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The characters in this extraordinary book are often - on the surface - depraved, vicious, cowardly and manipulative, but their essential humanity is never undermined. Two professors of philosophy turn pugilists; Leith removal men become the objects of desire for Hollywood goddesses; God turns Boab Coyle into a house-fly; and in the novella, 'A Smart Cunt', the drug-addled young hero spins off on a collision course with his past. The Acid House is a bizarre, disturbing and hilarious collection from one of the most uncompromising and original writers around.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099435013
ISBN-10: 0099435012
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 20mm)
Pages: 304
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 20-Apr-1995
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » A collection of 21 stories and one novella - Welsh's second book, but his first published stateside - that will inevitably be compared to last year's Booker winner, James Kelman. The Scottish dialect, the urban lowlife characters, and the vulgar slang all make a similar claim to authenticity. Welsh's punters prowl the streets of Edinburgh, not Kelman's Glasgow, a distinction likely to be lost on most American readers. In any case, not all of his mean and grungy stories rely on a thick Scottish brogue, though a number of casual pieces are one-joke gimmicks. In the sci-fi-ish "Vat '96," a head is kept alive in a jar while "his" wife entertains men in his presence; for "Where the Debris Meets the Sea," four Hollywood glamour girls sit poolside and comment on the bodies of working-class men. Such simple reversal is at the center of the title story, in which a newborn and a teenaged acid head exchange bodies in a freak lightning storm. Welsh's best stories, including the novella, "A Smart Cunt," are mostly days-in-the-lives of aimless, drug-addled fellows who live for sex, football, and violence (often in combination). In "Eurotrash," the narrator goes to Amsterdam to kick his habit, and has an affair with a "repulsive and ugly" woman who turns out to be a transsexual. "Granny's Old Junk" packs a clever punch when it's revealed that the little old lady who's about to be ripped off by her junky grandson is a longtime user herself. Such brutal ironies come easily to Welsh, as does a nihilism that seems designed for effect. In "The Last Resort on the Adriatic," a ten-year grieving widower joins his wife in a shipside suicide; and the video-obsessed drudge in "Snuff," having seen every film in his guide, records his own suicide on videotape. Welsh often settles for shock value, sleazy sex, and heroin chic, but he's actually a better writer than many who've been here before, especially Burroughs and his epigones. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Irvine Welsh

Irvine Welsh is the author of ten previous novels and four books of shorter fiction. He currently lives in Chicago.

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