I can't really classify this as a review as I've only finished the first story in the book.
I want to get through it, I have a fair amount of experience both reading and listening to various English He currently lives in Dublin. Reheated Cabbage. It may not be to everyone's taste, but it is serious, challenging and filled with a monstrous energy.
Other stories include a vignette of Begbie's Christmas dinner, which again examines a conscience both corrupted and vaingloriously inflexible, and a subtle dissection of male camaraderie's suppurating sexism, "Victor Spoils" — one of Welsh's only convincing attempts at a female character. By contrast, the recent piece, "I Am Miami", is dead on the page.
The language is self-consciously bookish, with "azure sky", "vanilla sands", a smattering of "somewhats" and such lax and redundant sentences as "Water Black could only gasp like a man marooned in a desert". The religious teacher who uses cod-Biblical language like "holpen" and "enbeast", yet we are supposed to believe in his misguided sincerity meets them, and, after some inadvertent drug-taking, all of them decide they aren't so bad after all.
As a plot contrivance, let alone a psychologically convincing closure, it's lazy and sentimental: narcotics as deus ex machina rather than doors of perception. The violence which seethed and snaked in his early work — violence against language as much as against individuals — is utterly averted here.
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It even ends with an invitation to dinner, like a bad American sitcom episode. Across the old and new work, there's a surreptitious fear of male homosexuality it's a personal hell in "Catholic Guilt", appropriate punishment in "The Rosewell Incident", motivating shame in "I Am Miami".
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- Reheated Cabbage.
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