Short story collection by Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting, Marabout Stork Nightmares), published in 1994. Contains many of the themes and characters typical of Welsh's writing: poverty, drug use, depravity and disillusioned twentysomething Scots. A good mix of the bitter, the sickly hilarious and the surreal. Some of the stories casually include fantasy elements in a way that would be reminiscent of magic realism if it wasn't all so sordid.

Three of the stories from this book ("The Granton Star Cause", "The Acid House" and "A Soft Touch") were grouped into a three-part movie also titled The Acid House. I understand the movie caused a bit of a stir because of its portrayal of God (one of my favourite parts of the book, really).

Collection of short stories by Irvine Welsh, first published in 1994.



Most of the stories are written in Welsh's own phonetic style, so that it becomes immediately apparant that this is meant to be 'read with an accent'. Welsh again writes of the same people and environment that appears in many of his other works (see also Trainspotting and Filth). He speaks of 'boatils', 'blethering', 'swedging' and 'getting oot of ma heid' - you cannot help but get drawn into his universe. Welsh writes with humour, bitterness, tragedy and outright violence - they are simultaneously disturbing, outrageous, depressing and hilarious. Therein lies the appeal.

Not all of the collection are like this, however. While most are of violence, drugs and squalor, Welsh also proves his ability to empathise with other mindsets. See Lisa's Mum Meets The Queen Mum or The Last Resort On The Adriatic, and compare them to his stories concerning Spud, Begbie and the rest. The former relates a story of a man, retired and lonely, who takes a trip on a cruise liner. He meets a woman there who is in a similar situation to his, and they begin to see each other. Welsh describes the feelings of loneliness and futility that he feels, and how he can love no other woman but his deceased wife. It is so different to Trainspotting as to seem written by a different author.

Special mention should be made of Sexual Disaster Quartet, four short stories (quotes, really). My favourite lines in the book :

You said, when we embarked on this great adventure together, that lots of laughter was essential in a relationship.
I agreed.
You also made the point that a great deal of sex was of equal importance.
Again, I agreed. Wholeheartedly.
In fact I remember your exact words : laughter and sex are the barometers of a relationship. This was the statement you made, if I remember correctly.
Don't get me wrong. I couldn't agree more.
But no at the same time, ya fuckin cow.

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