Skagboys : Mark Renton

  • by Irvine Welsh
  • Narrated by Tam Dean Burn
  • Series: Mark Renton
  • 24 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Prequel to the best-selling phenomenon Trainspotting, this exhilarating and moving novel shows how Welsh’s colorful miscreants first went wrong.
Marked by Irvine Welsh’s scabrous humor and raw Scottish vernacular, Skagboys transports us to 1980s Edinburgh, where the Trainspotting crew is just getting started. Mark Renton has it all: the first in his family to attend university, he has a pretty girlfriend and a great social life. But when economic uncertainties and family problems intervene, Rent succumbs to the defeatism - not to mention the drug use - that has taken hold in Edinburgh’s tougher quarters. His friends are responding according to personality. Laid off, Spud Murphy is paralyzed in the face of long-term unemployment. Sick Boy, supreme manipulator of the opposite sex, is scamming and hustling for money and drugs. And meanwhile, psycho Franco Begbie is scaring the hell out of everyone. Darkly humorous, Skagboys gives a gritty and gripping portrait of a time, not unlike ours, when money was scarce, unemployment was high, and drugs seemed the answer.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Something to know first for the audible crowd

Where does Skagboys rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very very high. But I enjoy most of Welsh's work.

What other book might you compare Skagboys to and why?

Glue by Irvine Welsh

Which character – as performed by Tam Dean Burn – was your favorite?


If you could rename Skagboys, what would you call it?

I wouldn't

Any additional comments?

For Americans who have never *read* any of Irvine Welsh's books, understand that he writes his books phonetically. For instance... "a full bottle of whiskey" is actually written as "a fill boatle ay whisky" in the book. This is intentional, and is how Mr. Welsh has written all of his novels when narrated by a Scot (most of them). So, you start thinking with a Scottish accent to understand them.
The point is that it really wouldn't matter if a different narrator with a less pronounced accent read the book aloud. The book itself is actually written to be read aloud with an extremely thick Scottish accent. Check out an excerpt or two from the actual book and you will begin to understand.
Now, many people could make a compelling argument that they have little enough time to read, which is why they *listen* to books. So, why would they want to *work* at listening to an audio book?The answer is very simple. The story is worth it. The characters are worth it. The memories you make while enjoying the experience are worth it.
My advice for this outstanding performance would be to think and listen with an accent. Who knows? "Ye jest mieet firgeet yirsaelf."

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- B

A Note on the Performance

Irvine Welsh was lauded when Trainspotting came out, for creating the kind of patois we haven't seen since A Clockwork Orange. Tam Dean Burn does a great job of getting the Glaswegian just right. I would say to most prospective buyers -- those who claim the performance is incomprehensible just haven't read any difficult literature. If you've worked your way through a little Chaucer, and especially if you're able to enjoy a Shakespeare play without too much head scratching, you'll do fine. To the others, I say: you need to read more, much more, "difficult" literature, until you've got a mental picture of a larger vocabulary. The latest Sue Monk Kidd or Donna Tartt isn't going to do it. Try Tristram Shandy.
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- James Abraham

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-09-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios