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. “