Porno (Irvine Welsh)

Porno is a novel by Irvine Welsh; the sequel to Trainspotting.
Finished on: 7.3.2017

Plot:
Ten years after the events of Trainspotting, Sick Boy inherits a pub in Leith from his aunt, so he leaves London behind where things haven’t been going that well for him anyway, hoping to be on the winning side of gentrification for once. But before things take off in that direction, Sick Boy finds himself hosting an amateur porn shoot in his pub. But Sick Boy isn’t the only one returning to Leith: Begbie is being released from prison and even Renton returns from his exile in Amsterdam, hoping to avoid pretty much everybody he knows from back then, except maybe for Spud who is desperately trying to stay clean.

Porno was an excellent continuation of Trainspotting, but also different in many ways. It’s a strong book, looking at some of humanity’s worst traits without losing all hope entirely.

The book is differently structured from Trainspotting. While it’s still written from multiple perspectives, there are fewer narrators who tell a coherent story chronologically. In short, it’s less of a short story collection and more of a novel. It also uses less Scots, though the chapters in Begbie’s and Spud’s voices are still written phonetically.

Porno doesn’t only work with older characters, it’s also itself a more mature work that allows for more of an emotional reaction and doesn’t drown everything in cynicism (as Trainspotting sometimes risks doing), though there is a lot of that as well. Particularly Spud’s story struck about five million chords with me. (Also, for some reason, despite being an insufferable asshole a lot, Rab Birrell immediately became the hottest dude ever in my head. I don’t even know why.) Most effectively, though, Welsh delves more into Begbie and manages to discover new sides to his rage and his unfitness for the world he lives in.

Welsh, as usual, is less successful with his female characters. The new character of Nikki – who is one of the narrators in the book – is a little two-dimensional. She, much like Diane, read like male fantasies and not actual human beings.

Porno shows a cruel world, where everyone is broken in some way. Often it’s simply disgusting. But here and there are glimmers of hope, little pockets of humanity that both make the horrible things more horrible and more bearable and keeps the book from being completely nihilistic.

Summarizing: Not always easy, but worth it.

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One thought on “Porno (Irvine Welsh)

  1. Pingback: T2 Trainspotting (2017) | kalafudra's Stuff

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