The Unnatural Scene: The Fiction of Irvine Welsh

  • Alan Riach


The opening paragraph of Trainspotting (1993) delivers unsuspecting readers to a domestic crisis of interpersonal, bodily, junk media-saturated, jargon-filled, freshly minted unnaturalness. Tension is high:

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.1


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For Further Reading

  1. For a hard copy list of Irvine Welsh’s work up to 2001, see Contemporary Novelists, David Madden et al., ed. 7th edn (New York: St James Press, 2001). For a more up-to-date list on the internet, see the British Council website: <>.Google Scholar
  2. Craig, Cairns, The Modern Scottish Novel (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999).Google Scholar
  3. Freeman, Alan, ‘Ghosts in Sunny Leith: Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting’, Studies in Scottish Fiction: 1945 to the Present (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1996).Google Scholar
  4. Gifford, Douglas, et al., eds, Scottish Literature in English and Scots (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2003).Google Scholar
  5. Hodge, John, Trainspotting & Shallow Grave [screenplays] (London: Faber and Faber, 1996).Google Scholar
  6. Jenkins, Robin, The Changeling (Edinburgh: Macdonald, 1958).Google Scholar
  7. Oliver, Fiona, ‘The Self-Debasement of Scotland’s Postcolonial Bodies’, SPAN: Journal of the South Pacific Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies, 42/43 (April/October 1996), 114–21.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Alan Riach 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Riach

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