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Publisher's Summary

Mark Renton has it all: He's good-looking, young, with a pretty girlfriend and a place at university. But there's no room for him in the 1980s.Thatcher's government is destroying working-class communities across Britain, and the post-war certainties of full employment, educational opportunity and a welfare state are gone. When his family starts to fracture, Mark's life swings out of control and he succumbs to the defeatism which has taken hold in Edinburgh's grimmer areas.
The way out is heroin. It's no better for his friends. Spud Murphy is laid off from his job, Tommy Lawrence feels himself being sucked into a life of petty crime and violence - the worlds of the thieving Matty Connell and psychotic Franco Begbie. Only Sick Boy, the supreme manipulator of the opposite sex, seems to ride the current, scamming and hustling his way through it all. Skagboys charts their journey from likely lads to young men addicted to the heroin which has flooded their disintegrating community.
This is the 1980s: a time of drugs, poverty, AIDS, violence, political strife, and hatred - but a lot of laughs, and maybe just a little love; a decade that changed Britain for ever. The prequel to the world-renowned Trainspotting, this is an exhilarating and moving book, full of the scabrous humour, salty vernacular and appalling behaviour that has made Irvine Welsh a household name.
©2012 Irvine Welsh (P)2012 Random House Audiobooks
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Sean on 06-02-12

Excellent but not for the faint hearted

The sequel to Trainspotting lives up to Irvine Welsh's original. Lots of laughs and familiar characters in a believable story about how they became schemie junkies. Being Scottish and born at the same time as the main characters took me back to how Thatcher screwed a generation and British scociety and wasted lives, helped greatly by the people themselves.

If youre not Scottish you may find some of the story hard to understand - heaps of dialect. If you don't like very strong language (repeated often) and some gross/taboo stories - avoid. Having read/listened to all of Welsh's books to date this is up there with the original and Glue.

The best credit I have ever spent here and I have listened to some beauties - I had a barry time listening.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By Danielle on 01-30-14

Welsh Fans Will Love It

Would you consider the audio edition of Skagboys to be better than the print version?

I actually would not, I enjoyed the listen, but as a Canadian not used to Scottish accents or slang, I think I missed a lot as compared to the other Welsh books I've read. I'll be giving this one a second listen to try and pick up what I missed.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Skagboys?

The moments where they are all just destroyed and miserable with withdrawl were unreal. So pathetic and desperate, the narration brought that all to life.<br/>Everything with Maria was so awful but memorable.

Which scene was your favorite?

The rehab diaries

Who was the most memorable character of Skagboys and why?

Maria really sticks out in my memory, Her story is really heartbreaking.

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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By F Gibb on 05-30-14

F*#@ing Barry!!

This will almost certainly be the sweariest book that you will have ever read. In fact, it is one swear-word short of sweariness saturation- where the context of the story is lost in a sea of foul potty-mouthiness.

HOWEVER... It is written with a deftness of style, and a sensitivity to the human condition, which can bring you to the point of tears. The characters develop seamlessly into rich, interesting, believable, three-dimensional, but larger, no, LARGER than life people. You love them, you hate them, you feel for them, you hope for them, you cringe with them. The tale (or tales) is (or are) in turns funny and sad and poignant, and funny, and cringeworthy, and did I mention funny. And as for the swearing- it feels so natural to the characters that you barely even notice it.

The book has a feel similar to its companion, Trainspotting. It is more a series of little episodes, which build like a mosaic into the whole of the novel. I think that it's better than Trainspotting- it's just so well written!

The Narration is as good as any I have ever heard. Tam Dean Burn obviously loved his brief, and he nailed it! It is told with a passion and energy, which brings that characters and scenes alive. I'm sure that Irvine Welsh was delighted by the rendition that TDB delivered.

I cannot rate this book highly enough. It really captured me from the very first moment, and I urge you to give it a go!!!

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful


By Gavingks on 06-07-12

Stick with it - It grows on you

I started off hating this. The swearing was unreal. Given that I swear a fair old bit this shocked me a bit.
I did stick with it and am so glad i did. Learnt to really get close to the characters and understand them. There was enough humour to keep you sane.
I would read/listen to it again. Just don't let the first hour put you off

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Joanne on 04-09-17

Sweary, sweary

If you can overlook the sweary nature of this book you'll be treated to a finely crafted work. The characters are finessed; displaying their frailties their strengths of personality.

I loved the story, and the narrator brought it to life.

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