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by Irvine Welsh
ISBN 0393057232 / 9780393057232 / 0-393-05723-2
Publisher W. W. Norton & Company
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Porno, Irvine Welsh's highly entertaining--though completely unnecessary--sequel to his cult classic, Trainspotting, reunites the gang as they pursue another big-payoff scheme. It's been 10 years since Mark Renton walked away with the cash from a drug sale perpetrated by himself and his mates, Simon "Sick Boy" Williamson, Danny "Spud" Murphy, and Francis Begbie. The megalomaniacal Sick Boy has returned to Edinburgh, where stag film producer "Juice" Terry Lawson has given him the idea for a bold new scam: to locally produce a high-end adult film. Lawson introduces Sick Boy to the beautiful and egocentric Nikki Fuller-Smith, a student and aspiring star. Passivity and self-destructive tendencies have left well-meaning junkie Spud poor and alone, while time has only intensified the anger of the psychotic Begbie, who's fresh out of prison, back in Edinburgh, and obsessed with taking revenge on Renton. Sick Boy locates and persuades Renton, a successful club owner in Amsterdam, to help him steal money for his new production company. From the book's multiple points of view, it's soon clear that everyone's running their own scam, making conflicts--and long-awaited confrontations--inevitable.
Welsh's brutally honest prose and gallery of likeable ne'er-do-wells are in full display here, but the novel feels somewhat superfluous. Porno adds little insight into the characters or events of Trainspotting and fails to match its invention or sense of purpose. However, the author's obvious affection for these characters and dedication to authentically rendered dialogue and setting elevate Porno above mere slapdash reworking. As the novel builds momentum, Welsh wonderfully communicates the intense bravado driving his reckless characters. During such moments of vitality and humor, Porno is superficial but undeniably charming. --Ross Doll [via]