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Dead Men's Trousers

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A spectacular return of the wild, dissolute gang from Trainspotting, from the author the New York Times called “Blisteringly funny…. ” The gang from Trainspotting have mostly cleaned up their act…until they are drawn back together to Scotland for one last scheme—a scheme one of them won’t survive. It’s an action-packed, hilarious and rollicking trip, as well as a moving A spectacular return of the wild, dissolute gang from Trainspotting, from the author the New York Times called “Blisteringly funny…. ” The gang from Trainspotting have mostly cleaned up their act…until they are drawn back together to Scotland for one last scheme—a scheme one of them won’t survive. It’s an action-packed, hilarious and rollicking trip, as well as a moving elegy to the crew. “Welsh makes these amoral misadventures so propulsive, so joyfully awful, that you have to go with the flow…this roues’ romp is about as much fun as you can have between two book covers.”— The Times Mark Renton is finally a success. An international jet-setter, he now makes significant money managing DJs, but the constant travel, airport lounges, soulless hotel rooms and broken relationships have left him dissatisfied with his life. He’s then rocked by a chance encounter with Frank Begbie, from whom he’d been hiding for years after a terrible betrayal and the resulting debt. But the psychotic Begbie appears to have reinvented himself as a celebrated artist and - much to Mark’s astonishment - doesn’t seem interested in revenge. Sick Boy and Spud, who have agendas of their own, are intrigued to learn that their old friends are back in town, but when they enter the bleak world of organ-harvesting, things start to go so badly wrong. Lurching from crisis to crisis, the four men circle each other, driven by their personal histories and addictions, confused, angry - so desperate that even Hibs winning the Scottish Cup doesn’t really help. One of these four will not survive to the end of this book. Which one of them is wearing Dead Men’s Trousers? Fast and furious, scabrously funny and weirdly moving, this is a spectacular return of the crew from Trainspotting.


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A spectacular return of the wild, dissolute gang from Trainspotting, from the author the New York Times called “Blisteringly funny…. ” The gang from Trainspotting have mostly cleaned up their act…until they are drawn back together to Scotland for one last scheme—a scheme one of them won’t survive. It’s an action-packed, hilarious and rollicking trip, as well as a moving A spectacular return of the wild, dissolute gang from Trainspotting, from the author the New York Times called “Blisteringly funny…. ” The gang from Trainspotting have mostly cleaned up their act…until they are drawn back together to Scotland for one last scheme—a scheme one of them won’t survive. It’s an action-packed, hilarious and rollicking trip, as well as a moving elegy to the crew. “Welsh makes these amoral misadventures so propulsive, so joyfully awful, that you have to go with the flow…this roues’ romp is about as much fun as you can have between two book covers.”— The Times Mark Renton is finally a success. An international jet-setter, he now makes significant money managing DJs, but the constant travel, airport lounges, soulless hotel rooms and broken relationships have left him dissatisfied with his life. He’s then rocked by a chance encounter with Frank Begbie, from whom he’d been hiding for years after a terrible betrayal and the resulting debt. But the psychotic Begbie appears to have reinvented himself as a celebrated artist and - much to Mark’s astonishment - doesn’t seem interested in revenge. Sick Boy and Spud, who have agendas of their own, are intrigued to learn that their old friends are back in town, but when they enter the bleak world of organ-harvesting, things start to go so badly wrong. Lurching from crisis to crisis, the four men circle each other, driven by their personal histories and addictions, confused, angry - so desperate that even Hibs winning the Scottish Cup doesn’t really help. One of these four will not survive to the end of this book. Which one of them is wearing Dead Men’s Trousers? Fast and furious, scabrously funny and weirdly moving, this is a spectacular return of the crew from Trainspotting.

30 review for Dead Men's Trousers

  1. 4 out of 5

    F

    LOVED this book! Great to be reunited with my favourite boys again. Did not disappoint. Good laughs and feels!!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nigeyb

    Inventive, outrageous, funny, and life reaffirming Since reading 'Trainspotting’, when it came out in 1993, I have read all of Irvine Welsh's books and, to one degree or another, enjoyed them all, so - full disclosure - I came to 'Dead Men's Trousers' as a massive and long time fan of Irvine Welsh's work. A new book by Irvine Welsh is always cause for celebration. When it's the next instalment of the Trainspotting saga even more so. This is the fifth instalment and fellow long time readers will Inventive, outrageous, funny, and life reaffirming Since reading 'Trainspotting’, when it came out in 1993, I have read all of Irvine Welsh's books and, to one degree or another, enjoyed them all, so - full disclosure - I came to 'Dead Men's Trousers' as a massive and long time fan of Irvine Welsh's work. A new book by Irvine Welsh is always cause for celebration. When it's the next instalment of the Trainspotting saga even more so. This is the fifth instalment and fellow long time readers will doubtless share my strong emotional attachment to Renton, Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie. 'Dead Men's Trousers' is for the faithful and would make little sense to anyone not steeped in the story and the characters. New readers need to rewind back to the beginning. For the Welsh faithful, this is right up there with the rest of the Trainspotting series and is variously inventive, outrageous, hilarious, touching, and is, in short, a life reaffirming read. From the off this delivers. The prologue features Renton's worst nightmare, a chance meeting with Begbie on a plane, and so we're up and running.... Renton and his DJ management company - a hellish existence; a recap of Begbie’s life (from 'The Blade Artist') & specifically the obsessed cop who loves Begbie's wife & is convinced she's married a psycho; Sick Boy, spiking his very straight brother in law with MDMA; and poor old Spud on his uppers. Then it's 400 more glorious pages of incident-laden plot with the usual highs, lows, and frequent hilarity. All life his here. Absolutely wonderful. So what's in store? Drugs, sex, violence, profanity, scams, murder, organ harvesting, prostitution, football, jeopardy, friends making up, friends falling out, family loyalties, revenge, Brexit, music, clubbing, death, tragedy, STDs, blackmail, abuse, euphoria, and even that doesn't cover it all. It's genius. 5/5

  3. 4 out of 5

    JK

    At the end of The Blade Artist, I was crapping it to find out what was happening next. After ending on a totally holy shit moment, Welsh picks up Dead Men’s Trousers from that precise point - thank fuck. I love these boys, and reading this book was murder. Desperate to just zoom through, to inhale the violence, the shagging, the plots, the revenge, I forced myself to go as slowly as possible and savour every moment. It was torture. Where The Blade Artist focuses on Begbie, showing us how he At the end of The Blade Artist, I was crapping it to find out what was happening next. After ending on a totally holy shit moment, Welsh picks up Dead Men’s Trousers from that precise point - thank fuck. I love these boys, and reading this book was murder. Desperate to just zoom through, to inhale the violence, the shagging, the plots, the revenge, I forced myself to go as slowly as possible and savour every moment. It was torture. Where The Blade Artist focuses on Begbie, showing us how he believes he’s changed, then highlighting how he hasn’t changed at all, DMT finally gets all of the boys back together again - successful, off the skag, but still inherently the same boys they were when we first met them in Trainspotting. The old grudges are still there, their knee-jerk reactions are the same; Begbie’s still a psycho, Renton’s still battling demons, Sick Boy’s still a selfish conceited shagger, and Spud - Spud is still that golden-hearted wee boy in a fifty year old’s body. Seeing them all behave exactly as we would expect them to was gorgeous; seeing them do things we would never have cooked up in a million years was total fucking chaos. Organ harvesting, STDs, new hallucinogenic drugs, homewrecking, and, most inconceivably, our favourite catboy has got himself a dug. The pace was incredible. We knew from social media (and, indeed, from the above blurb), that one of the boys wasn’t going to survive the novel. Although it doesn’t happen until the book is almost over, the finger points to one of them pretty quickly. You think you’ve cracked it until the boys start to turn on one another, and you really have no idea who is heading to the Embra in the sky. The tension was unreal, and when it finally happened I cried like a big embarrassment for about forty minutes. When I then realised where the title came from, it set me off again for another half an hour. I can’t see myself ever saying otherwise, but Welsh has played yet another blinder. Another speeding headfuck from my favourite band of former skagheeds. “Ye dinnae fuck about wi me n what’s mine, mate.”

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cbj

    Irvine Welsh roars back to form. Sort of. Dead Men's Trousers is a very entertaining read after tepid and uninspired offerings like The Blade Artist and The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins. It is the fourth book with the Mark Renton character as the leading man and Sick Boy, Spud Murphy and Francis Begbie in important supporting turns. The book is told from the point of view of Renton and Sick Boy and to a lesser extent Spud and Begbie. Renton is in his forties and finally a success, managing DJ's. Irvine Welsh roars back to form. Sort of. Dead Men's Trousers is a very entertaining read after tepid and uninspired offerings like The Blade Artist and The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins. It is the fourth book with the Mark Renton character as the leading man and Sick Boy, Spud Murphy and Francis Begbie in important supporting turns. The book is told from the point of view of Renton and Sick Boy and to a lesser extent Spud and Begbie. Renton is in his forties and finally a success, managing DJ's. Sick Boy runs an escort agency and has no problems attracting women. Spud is lonely and grieving and has only his dog Toto to keep him company while he begs on the road, before being recruited into an organ smuggling scheme by Mickey Forrester. Begbie is now a famous artist (the book takes off from where Blade Artist left us and not the film T2 which has Begbie in jail and still very short tempered.). When Renton tries hard to return the money which he owes to Sick Boy and Begbie, their paths cross and they all get thrown together in the backdrop of the art world and the organ smuggling scene. The book also marries the Trainspotting universe with the Glue universe. Juice Terry made cameo appearances in many earlier novels. But Carl has a reasonably important part in this book. Reading Renton and Sick Boy's candid commentary on Scottish and American society and life in general, told in that scabrous Scottish dialect laden with expletives, is both thrilling and uplifting. This is one of the great strengths of the novels in this series with picaresque characters from the Scottish working class community from Leith pitted against the boring and square outside world. The unique voices and their hilarious politically incorrect reflections on an increasingly politically correct and corporatised world around them are what makes me go back to these novels and their sequels. Listening to them talk make me wish that I had friends like them, because their voices are so damn intimate. Welsh is a truly gifted writer with an outrageous sense of humor and seasoned intuitions about the ways of the world. It is amazing how he shifts easily between the voices of four characters who are vastly different from each other. Renton is a smart man who nonetheless feels slightly disillusioned with his job, he is basically a talented person who let life pass him by but is clever enough to not end up as a bitter loser. Sick Boy is someone who does not let the changing times affect him. He is a man of the street who would be making money and getting laid even if somebody airdropped him into Saudi Arabia. Begbie is one of the toughest characters in modern literature. He is a "hard cunt". Spud is a sensitive lovable loser. Incorporating all these voices into a single novel must be tough. Welsh pulls this off effortlessly. Here is Sick Boy reacting to his son coming out of the closet as a gay man: "I don't care who you shag as long as you shag with a vengeance." "Right, you raving arse bandit, up to that bar and make mine a double Macallan's." :):):) I think Welsh had great fun writing the novel from Sick Boy's point of view. Those are the most entertaining parts of the novel, parts when I laughed out loud. Welsh is in the form of his life, writing in Sick Boy's voice. The parts with Begbie are also a huge improvement from the disappointing The Blade Artist. I respect Welsh for pulling off Begbie's transformation from a psychotic force of nature to a well known artist, loyal teetotaler husband and responsible father of two kids. He is still a psycho to people who try to mess with his family. I guess Welsh was trying to make the point that truly great artists are not what they seem to be on the surface. Spud's character goes through a lot of shit in this novel. But the ending of this book suggests that the next book about these characters could be told from Spud's point of view, through his autobiography. I hope I am right. Frankly, I am such a big fan of these characters that I would read anything put out by Welsh. Strongly recommended to all fans of Trainspotting.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mark Atkinson

    I loved this book. Let’s face it I love everything from the Welsh cannon. Irving Welsh has an uncanny knack of understanding human nature at its most basest level. Let’s be honest here, we all have a bit of - Begbie, Renton, Sick boy and Spud buried deep inside us. Most guys would love the powers Sick boy and Juice Terry have over the opposite sex at the same time as been appalled at the treatment these women get at the hands of these philanderers. We would like some of the ass kicking hardness of I loved this book. Let’s face it I love everything from the Welsh cannon. Irving Welsh has an uncanny knack of understanding human nature at its most basest level. Let’s be honest here, we all have a bit of - Begbie, Renton, Sick boy and Spud buried deep inside us. Most guys would love the powers Sick boy and Juice Terry have over the opposite sex at the same time as been appalled at the treatment these women get at the hands of these philanderers. We would like some of the ass kicking hardness of Begbie but could never be so cruel. Dead men’s trousers will have you gasping in shock at the violence, laughing with guilty pleasure at the antics of Sick boy and Renton and feeling deep pity for the plight of poor spud. By the end of this book - or any Irving Welsh book you’ll be talking in a Scottish accent, trying out the techniques of Sick boy on the ladies( with caution) and craving the next instalment of guilty reading pleasure from this incredibly original and gifted writer..enjoy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Reading Badger

    It is no surprise to you that I am a devoted Irvine Welsh fan. For me, every book he releases is like a new series from my favourite show. The first book I read was Trainspotting, and I fell in love with the characters, the atmosphere, everything. So when I heard that a new book with Renton, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie was up for grabs, it was on my pre-order list right away. The story left off at the end of Porno, whith Begbie trying to kill Renton, and Renton scamming Sick Boy out of a lot of It is no surprise to you that I am a devoted Irvine Welsh fan. For me, every book he releases is like a new series from my favourite show. The first book I read was Trainspotting, and I fell in love with the characters, the atmosphere, everything. So when I heard that a new book with Renton, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie was up for grabs, it was on my pre-order list right away. The story left off at the end of Porno, whith Begbie trying to kill Renton, and Renton scamming Sick Boy out of a lot of money. Dead man’s trousers begins in 2015, with Renton, now a successful DJ Manager, when he encounters Begbie (now a big time artist in LA, with a beautiful wife and two kids) on a transatlantic flight. Rather than the death threats he expected, Renton finds Begbie with a zen-like attitude. Read our review: https://readingbadger.club/2018/09/07...

  7. 5 out of 5

    effie

    Well, Irvine Welsh's still got it! I'm in the greatest position to say that this book is worthy of its predecessors and, what's more, it's exhilarating, action-packed and, all in all, an ultimate joy. I enjoyed most parts of it. It's almost like Welsh created these characters so solidly that he's lived with them ever since. As a result, when the time comes to write down their thoughts and situations, they say no word less or more or any different than you would expect them to. I was very Well, Irvine Welsh's still got it! I'm in the greatest position to say that this book is worthy of its predecessors and, what's more, it's exhilarating, action-packed and, all in all, an ultimate joy. I enjoyed most parts of it. It's almost like Welsh created these characters so solidly that he's lived with them ever since. As a result, when the time comes to write down their thoughts and situations, they say no word less or more or any different than you would expect them to. I was very emotional reading through the epilogue (and some other parts as well, but this will be a non-spoiler review). A decent sequel to keep you on your toes, a hundred per cent recommended to everyone who's loved Trainspotting, Porno, Skagboys and Blade Artist.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    You're nothing but a work-in-progress until that day you fall out of this world into the land ay dead men's trousers. Because I read most of the books in this series before I joined Goodreads, I want to start with: I thought that Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting was an absolutely brilliant book – full of heart and laughs and subversive social commentary, amped up with a transgressive frisson and artfully dense dialect – and that Skagboys was a powerfully heartbreaking prequel. On the other hand, I You're nothing but a work-in-progress until that day you fall out of this world into the land ay dead men's trousers. Because I read most of the books in this series before I joined Goodreads, I want to start with: I thought that Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting was an absolutely brilliant book – full of heart and laughs and subversive social commentary, amped up with a transgressive frisson and artfully dense dialect – and that Skagboys was a powerfully heartbreaking prequel. On the other hand, I found the sequel Porno to be campy and shallow, and the recent continuing saga of The Blade Artist to have been a disappointing betrayal of Welsh's world: what reader wants Begbie to be a buttoned-down straight citizen? Now with Dead Men's Trousers, we reconnect with the rest of the gang as they approach fifty years old, and as they jet around the world commenting on the evils of neoliberalism, Welsh seems to have become disconnected from everything that was subtle and engaging and true about his own characters; sure, people should grow up (and I'm glad none of the lads are skagboy jakeys anymore), and it's good to revisit these storylines and see how details from a few books ago have played out, but this book adds nothing to the furtherance of truth; there's no art here. I'm giddy with shock. My sweaty palm reaches into my pocket tae the comforting bottle of Ambien. This is not my auld mate and deadly nemesis, Francis James Begbie. The horrible possibility dawns on me: perhaps I've been living ma life in fear ay a man who no longer exists. As the book begins, Renton (now a world-travelling manager of House Music DJs) runs into Begbie on a transatlantic flight, and as Begbie calmly introduces his old frenemy (after all, Renton ripped the old psychopath off and left him for dead) to his stunning American wife, Renton isn't sure if he can trust in his old friend's newfound serenity. But as they both now have homes in California, they begin to socialise and Renton attempts to pay Begbie back for old debts. In shifting POVs, we also catch up with Sick Boy (now the owner of a high-class escort agency) and Spud (still a loveable loser, but getting by the best he can), and as the four eventually all cross paths again for the first time in decades, Renton finds himself forced to pay off even more debts (which leads him to plead poverty despite a first class lifestyle and homes on two continents). Characters get drawn into some campy (but enjoyable) crime capers, there is plenty of sex, experimentation with new drugs, and giving the boots to the wideos that deserve it, but the whole enterprise lacks heart. Most disappointingly, the political commentary that was indirect but so effective in Trainspotting is now constant and in-your-face, with both Renton and Sick Boy having these incongruous thoughts: • Fear is an emotion best not expressed. Once acknowledged, it spreads like a virus. It's ruined our politics: the controllers have been dripping it into us for decades, making us compliant, turning us against each other, while they rape the world. • I fight through the blocked-off roads into Soho. The IRA or ISIS never created anything like as much chaos and demoralisation in London as the neo-liberal planet-rapists with their corporate vanity construction projects. • Global commercialism has compelled the Scots tae pretend tae like Christmas, but we're genetically programmed tae rebel against it. • They were nice lads and the fact that they're in soldier uniform is constant proof that a nation state isnae a kind of construct if you urnae rich. But everyone other than Spud is comparatively rich – most especially the Miami-based Welsh himself – and they all spend their time in pursuit of the “more” that will finally fill their empty spaces. Other than for the tying up of some old loose ends, Dead Men's Trousers is a fairly pointless read. Even so, every now and then, Welsh throws in an old school passage that made me smile: The stewardess, not the lovely Jenny I was chatting tae, but a low-rent, pleb-serving, varicose-veined battleaxe, bike-rode into decrepitude over decades by the few hetero pilots, without even a hint of a sparkler thrown into the mix, is right over, her crabbit pus rammed into my coupon. I may have been disappointed, again, but if Welsh writes another in the series, I'll probably pick it up, again.

  9. 4 out of 5

    David

    Following virtually straight on from The Blade Artist's conclusion, once again the experienced Welsh reader finds him or herself back in the company of Renton, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie, the latter now successful artist, Jim Francis. Over the course of events friendships are re made and broken again and plot shards from several previous novels are brought together and resolved. Oh and Hibs win the Scottish Cup beating Rangers in the final. There are several unlikely events - would Sick Boy ever Following virtually straight on from The Blade Artist's conclusion, once again the experienced Welsh reader finds him or herself back in the company of Renton, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie, the latter now successful artist, Jim Francis. Over the course of events friendships are re made and broken again and plot shards from several previous novels are brought together and resolved. Oh and Hibs win the Scottish Cup beating Rangers in the final. There are several unlikely events - would Sick Boy ever trust Renton again after the conclusions of Trainspotting and Porno? - and why exactly does Spud turn on the tap? - but overall there is a coherent plot arc where the characters act as believable and sometimes likeable people, but often not. Renton appears to be successfully managing DJs and runs into his nemesis, Begbie, on an aeroplane (no escape). Sick Boy is almost inevitably working in the sex industry running an escort agency. Spud Murphy has resorted to begging and living in inevitable squalor. They are relatively free of heroine addiction, but work their way throught a pharmacist's of drugs throughout the book. Begbie: see above. Welsh presents several sub-plots within which he can introduce and withdraw his characters. The two book vendetta with the American policeman is a good example of this. The blurb flags up that a major character is going to die and it's clear who the likely candidate is, but Welsh skilfully sows doubt right up to the tragedy occurring. Previously peacable characters explode with sudden violence as decades long resentments boil over, particularly where characters have literally been too clever for their own good. There is a major plot arc starting from a drink spiked with MDMA powder, the consequences of which flow throughout the book and are truly but believably sordid. This brings in repressed sex addiction, gangster exploitation and the illegal organ trade. A dog reaching and chewing a human kidney is not convincing; has this dog got primate hands that can undo clasps? The plot skids on the bank of complete absurdity, but never quite falls in the pond. Despite his apparently reformed character, Begbie's psychopathy is not quite as extinguished as he would like us to believe. He is acting as a white knight in some respects, but he forgets that meting out violent summary justice is not actually his prerogative. Having decapitated the Edinburgh underworld in The Blade Runner, he has forgotten that others will step forward to fill that crime vacuum. Here he is joined by Terry 'Juice' Lawson, taxi driving sex addict and not adverse to some violence himself if necessary, tying up some loose ends from A Decent Ride, so not all responsibility can be laid at Begbie's door. Back in California Begbie largely transforms back into artist and family man, to all intents and purposes. Sick Boy, or Simon David Williamson, is again really the most vile of all the characters, based on his usury of other characters and his concentrated misogyny and utterly ego-centric behaviour; any encounter is basically a competition for supremacy where there's only going to be one winner. In contrast Spud, the best hearted of all the characters, has sunk to what he himself would consider a nadir, but the organ-harvesting sub-plot takes him a couple of stages even further down. With at least two of the main characters comfortably sorted and sharing a rather saccharine 'happy ever after' ending, is this the end for the Trainspotting cast? There are plenty of hints of another book on the way and a sub-plot left hanging, so I don't think we have seen the last of these characters, but what will the mash up be?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stuart Beaney

    5 stars simply for enjoyment. This novel is written with unashamed gusto and it is clear Welsh loves writing about these characters. He has become somewhat pulpy in his style of late, and his books have taken on an almost cartoon ambience. However, whilst some of his recent work has been mildly disappointing, I’m hugely relieved to say this does not disappoint in the slightest. Sure. The prose is patchy. Yes. You have to suspend belief a few times and Welsh demands plenty of artistic licence, 5 stars simply for enjoyment. This novel is written with unashamed gusto and it is clear Welsh loves writing about these characters. He has become somewhat pulpy in his style of late, and his books have taken on an almost cartoon ambience. However, whilst some of his recent work has been mildly disappointing, I’m hugely relieved to say this does not disappoint in the slightest. Sure. The prose is patchy. Yes. You have to suspend belief a few times and Welsh demands plenty of artistic licence, but when these characters are as embedded into your soul as much as mine you can’t fail to enjoy this novel as he takes the enjoyment level up to notch 11. It is a riot of a journey, and almost impossible to put down. Amongst the hilarity and brutality of the cast’s adventures/misadventures there are plenty of astute social and political observations. It has many, state of the nation attributes. Welsh has never shied away from his hatred of the Tory party and the establishment. I particularly like Renton’s musings on his Dads right wing rhetoric at a family gathering .. an old Union man, and indicative of a bigger existential distress. That leakage of hope, of a vision for the world, and its replacement by a hollow rage is a sure sign you’re slowly dying. But at least he lived, it would have been the worst thing in the world to have had those politics at an early age. To have been born with an essential part of you already dead. However. What is truly great about this book is catching up with our old friends and seeing where life has taken them. It is a reflection of friendships, hedonism in our age, and growing up (or not) I loved the section where the 4 of them try a hallucinogenic, and experience an incredible existential awakening. This is a truly enjoyable, no holds barred roller coaster of a ride, an enthralling fun read. I for one hope to God there is another book in this series, and that Welsh’s suggestion that this is the last one is not the case.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ahm

    I don't really think this is a five-star literary novel, but I did get five stars-worth of enjoyment out of it. It's weird how attached one can get to characters that are just awful people, haha. I am eternally grateful to audiobook performer Tam Dean Burn for demonstrating the sound of the dialect, so I can now reproduce it in my head when I'm reading Welsh's abstruse phonetic written interpretation of the various local vernaculars.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Isaac L

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I give up. Another entry in the Trainspotting saga had my hopes high that Welsh might have returned to form after the slew of forgettable books he's churned out in the past decade or so. I was disappointed. If it wasn't for Skagboys, I might well be considering the idea that Trainspotting was indeed ghostwritten by Spud Murphy. Hell, maybe this is Welsh trying to tell us something? Unfortunately, this also has me questioning whether the other books are as good as I remember them being - a I give up. Another entry in the Trainspotting saga had my hopes high that Welsh might have returned to form after the slew of forgettable books he's churned out in the past decade or so. I was disappointed. If it wasn't for Skagboys, I might well be considering the idea that Trainspotting was indeed ghostwritten by Spud Murphy. Hell, maybe this is Welsh trying to tell us something? Unfortunately, this also has me questioning whether the other books are as good as I remember them being - a question which I'm sure will answer itself in due course. Gone are most of the things which made Welsh great in the first place - the original cultural references, the Scots dialect, the counter-culture/drugs scene, basically anything distinctively to do with contemporary Scottish life. Dead Men's Trousers, like The Blade Artist, feels extremely Americanised (or at least obviously written by an author who no longer spends his time with the people and places he writes about - someone who is out of touch, to say the least). I think this might be one of the bigger reasons why his more recent work fails to hit the mark. Stock semi-political jargon like 'neoliberalism' is thrown around throughout the book, without any attempt to portray or actually tackle the political reality these words are aiming to attack (a classic case of telling, not showing). Something, which ought to be noted, that Trainspotting did very well indirectly and that Skagboys pulled off quite nicely in a more direct fashion. A sort of template for language - a stock hackneyed-phrase generator, if you will - seems to occur often so that, while Welsh's phrasing is not cliche, it still feels like you've read it all before; it's not original, or clever (and, boy, does it think it's clever). Most of the characters are flush with cash and have no discernible need - not real need anyway - seeming to kind of bounce off the walls wherever they go, with no significant danger or repercussions for their actions. More than this, a lot of characters' actions don't fit - not just with who the characters were in previous novels, but who they are within the internal context of this one; they are utterly changeable to the whims of the plot (e.g. Begbie to-ing and fro-ing from good guy to psycho and back whenever it suits the storyline). To top it off, the constant flying back and forth between countries every chapter gives the novel a strong feeling of vacancy and disconnection (and not the effective, intentional Bret Easton Ellis kind). Dead Men's Trousers feels like a mad dash through a pre-determined series of events rather than the exploration of character, circumstance and setting which astute readers and fans of the original might be seeking. And the events themselves alternate between the mundane and ham-fisted attempts at shock and revulsion, all of which are narratively confused. The jet-setting, the money and the lack of a fixed locale only serve to show that Welsh is wealthy and living a different life now (and, unfortunately, do nothing for the writing). He no longer understands the everyday Scot. And, make no mistake: this. is. what. made. him. good. The brilliance of Trainspotting was that it accurately captured some of the lives and a lot of the emotional and social baggage of several generations of Scottish society. This does not. With Dead Men's Trousers, Welsh shows no interest in good - or remotely literary - fiction, writing in a fashion more akin to the ten-a-penny airport genre paperback than someone who came within a bawhair of winning the Booker prize. It feels rushed, it feels superficial, and the writing itself feels bare-bones and first-draft. This is not to say there are errors (I only saw about two overall), it's more that there's a distinct lack of craft and effort, like an author who churns out a title every year to keep the ATM reading six figures and above. All of this is not to say that the book doesn't have its moments. The novel is a page-turner for several brief stints in the second half, there are moments of levity at times when Welsh hit the nail on the head again with the right turn of phrase or piece of undeniable Scottishness, and the use of illustrations is an innovative addition. But they are a rope of pearls in a slum. The good moments are fewer and farther between than what is needed to make this a worthwhile read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chris Kelly

    Dead Men's Trousers is the fourth installment in the Trainspotting "trilogy", and for the first 50 pages or so, it feels like DMT is just going to be a superfluous, money spinning bolt on to Welsh's most successful series of work. That feeling doesn't last long though and before too long, Welsh is back to his sparkling, acerbic best. Dead Men's Trousers sees Renton, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie confronting middle age with as much angst and vigour as they threw at their teenage years in Trainspotting. Dead Men's Trousers is the fourth installment in the Trainspotting "trilogy", and for the first 50 pages or so, it feels like DMT is just going to be a superfluous, money spinning bolt on to Welsh's most successful series of work. That feeling doesn't last long though and before too long, Welsh is back to his sparkling, acerbic best. Dead Men's Trousers sees Renton, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie confronting middle age with as much angst and vigour as they threw at their teenage years in Trainspotting. The plot line twists and turns and just as it seems that Welsh has lost control of the narrative, he brings it all back together in a deliciously cathartic conclusion. This is definitely a slow burner to begin with but once it bursts into life it is as vivid and vital as anything Welsh has written. A rip roaring tour-de-force for the boys from Leith - DMT is an absolute must read for fans of the Trainspotting series. 4.2/5

  14. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I am biased - I cannot not be. Still one of my favourite ever writers, Welsh finds a befitting end to the Trainspotting saga. And, I guess the overarching plot (and especially Begbie's character arc) supports the fact that people change. Towns, situations and times also change. I think it would have been utterly unrealistic to expect another Trainspotting - even though the 4 guys stay true to who they are as people, it would have been weird to find them in the same situations 20 years down the I am biased - I cannot not be. Still one of my favourite ever writers, Welsh finds a befitting end to the Trainspotting saga. And, I guess the overarching plot (and especially Begbie's character arc) supports the fact that people change. Towns, situations and times also change. I think it would have been utterly unrealistic to expect another Trainspotting - even though the 4 guys stay true to who they are as people, it would have been weird to find them in the same situations 20 years down the line. Covering Brexit, the day the Hibs won the Scottish Cup and the dreary Christmas before it, the narrative weaves in and out of Edinburgh - and, weirdly enough, I cannot but not feel connected to it. Maybe that's why I'm biased.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Angus McKeogh

    Great stuff! I love Welsh. It was love at first read when I went through Trainspotting in the 90s. It was so out there at first in how it was written but then the voice just locks into your heid...uh...I mean head and thereafter it’s smooth sailing and brilliant. After Trainspotting I’ve gone on to read pretty much everything Welsh has written. This series that keeps popping up is classic. Skagboys unfortunately seemed forced and contrived and ended up boring me to death. But this one is a bit Great stuff! I love Welsh. It was love at first read when I went through Trainspotting in the 90s. It was so out there at first in how it was written but then the voice just locks into your heid...uh...I mean head and thereafter it’s smooth sailing and brilliant. After Trainspotting I’ve gone on to read pretty much everything Welsh has written. This series that keeps popping up is classic. Skagboys unfortunately seemed forced and contrived and ended up boring me to death. But this one is a bit of a return to where I thought The Blade Artist took the story. Much better plotting. Better stuff. I thought this one was great.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mari

    The boys are back in the toon and they embark on likely capers with a dark undertow. It's like catching up with old pals that you are happy to hear about, their exploits still raise a smile, but that you are very glad not to see anymore. It's a very entertaining read especially Sick Boy's antics - a pint with him might be the best fun but as a female of the species and to quote the man himself, I wouldn't go near him with yours!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    "No friends in this game" :(

  18. 4 out of 5

    Adam McPhee

    Ah fuckin hate the way some American cunts call lassies cunts. Fuckin offensive, that shite. Better than Filth and Porno, just behind Glue and Skagboys. I loved it. Though I can see why the critics don't, especially if they're expecting Trainspotting 3. It's Welsh's turn to the cartoonish that makes his books so great, that and the essayistic digressions disguised as stream-of-consciousness ramblings. Anyone expecting harrowing junkie trauma probably shouldn't have read Trainspotting in the first Ah fuckin hate the way some American cunts call lassies cunts. Fuckin offensive, that shite. Better than Filth and Porno, just behind Glue and Skagboys. I loved it. Though I can see why the critics don't, especially if they're expecting Trainspotting 3. It's Welsh's turn to the cartoonish that makes his books so great, that and the essayistic digressions disguised as stream-of-consciousness ramblings. Anyone expecting harrowing junkie trauma probably shouldn't have read Trainspotting in the first place. The cartoonishness was best on display in the (view spoiler)[ in the organ harvesting subplot, where Sickboy and a his Podiatric surgeon brother-in-law perform a warehouse kidney removal using a youtube video on a dying laptop as a guide; this after an unattended kidney on a train was eaten by a dog, (hide spoiler)] and then literally during the (view spoiler)[ DMT sequences, where the novel suddenly cuts to comic book format to display the change in perspective of the drug users. (hide spoiler)] New definitive ranking of the novels of Irvine Welsh: 1. Skagboys 2. Glue 3. Trainspotting 4. Dead Men's Trousers 5. Filth 6. Porno 7. A Decent Ride 8. The Blade Artist 9. The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins 10. Marabou Stork Nightmares 11. Crime 12. The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs Highlights: (view spoiler)[Down to Dad’s gaff by the river. I stayed here for a couple of years after we moved from the Fort, but it never felt like home. You know you’ve turned intae a cunt with nae life, whose fetid arsehole is owned by late capitalism, when times like this feel an imposition and you cannae stop checking your phone for emails and texts. I’m with my dad, my sister-in-law Sharon, and my niece Marina and her infant twin boys Earl and Wyatt, who look indentical but have different personalities. Sharon has packed on the beef. Everybody in Scotland seems fatter now. As she fingers an earring, she expresses guilt about them staying in the spare rooms, while I’m in a hotel. I tell her it’s no hardship for me, as my dodgy back demands a specialist mattress. I explain that the hotel room is a business expense; my DJs have gigs in the city. Working-class people seldom get that the wealthy generally eat, sleep and travel well at their expense again, through tax deductables. I’m not exactly rich, but I’ve blagged my way into the system, onto the steerage class of the gravy train that bulldozes the poor. I pay more tax registered in Holland than I would in the USA, but better gieing it to the Dutch to build dams than the Yanks to build bombs. (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[After the meal prepared by Sharon and Marina, we’re kicking back in the cosy cramp of this small room, and the drinks slip down nicely. My old boy still has a decent posture to him, broad-shouldered, if a little bent over, not too much muscle wastage in evidence. He’s at the time of life where nothing at all surprises. His politics have drifted towards the right, in a moany auld cunt nostalgia way, rather than intrinsically hardcore reactionary, but still a sad state of affairs for an old union man, and indicative of bigger existential distress. That leakage of hope, of vision and passion for a better world, and its replacement by a hollow rage, is a sure sign that you’re slowly dying. But at least he lived: it would be the worst thing on earth to have those politics at an early age, to be born with that essential part of you already dead. A sad gleam in his eye indicates he’s holding on to a melancholy thought. — I mind of your dad, he says to Marina, referencing my brother Billy, the father she never saw. (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[ — Aw ye need tae dae is fly tae Istanbul and a boy’ll pick ye up at the airport and gie ye a boax tae take tae Berlin oan the train. You git the package thaire, ye gie it tae another boy. Under nae circumstances, and the cat looks awfay, awfay serious, — dae ye try n open the boax. — Sortay like that fulum, The Transporter? — Exactly. — But, eh, what is in it, likesay? Mikey gies ays a grim smile. Looks around, lowers ehs voice, leans intae ays. — A kidney, Spud. A human kidney: for a life-saving operation. Uh-oh. Ah’m no sure aboot this, man. — What? Is that no illegal, smuggling body parts, like the invasion ay the bodysnatchers n aw that? Mikey shakes ehs heid again. — This is aw kosher, buddy boy. We’ve goat a certificate for it, the lot. Ye cannae open the boax cause it’s aw sealed n sterile, wi the kidney packed in ice or some frozen cauld chemical that isnae ice but works like ice. — It isnae ice? — Naw, but it works like ice. Like what they’ve invented tae replace ice. — Replace ice … Whoa, man, no sae sure aboot that. Ice is pure natural like, well, it’s usually made artificially in fridges like, but in its natural state in the polar regions – Mikey waves ehs hand n shakes ehs heid. — Naw, Spud. No in likes ay drinks n that, eh laughs, hudin up his pint. — But it works better freezin organs. — Keeps thum tip-top till auld transplant, likesay? — Bang on the money! Ye open the boax n the cunt starts tae deteriorate n it’s fuckin useless, ay? — But the transportation ay this, man, is it no a bit dodgy? (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[Carl’s been dragging his flight case ay records wi him, perspiring like a Thatcher Cabinet minister wi the education portfolio up for grabs, and looking dangerously red. (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[the mornings, as I call the afternoons (hide spoiler)]

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sannie

    The Trainspotting guys are back and they're now middle-aged. The adage goes, "With age comes wisdom," but alas, this isn't the case with Renton, Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie. They're still getting themselves into absurd situations and haven't yet learned from their mistakes, but perhaps this is why we love them so much. As much as they had grown apart in the last novels, they're thrown back together here that makes for an incredibly entertaining read. After The Blade Artist, readers were left The Trainspotting guys are back and they're now middle-aged. The adage goes, "With age comes wisdom," but alas, this isn't the case with Renton, Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie. They're still getting themselves into absurd situations and haven't yet learned from their mistakes, but perhaps this is why we love them so much. As much as they had grown apart in the last novels, they're thrown back together here that makes for an incredibly entertaining read. After The Blade Artist, readers were left hanging with how Frank Begbie and Mark Renton react to each other on a flight from Edinburgh back to Los Angeles. Dead Men's Trousers picks up where this left off, and it segues quite nicely. While reading Dead Men's Trousers, it made me realize why I disliked The Blade Artist compared to the others — it felt like a break from Skag Boys,Trainspotting, and Porno since it focused on Begbie and not the gang. But with this latest novel, it felt right to have that break. On the surface, Begbie has changed the most and we see how he has and hasn't. Without The Blade Artist, Dead Men's Trouser's would have too much explaining to do. However, one thing we've learned throughout the Trainspotting series is that no matter how much someone tries to change, deep down inside they're the same person. Our anti-heroes like to think they've changed and grown up, but when it comes down to it, they haven't evolved nearly as much as they like to think. And that's what brings them back together again — they are the same competitive, scheming boys we've come to know and their friendships are completely dysfunctional, yet they still somehow work. They can try running away from their pasts, but it'll always somehow catch up with them, whether it's the guilty conscience of Renton after ripping his friends off or the burning revenge that Sick Boy holds for being ripped off twice. My favorite quote is an updated version of the "Choose Life" monologue, which completely fits our current era: ...and there it is, a little hiss in the background — that's the sound of your life force draining away — — listeeeeeennnn — — it's the sound of you dying — you're a prisoner of your own self-confirming, self-restraining algorithms, allowing Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon to bind you up in psychic chains and force-feed you a crappy, one-dimensional version of yourself, which you brace as it's the only affirmation on offer — these are your friends — these are your associates — these are your enemies — this is your life — you need chaos, an external force tae shock you oot ay your complacency — you need this because you no longer have the will or the imagination to do it yourself...you have to live until you die — — so how do you live? As much as I enjoyed the movie T2 despite it being far off from the book, I would actually be kind of excited to see Dead Men's Trousers as a movie.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ross Cumming

    Ever since reading Trainspotting, all those years ago, I’ve been a huge fan of Irvine Welsh and especially of his novels involving the main protagonists from that first novel. In this the latest and apparently last novel in the series, the gang, now all in middle age are thrown together for one last enterprise. Mark Renton (Rents/Rent Boy) is now manager to a small stable of club DJ’s and spends his life on planes and in hotels, seeing to their every need. Simon Williamson ( Sick Boy) is based in Ever since reading Trainspotting, all those years ago, I’ve been a huge fan of Irvine Welsh and especially of his novels involving the main protagonists from that first novel. In this the latest and apparently last novel in the series, the gang, now all in middle age are thrown together for one last enterprise. Mark Renton (Rents/Rent Boy) is now manager to a small stable of club DJ’s and spends his life on planes and in hotels, seeing to their every need. Simon Williamson ( Sick Boy) is based in London and owns a dating agency or shagging agency, where he links up young up and coming professionals basically for sex. He himself is still addicted to sex and will dive at the chance to get it on with whoever any chance he can get. Begbie, as we learned from The Blade Artist, is outwardly apparently a reformed character and is now Jim Francis, artist and sculptor living in California with his wife and two young daughters. Danny Murphy (Spud) is the only one still living in Edinburgh and is still an addict, spending his days begging on the street for change. Begbie reunites the group in order to produce a work of the four old pals heads cast in bronze for an upcoming exhibition in the city not before Sick Boy and Spud have fallen under the grip of local gangster Syme who has them embroiled in a human organ smuggling operation. Welsh also works the novel around Hib’s historic Scottish Cup win with him and the fictional characters all being supporters of the club. The novel also features several cameo appearances from characters from the previous novels including Mikey Forrester and the hilarious Juice Terry. The story builds to a thrilling climax which is both tragic, life affirming and a bit sentimental. I loved this book as for me Welsh is a true voice of Scottish writing. I’m not from Edinburgh but I can recognise similar characters from my own life echoed in these pages, albeit Welsh magnifies the characters to larger than life proportions.He also captures the spirit of Scottishness brilliantly in his characters, especially where we like to downplay our abilities. The writing is very funny and there are always quotes that I come across thatI try to remember but never do. Welsh’s writing is also very crude and the violence and sex scenes are very graphic but hey you wouldn’t be reading this book if you knew otherwise. Must admit I’m sad to see the end of Rents, Sick Boy, Begbie and Spud but hopefully the individual characters may still pop up in Welsh’s future publications.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ian Mapp

    Picking up from the exact spot at the end of The Blade Artist. Renton meets Begbie. Its not long before the whole trainspotting gang are back - Sick Boy, Spud Murphy and Juice Terry dominating the early part of the books. The sleeve overview of the book sets the scene and reveals that not all of them are going to make it to the end of the book - so this is not a spoiler. It's fun to work through the well constructed, often hilarious set pieces trying to determine who it is that will be lost. I Picking up from the exact spot at the end of The Blade Artist. Renton meets Begbie. Its not long before the whole trainspotting gang are back - Sick Boy, Spud Murphy and Juice Terry dominating the early part of the books. The sleeve overview of the book sets the scene and reveals that not all of them are going to make it to the end of the book - so this is not a spoiler. It's fun to work through the well constructed, often hilarious set pieces trying to determine who it is that will be lost. I won't give away spoilers. And that's what this is - a series of well constructed set pieces that moves the book forward and links back quite well to the Blade Artist Story. Sick Boy's brother-in-law gets into rather a lot of bother at the family Xmas celebrations - all caused by SB's liberal sprinkling of MDMA in his drink on a Xmas Eve. Everything conspires to work forward from that moment - all roads leading to Berlin and a hilarious Turkish Anesthetist. Usual Irvine motifs are all here - what binds friends since childhood, raging against both the dying light and the machine. There is a wonderful eulogy at the funeral scene. At least better than the one Juice Terry attempted in an earlier book. Most of the action is cartoon outlandish and I still can't get my head around the calculating Begbie - but this is a joy of a book that will make you howl with laughter. I doubt it will be the end of the characters in written form. Things are wrapped up rather nicely and you do wonder where it goes from here. Wherever it is, I will be there.

  22. 5 out of 5

    David

    This is probably my favorite Welsh to date. It wraps up this particular saga really well, doing things with the characters that seem inevitable but I never would have imagined, and the story is addictive. I really got into it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ben Delaney

    A brilliant read. Great intermingled story lines, incredibly funny at points and a reliving of the greatest day for all hibs fans. GGTTH YLT.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Nash

    What a superb, delightful treat this was. I look forward to Welshs new books and he is one of maybe three authors who I buy on release. There is no one quite like him out there. This one being about his most famous Trainspotting characters made it even more anticipated, and it didn't disappoint. Disgusting, hilarious and at times genuinely moving, this is one of his best. In the past sick boy has always been my least favourite out of the 4, but that all changed in this one. His chapters were What a superb, delightful treat this was. I look forward to Welshs new books and he is one of maybe three authors who I buy on release. There is no one quite like him out there. This one being about his most famous Trainspotting characters made it even more anticipated, and it didn't disappoint. Disgusting, hilarious and at times genuinely moving, this is one of his best. In the past sick boy has always been my least favourite out of the 4, but that all changed in this one. His chapters were arguably the best which was a nice surprise. Chocked with a couple of hilarious set pieces and some genuine surprises, you wont want miss this.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    I needed something a bit more entertaining and not so heady. This fit the bill almost perfectly. Irvine Welsh is always a blast to read and this, another book with the Trainspotting gang didn't disappoint. I would probably rank it third in the series with Trainspotting first and Skagboys second. The gang are starting to grow older but are still up to their same old shenanigans. I loved the moments when they reconnected especially the Hibs cup match. I would definitely recommend this to anyone I needed something a bit more entertaining and not so heady. This fit the bill almost perfectly. Irvine Welsh is always a blast to read and this, another book with the Trainspotting gang didn't disappoint. I would probably rank it third in the series with Trainspotting first and Skagboys second. The gang are starting to grow older but are still up to their same old shenanigans. I loved the moments when they reconnected especially the Hibs cup match. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who has read the rest of the series as it appears to be the conclusion.

  26. 4 out of 5

    David Dutton

    Great to catch up with Renton, Begbie, Sick Boy and Spud. This book skips from laugh out loud humour to shocking violence all bound together with sharp dialogue, lovely stuff

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    As a novelty for me, I tried this book as someone who did not read Trainspotting nor did I see the movie. I think a taste of it up to 42% completion will do for me. Interesting, yes.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sam Berry

    Well, it was a fun read for sure, and for the most part it’s lovely and nostalgic being back in the heads of Renton, Sick Boy, Begbie, and Spud. But it’s also far removed from the books that made you care about this world and these characters. It’s better than the Blade Artist, but is similarly cartoonish, over the top, and removed from reality. I can feel Irvine Welsh has a great time writing it, so fair play to him. I suppose it’s a pretty great “holiday book”.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Halls

    I was 15 when I first read Trainspotting back in the 90s and it led to an Irvine Welsh obsession, with me reading every single book he's written without fail. Even once I started hating them. Like many, I am compelled to find out what happens to Renton, SickBoy, Spud and Begbie- but I'm just disappointed every time. I just don't believe any of it... Trsinspotting and Scagboys - yes. But The Blade Artist and now Dead Mens Trousers just don't ring true. I struggle to believe this group of ex skag I was 15 when I first read Trainspotting back in the 90s and it led to an Irvine Welsh obsession, with me reading every single book he's written without fail. Even once I started hating them. Like many, I am compelled to find out what happens to Renton, SickBoy, Spud and Begbie- but I'm just disappointed every time. I just don't believe any of it... Trsinspotting and Scagboys - yes. But The Blade Artist and now Dead Mens Trousers just don't ring true. I struggle to believe this group of ex skag heads (bar Spud) have all financially (but not morally) come good. The events of both books are just ridiculous. I wanted to re-read Trainspotting but I'm afraid it might ruin it for me and I might just find out that it was never as good as I first thought.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Completely implausible, but undeniably entertaining.

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