Skagboys by Irvine Welsh

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Recommended by Lori-Ann Doig

Skagboys is Irvine Welsh’s prequel to Trainspotting, the back story of the all familiar characters, Renton, Sick Boy, Spud, etc, before their downward spiral into addiction. Like Trainspotting, the story takes place in Edinburgh, focusing on the boys in their younger days as they spend all their time in bars. Initially, drugs aren’t a predominant theme. However, later addiction is foreshadowed for a young Mark Renton as he experiences his first encounter with drugs, seeing others inject while on a trip to Blackpool. Skagboys is written in first person narrative, through each different characters perspective and is held together by Renton’s rehabilitation notes. It gives a deeper insight into each character’s family life and their background than Trainspotting ever could, making Welsh fans feel a real connection with their favourite Scottish junkies. This novel also explores not only the lives of working class young men from Leith during the Thatcher era, but also the world of heroin back then. A must-read for any Irvine Welsh fan.