell
Wow,what can I say about the talents of Welsh as a writer...Start reading and you 'll find yourself immersed in a bizarre world of surreal fantasy, scathing wit and black humour... Read morePublished on June 23 2001 by susi vudan
A young man loses his job, home, and girlfriend, meets God in the pub and turns into a household fly. Read morePublished on May 16 2001 by Nathan
Irvine Welsh had quite some success with Train Spotting. However he has gone to the well once too often with this collection of stories. Read morePublished on April 25 2001
Welsh is truly stunning in this work. Only by reading it can one truly appreciate it. There is reference to several other works, but Welsh twists the stories around to prove his... Read morePublished on July 27 2000
Although I am a big fan of Irvene Welsh, I must say this was my least enjoyed read (and indeed a couple of years later a very boring film). Read morePublished on June 23 2000 by A Customer
I loved The Acid House. I've read each of the stories multiple times. Welsh takes you on an amazing journey with each of these stories, as the impossible becomes possible. Read morePublished on June 19 2000 by Rach