The Folio Society has released a special edition of Trainspotting to celebrate the novel’s 30th anniversary with its first ever illustrated edition, with an introduction by John Sutherland. With kaleidoscopic artwork by award-winning artist Nicole Rifkin,
The story of a gang of noxious young males communicating in their own vernacular, Trainspotting was inspired by Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, relocating that sci-fi dystopia to the slums of Northern Edinburgh. Mark Renton is our wry antihero, a terminally jobless twenty-something struggling to escape a Black Hole of heroin addiction orbited by a cast of equally vivid characters: the lecherous Sick Boy, alcoholic maniac Francis Begbie, and the gang’s furtive whipping-boy, Spud.
Trainspotting was a word-of-mouth sensation upon publication in 1993, though its unique dialect, humour, and equitable stance on drug use baffled and offended the literary community in equal measure. Though set in the late eighties, the book tapped into the nascent rave culture that was emerging in the early nineties. Readers were hooked by the furious authenticity that Welsh drew from his own former drug addiction and his upbringing in the “schemes” of Edinburgh. Welsh is just as interested in playing with linguistics, as well as themes of alienation and redemption as Renton pursues a darkly impulsive quest for his next fix.
ROADSIDE PICNIC CONTRIBUTORS
Written by Irvine Welsh
Introduced by John Sutherland
Illustrated by Nicole Rifkin