Filth by Irvine Welsh

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Synopsis

With the Christmas season upon him, Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson of Edinburgh's finest is gearing up socially—kicking things off with a week of sex and drugs in Amsterdam.

There are some sizable flies in the ointment, though: a missing wife and child, a nagging cocaine habit, some painful below-the-belt eczema, and a string of demanding extramarital affairs. The last thing Robertson needs is a messy, racially fraught murder, even if it means overtime—and the opportunity to clinch the promotion he craves. Then there's that nutritionally demanding (and psychologically acute) intestinal parasite in his gut. Yes, things are going badly for this utterly corrupt tribune of the law, but in an Irvine Welsh novel nothing is ever so bad that it can't get a whole lot worse. . . .In Bruce Robertson Welsh has created one of the most compellingly misanthropic characters in contemporary fiction, in a dark and disturbing and often scabrously funny novel about the abuse of everything and everybody.

"Welsh writes with a skill, wit and compassion that amounts to genius. He is the best thing that has happened to British writing in decades."—Sunday Times [London]  "[O]ne of the most significant writers in Britain. He writes with style, imagination, wit, and force, and in a voice which those alienated by much current fiction clearly want to hear."—Times Literary Supplement "Welsh writes with such vile, relentless intensity that he makes Louis-Ferdinand Céline, the French master of defilement, look like Little Miss Muffet. "—Courtney Weaver, The New York Times Book Review "The corrupt Edinburgh cop-antihero of Irvine Welsh's best novel since Trainspotting is an addictive personality in another sense: so appallingly powerful is his character that it's hard to put the book down....[T]he rapid-fire rhythm and pungent dialect of the dialogue carry the reader relentlessly toward the literally filthy denouement. "—Village Voice Literary Supplement, "Our 25 Favorite Books of 1998" "Welsh excels at making his trash-spewing bluecoat peculiarly funny and vulnerable—and you will never think of the words 'Dame Judi Dench' in the same way ever again. [Grade:] A-. "—Charles Winecoff, Entertainment Weekly
 

About Irvine Welsh

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Irvine Welsh was born in Edinburgh on September 27, 1958. After leaving school, he lived in London for awhile, but eventually returned to Edinburgh where he worked for the city council in the housing department. He received a degree in computer science and studied for an MBA at Heriot Watt University. His first novel, Trainspotting, was published in 1993 and was adapted as a film starring Ewan McGregor and Robert Carlyle in 1996. He became a full-time writer in August 1995. His other works include The Acid House (1994), Marabou Stork Nightmares (1995), Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance (1996), Filth (1998), Glue (2001), and Porno (2002). He also wrote the plays Headstate (1994) and You'll Have Had Your Hole (1998).
 
Published September 17, 1998 by W. W. Norton & Company. 320 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Filth

Kirkus Reviews

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a bit of bestiality, involving Bruce’s favorite prostitute and a collie named Angus, that goes hilariously awry).But it founders when Welsh gives his loutish antihero unconvincing moments of reflection (“I feel entrapped by my lust, but when I actually get round to doing it, it just seems so poin...

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Publishers Weekly

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Another scabrous, lurid, blackly comic novel from America's favorite Scottish enfant terrible, this one does for present-day Edinburgh what James Ellroy does for 1950s Los Angeles. Welsh begins with a

Sep 14 1998 | Read Full Review of Filth

The Guardian

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It could, for example, have real worms, or lice or maggots, eating their way through its pages rather than the imaginary one which is gobbling up the novel's protagonist, Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson, gnawing away at him like the Ebola virus.

Aug 09 1998 | Read Full Review of Filth

New York Magazine

This being a cop story, there's a murder to solve, but that plot plays second fiddle to Robertson and his exploits, which involve a trip to Amsterdam, a great deal of angry sex and reckless drug use, and general terrorizing of the populace.

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Dabbler

Filth is set in Edinburgh and narrated by Bruce Robertson, a macho Protestant copper who, when the book opens, is being inconvenienced by the murder of a black tourist.

Feb 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Filth

Reader Rating for Filth
80%

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