"Welsh dropped me into an utterly foreign, perfectly seamless universe, one compounded of 'housing schemes,' culturally endemic alcoholism, lethally fanatical football supporters, and heroin addiction....This was provincial fiction with its balls out, managing to be globally relevant by insisting on being its own most impenetrably regional self. Where they once had been colonized by the English, these people were now colonized by American videos, international mall-culture, and smack. Not a pretty picture and easily one of the two or three best books I read last year."
"The best book ever written by man or woman...deserves to sell more copies than the Bible."
"Irvine Welsh may become one of the most significant writers in Britain. He writes with style, imagination, wit, and force, and in a voice which those alienated by much current fiction clearly want to hear."
"Welsh, a bright light of a new generation of Scottish beat writers...has plenty to say about the utter lack of options open to working-class twenty-somethings in the barren economic climate of post-Thatcher Scotland....As bleak as it can be, 'Trainspotting' is often uproariously funny, with a violent humor and runaway energy that grows out of brutal realism
"...[T]he novel is a coming-of-age story set in a milieu so miserable that it is easy to understand the character's desire for oblivion. But to say that 'Trainspotting' glorifies heroin is like saying that the 'Inferno' glorifies hell....'Trainspotting' asks the question, This feels good, but is it worth it? It dares to answer that question without phony moralizing or easy glamour. Welsh is able to pull this off because he is at home with irony and comfortable with contradiction. His precisely disheveled style mixes sarcasm and feeling, honesty and escape, and it captures with impressive grace the desperation and ecstasy of addiction."
"It's worth making the effort for 'Trainspotting' not merely because relatively few writers have rummaged through this particular enclave of British youth culture, but because even fewer have dug there so deeply."
"Violently antithetical entities are continually brought into dangerous proximity with each other: food and excrement, babies and junkies, blades and flesh. The impulse has as much to do with reinvigoration as destruction, and although this part of the cycle seldom makes its way into the narrative itself, its implicit presence accounts for the extraordinary surging energy given off by practically every page."
From the Publisher
An authentic, unrelenting, and strangely exhilarating episodic portrait of young addicts in Edinburgh. Rents, Sick Boy, Mother Superior, Swanney, Spuds, and Seeker are as unforgettable a clutch of junkies, rude boys, and psychos as are ever likely to be found in fiction.
The sweat wis lashing oafay Sick Boy; he wis trembling. Ah wis jist sitting thair, focusing oan the telly, tryin no tae notice the cunt. He wis bringing me doon. Ah tried tae keep ma attention oan the Jean-Claude Van Damme video.
It's blisteringly funny. It's worth making the effort with Trainspotting not merely because relatively few writers have rummaged through this particular enclave of British youth culture, but because even fewer have dug there so deeply.|The New York Times Book Review||The best book ever written... deserves to sell more copies than the Bible.|Rebel, Inc.||A group of young and desperately realistic people know that nothing or almost nothing is going to change. They live in the other Edinburgh, the European capital of AIDS and a paradise of unemployment, misery and prostitution. They are on board a whirlwind ride whose fuel is drugs, "the elixir that gives them life, and takes it away". Welsh writes with the sharp, colourful and vigorous language of the street. This is an ill-fated epic about those who have no way out except for escape, those who soften the blow of being alive with the first thing that falls into their hands.