Thursday, April 9, 2009

More Irvine Welsh

I finished reading Irvine Welsh's Filth today. It was a bit of a different tale than Trainspotting and Porno. Instead of junkies, criminals, or pornographers, the book follows a police man, Detective Bruce Robertson.

Now, you would think that, "Great, he's got a positive lead character this time," but oh, no. Welsh gives us the most corrupt cop in the Edinburgh police force. Bruce is divorced, addicted to cocaine, a sexual pervert, and up for promotion. Oh, and early on, he eats an underdone meat pie that leaves him with a tapeworm that learns about him as it eats away on the inside of him. Only in Welsh...

As disgusting as the worm is, it makes for an interesting character. It is sentient, though realistically focused on eating, but the way it makes it's thoughts read is a curious device. It's hard to explain, but it's words appear over Bruce's. Bruce eventually discovers the worm's presence, and tries to rid himself of it, or them, rather, as the worm has multiplied. Because the worm has begun to depend on this companionship, it becomes spiteful to Bruce, and digs up his worst memories to feed back to him.

As for Bruce, he schemes for the upcoming promotion to Inspector, including ruining any chances his fellow detectives have. Bruce finds faults in all of them, forgetting that worse faults lie within himself. This occurs many times in the book: Bruce feels the faults of others somehow justify his own.

Some of most fun I had while reading this book was the reactions from co-workers to it.

"Filth? What is that? Some kind of porno book?"
"A corrupt cop? Does he like nasty, wild, freaky sex?" (My answer, "Yes, actually.")
"Where do you find these books?"

And the oddest I got today as I was reading at a bus stop, some weird tattooed guy passed, glanced, and murmured, "What book is that oh that book I read that book it's a good book."

... Okay ...

1 comment:

alancook said...

One of my friends is 48 yrs old.
A burnt out Ex-cop in Glasgow's East Side.
I loaned him this book a few years ago.
He read it in one sitting and said Irvine Welsh must have been a cop because he had a sick maniac of a partner just like the character Bruce.
He also said that (And I agree)huge portions of the book accurately portrayed parts of The Scottish Police force in the late 80's & early 90's.
The dialogue is spot on.
Cops around here still behave like that to this day.
Then, he gave me the book back and said he could never read it again.