A collection of long out of print Irvine Welsh stories from his early days of writing. Due for publication on July 2nd. It’s available for pre-order at Amazon.co.uk
In these pages you can enjoy Christmas dinner with Begbie, and see how warmly Franco greets his sister’s boyfriend and the news of their engagement. You will discover, in ‘The Rosewell Incident’, how aliens addicted to Embassy Regal have Midlothian under surveillance, and plan to install the local casuals as the new governors of Planet Earth. You will not be surprised to read that a televised Hibs v. Hearts game might matter more to one character than the life of his wife, or that two guys fighting over a beautiful girl might agree – on reflection, and after a few pills and many pints of lager – that their friendship is actually more important.And you will be delighted to welcome back ‘Juice’ Terry Lawson, and to watch what happens when he meets his old nemesis, retired schoolmaster Albert Black, under the strobe-lights of a Miami Beach nightclub. Most of the stories in “Reheated Cabbage” originally appeared in fugitive form in magazines and long-out-of-print anthologies in the 1990s. Finally collected together, they show all Irvine Welsh’s trademark skills – vaulting imagination, a brilliant vernacular ear, dark, scabrous humor and the ability to create some of the most memorable characters in contemporary fiction.
Due to be published on 3rd July in the UK and August 26th in the USA. You can pre-order Crime at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
Here’s the synopsis:
Welsh’s sizzling new novel, Crime, is a thrilling journey into the bright glamour of the Sunshine State and a seething underworld of utter darkness.
Now bereft of both youth and ambition, Detective Inspector Ray Lennox is recovering from a mental breakdown induced by occupational stress and cocaine abuse, and a particularly horrifying child sex murder case back in Edinburgh. On vacation in Florida, his fianc้e Trudi is only interested in planning their forthcoming wedding, and a bitter argument sees a deranged Lennox cast adrift in strip-mall Florida. In a seedy bar, Lennox meets two women, ending up at their apartment for a coke binge, which is interrupted by two menacing strangers. After the ensuing brawl, Lennox finds himself alone with Tianna, the terrified ten-year-old daughter of one of the women, and a sheet of instructions that make him responsible for her immediate safety.
Lennox takes the girl to an exclusive marina on the Gulf coast, and quickly suspects that he has stumbled into a hornet’s nest: a gang or organized paedophiles, every bit as threatening as the monster that haunted him back in Edinburgh. His priority is to protect the abused girl, but can the edgy Lennox trust his own instincts? And can he negotiate her inappropriate sexuality as well as his own mental fragility?
In Crime, Welsh has written a shocking and gripping story about the corruption and abuse of the human soul and the possibilities of redemption.
Q&A; interview with Mr Welsh on SuicideGirls.com, in which he reveals amongst other things that he’s stood David Bowie up. Twice. Lunatic.
Due to be published in the UK in July and in the USA in September, If You Like School, You’ll Love Work is Welsh’s first collection of short stories since The Acid House. (Which is, incidentally, my own favourite of all his books).
Here’s the synopsis for If You Like School, You’ll Love Work:
In his first short-story collection since “The Acid House”, Irvine Welsh sets us five tricky questions. In ‘Rattlesnakes’ how do three young Americans find themselves lost in the desert, and why does one find himself performing fellatio on another while being watched by the bare-breasted Madeline and two armed Mexicans? Who is the mysterious Korean chef who has moved upstairs to Chicago socialite Kendra Cross, in ‘The D.O.G.S. of Lincoln Park’, and what does he have to do with the disappearance of her faithful pooch Toto? In the title story, can Mickey Baker – an expat English bar-owner ducking and diving on the Costa Brava – manage to keep all his balls in the air: maintaining his barmaid Cynthia’s body weight at the sexual maximum while attending to the youthful Persephone and dodging his persistent ex-wife and a pair of Spanish gangsters? By what train of events does Raymond Wilson Butler, writing a biography of a legendary US film director in “Miss Arizona” come to end up as a piece of movie memorabilia? And how, in the novella “The Kingdom of Fife” will Jason King – diminutive ex-trainee jockey and Subbuteo star of Cowdenbeath – fare in the world of middle-class female equestrians, and will he ever enjoy the tender and long-anticipated charms of Jenni Cahill and her remarkable jodhpurs? All of these questions are posed, and answered, in these five extraordinary stories: stories that remind us that Irvine Welsh is a master of the shorter form, a brilliant storyteller, and – unarguably – one of the funniest and filthiest writers in Britain.
You can preorder If You Like School, You’ll Love Work at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com
IrvineWelsh.net has had a makeover and is a bit more easy to understand but less fun to mess around with – it’s the usual author biography and back catalogue stuff. Welsh has always been very ambivalent about the internet and I don’t think he’s about to become a web geek anytime soon
The Scotsman goes to San Francisco to see Babylon Heights and hear about Master Chefs:
“The Bedroom Secrets Of The Master Chefs, on the other hand, is a deeper, more ambitious novel than some of its predecessors. It follows the lives of two young Environmental Health Officers in Edinburgh. Both are ambitious, are haunted by the absence of their fathers, and both run into a celebrity restaurateur who seems to have it all, apart from a clean kitchen. But Brian Kibby is a social misfit and geek, Danny Skinner a hedonistic party boy. Their divergent personalities lead to a vicious rivalry – and the hatred takes dramatic physical form.
“The whole book’s about identity: who are we and how do we know who we are – the genetics, the environment, the learning that we have, the opportunities that we have, the decisions that we make. It’s trying to look at that.”
As Welsh says, this eighth book – like Trainspotting, Marabou Stork Nightmares and Filth – features characters that are at “an extreme point in their life. [In those previous novels] one guy’s a heroin addict, one guy’s part of a gang rape, one guy’s having a mental breakdown basically”. In The Bedroom Secrets… Kibby is reeling from the death of his father, while Skinner is coming to the painful realisation that his addiction to alcohol, and obsession with finding his absent dad, is causing his life to spiral out of control. But Welsh sets these characters – and scenes both hilarious and brutal that are vintage Welsh – in a richly-drawn family dynamic. It’s a context that Welsh edged towards with Glue and Porno, but which he portrays vividly and empathetically in the new book. “
Publisher Random House have launched an Irvine Welsh mini site to celebrate the publication of Bedroom Secrets Of The Master Chefs. The site features an extract from the book and a competition where you can win rare Irvine Welsh goodies.
Neel Mukherjee of The Times isn’t impressed with Welsh’s new novel at all:
Let’s call a spade a spade — Irvine Welsh’s sixth novel is so awful that, to paraphrase James Wood, it invents its own category of awfulness.
Five novels later Welsh is still doing his substance-abuse-in-Edinburgh shtick, but it has become a meaningless brand — look carefully and you can almost see the TM symbol — emptied of all authenticity, forced and false. Like most such products, it should go straight in the bin. [Read more]
First review of Welsh’s new novel from The Guardian:
Irvine Welsh is in a class of his own. Whatever the flaws of his books, they have a seething life in them that rivets attention and an inventiveness with story and language that continually amuses and amazes. The elaborate choreography of his predators and victims as they circle each other through the bars, offices and “fitba” terraces of Edinburgh seems powered by inexhaustibly rich reserves of desire, rage, guilt and scabrous humour.
The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs may not be his best novel (parts of it are not very good at all), but it shares the same roiling chorus of hard men, wee hoors, old jakeys and biddies as its predecessors, builds with the same logic of escalating perversity, and leaves one with the same reeling sensation of having got quite a bit more than one’s money’s worth.
The hero is Danny Skinner, a restaurant inspector for the Edinburgh council. Good-looking, ambitious, cleverer than anyone around him (he reads Schopenhauer between drink and drug binges with his mates), he’s a type at which Welsh excels: the slick chancer whose prospects are imperilled only by his own self-destructive appetites and impulses.
The explanation offered for the latter is his mother’s refusal to tell him who his father is; a mystery that propels half the action of the book. The other, more interesting, half is set in motion by the appearance of a teetotal virgin, Brian Kibby, who attends Star Trek conferences and plays childish videogames. Kibby gets a job at the restaurant inspectorate, entering Skinner’s derisive orbit in the unfortunate possession of a toy train, purchased on his way into work. Almost immediately he awakens a demonic hatred in Skinner. The two find themselves in competition for the same office promotion, and the old dance begins.
Read the full review
Irvine Welsh will be speaking at The Dancehouse Theatre, Manchester on 9 August, tickets 0161-839 1248. There’s a lengthy interview with him in The Independent today, about Babylon Heights and Bedroom Secrets Of The Master Chefs, which comes out this week.