By the time I got to the later chapters of Irvine Welsh’s novel, Filth, I wasn’t even aware of his writing being filled with Scottish dialect, Cockney rhyming slang, Britishisms, Australian references, drug argot, or out and out obscenity. But I have a suspicion that, as a writer, Welsh lost some of his early steam and pushed through the finale without too much concern for a gritty narrative voice. I might be wrong and if you want to perform a more scientific analysis of the language in the novel, drop me a note with your results.
But what disturbed me more about Filth was the author’s mad-dash need to sum up his novel, answer all the questions, plug-up all the vague breaches in the story, and get it done. What started out as a fun, albeit challenging, roller coaster ride turned into a spinning tea cup which made me sorry I had that extra burrito for lunch. The fact that most of the surprising revelations at the end were fairly easy to suss out along the way (especially the who-done-it part) made the ending less dramatic and, frankly, disappointing.
My experience is that most contemporary authors put their efforts into the beginning of their novel and the ending is too often a clear sign that they have lost interest and just want to get it done.
Take this one trope: a tapeworm is enlisted to explain most of the gory details about our anti-hero Broooos … an articulate platyhelminthe accenting and explaining the narrative from deep in DS Robertson’s gut.
Remember Audrey? FEED ME!!!
Is this a new narrative technique? Will Abrams need yet another revision? It isn’t unusual for an author to select an uncommon voice as the narrator of his novel—a companion dog is quite popular—but a tapeworm is original. After all, what could be more apropos than a parasite from the dark depths of the bowels to continue the theme of “filth.”
What is your inner monster?
Wikipedia includes a rather extensive bibliography for Irvine Welsh. I’m still looking to read more of his work.
Marabou Stork Nightmares (1995)
The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs (2006)
The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins (May 2014)
Short story collections
The Acid House (1994)
Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance (1996)
If You Liked School You’ll Love Work (2007)
Reheated Cabbage (2009)
You’ll Have Had Your Hole (drama)
Dose (BBC drama written with Dean Cavanagh)
The Acid House (screenplay)
Wedding Belles (2007 film for Channel 4 written with Dean Cavanagh)
Four Play (a collection of his books that have been adapted for the stage)
Dockers (1999 one-off TV drama for Channel 4, co-written by Jimmy McGovern)
Nuts (2007 short film)
Good Arrows (2009 film)
Bad Blood (2005 short film co-written by him, based on a section of the novel Trainspotting)
You’ll Have Had Your Hole