Welsh's second novel switches, with the aid of some nifty typography, between three connected worlds. Brought up in an Edinburgh 'scheme' 'a concentration camp for the poor' , its narrator Roy Strang now lies in a deep coma. The novel shuffles his past in a 'genetic disaster' of a family with a blurred present of visits from nurses and relatives quest through an imaginary Africa, hunting the titular bird. This 'despicable beast' comes to stand for all the cruelty Roy has soaked up and dished out in his time. Beneath its parodies and profanities, Marabou Stork Nightmares asks why Roy has been 'surrounded by latent and manifest violence all my life'.
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Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh. The acclaimed author of the cult classics Trainspotting and The Acid House , Irvine Welsh has been hailed as "the best thing that has happened to British writing in a decade" London Sunday Times. This audacious novel is a brilliant and literal head trip of a book that brings us into the wildly active, albeit coma-beset, mind of Roy Strang, whose hallucinatory quest to e The acclaimed author of the cult classics Trainspotting and The Acid House , Irvine Welsh has been hailed as "the best thing that has happened to British writing in a decade" London Sunday Times.
It is the sort of lethally funny cocktail of pathos, violence, and outrageous hilarity that only Irvine Welsh can pull off. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published January 17th by W. Norton Company first published More Details Original Title. Roy Strang. Edinburgh, Scotland South Africa. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Marabou Stork Nightmares , please sign up.
Be the first to ask a question about Marabou Stork Nightmares. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Marabou Stork Nightmares. Irvine Welsh was the literary hero among my generation of working-class Central Belt Scots for his graphic novels set in Edinburgh sink estates, riddled with sex, drugs, violence, and written in dextrously rendered phonetic dialect.
Plus, I have never felt Scottish enough for Scots-centric books to speak to me. A devastating gang rape forms the moral kernel of the novel and Welsh excels in particular in the scenes of tense horror and violence, and is less successful with the surreal humour. View all 6 comments. Jun 20, Ashley rated it it was amazing. I realize I haven't read Trainspotting, or even a great deal of Irvine Welsh's work, but let me go out on a limb here and say that this is my favorite.
The characters, especially the main character, are all deliciously real. Characteristic of Welsh, in my experience, is the atmosphere of darkness and desperation interjected with some even blacker humor. His ability to get me to sympathize with the main character, even after I'd read the end, was pretty remarkable. And not in the way you like Alex I realize I haven't read Trainspotting, or even a great deal of Irvine Welsh's work, but let me go out on a limb here and say that this is my favorite.
And the nightmares, well I won't say the nightmares are the best part because that would be misleading and also advocates a simplistic relationship with this book. But they are fantastic. View 2 comments.
Apr 01, Greg rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , fiction. Stylistically this is Welsh's best work. Along with Glue it's the books of his that show him to be a really great writer who has much more up his sleeve than just drugs and violence although he writes about these things so well, that it's not a bad thing when I say that. Why this book isn't one of those books people come in to the store looking for all the time is beyond me. View 1 comment.
Nov 10, Xandra rated it really liked it Shelves: , european , by-men , british , transgressive. Sep 27, Paul Bryant rated it really liked it Shelves: novels. Turns out that Irvine Welsh is not a one-trick pony, he's a one and a half trick pony. He wowed us all with his filthy funny tales of Scottish smackheads in Trainspotting, one of the ALL time black comedies, they don't come any blacker or funnier, and then it was kind of - follow that.
So this one does involve similar young Scottish druggies, but it has a plot, which emerges in a similar manner to the spring in Monty Python's Spring Surprise from the Crunchy Frog sketch : Health inspector: What's Turns out that Irvine Welsh is not a one-trick pony, he's a one and a half trick pony. So this one does involve similar young Scottish druggies, but it has a plot, which emerges in a similar manner to the spring in Monty Python's Spring Surprise from the Crunchy Frog sketch : Health inspector: What's this one, 'spring surprise'?
Mr Milton the confectioner: Ah - now, that's our speciality - covered with darkest creamy chocolate. When you pop it in your mouth steel bolts spring out and plunge straight through-both cheeks. Health inspector: Well where's the pleasure in that? So Marabou Stork Nightmares is recommended for those who like their fiction to pierce both cheeks. Oct 16, Matt rated it it was ok. In many ways, this book was brilliant: the structure of flitting between his coma state, memories of his childhood, and an African hunting fantasy.
Also, the way he physically structures words on the page really conveys the polyphonic stream of consciousness of a person in a coma. And the Scottish phonetic spellings are just plain fun. That said, this book disturbed me as no other book has done--and not in a good way. I genuinely feel traumatized by it. It is not so much the fact that violent th In many ways, this book was brilliant: the structure of flitting between his coma state, memories of his childhood, and an African hunting fantasy.
It is not so much the fact that violent things happen I mean, that is life for some folks but that it is almost naturalized through the narrative voice which so consistently embodies an incredibly hateful misogyny, homophobia, racism, etc.
I mean, sometimes you can't even come up for air, and women are never referred to in anything approaching a humanizing way, always instead as crass sexual objects.
Rape, torture, incest, animal torture, sexual abuse, physical abuse, meaningless sex--it's all in here. View all 10 comments. Sep 22, Nate D rated it really liked it Shelves: britain , post-modernism. Harsh, inventive, horrifying, and desperately sad. Lacks the glorious sprawl of Trainspotting , which directly preceded it, opting instead for what may be Welsh's most tightly-coiled plotting to date. And his greatest sense of conscience, his strongest turn as a social reformer.
The ending, through an appropriate scrim of sensationalism, actually manages to be both heart-rending and insightful, in a manner that Welsh rarely manages. View all 4 comments. Dec 17, Jena rated it liked it. Possibly the most disturbing book I have ever read. After I finished the last page I felt like I had been run over by a truck.
I think my own books are probably mostly influenced by King and Koontz in a non-horror way , but if ever I need to justify the dialect in Boys of Summer or the graphic nature in Girl Afraid , I turn to Irvine or to Chuck. The people have a point, of course. Not everyone can read an Irvine Welsh book. But there is a sense of smug satis I think my own books are probably mostly influenced by King and Koontz in a non-horror way , but if ever I need to justify the dialect in Boys of Summer or the graphic nature in Girl Afraid , I turn to Irvine or to Chuck.
But there is a sense of smug satisfaction if you can, and happen to Not Be Scottish into the bargain. This book is in Scottish. And it's fucking horrific. I was taken to school by this novel, in terms of how depraved and vomit-inducing a book can be in its descriptions, and in the general thoughts and behaviour of its characters. And I liked it. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with an author like Alice Sebold, who can tell you a horrific tale, without giving you the gory details.
In fact, like swearing in stand-up comedy, there is a skill and an art to making the reader uncomfortable without showing them the pus and the bile upfront. Equally though, there is a skill in being able to show it all, and not come off reading like a hack. Some of the worst self-published books out there are a product of No Editor, No Regulation, and, as well as the awful prose, their biggest flaws often involve an inability to tone down the unpalatable.
In Girl Afraid, I toned down pretty much everything, but the horror still exists in the reader's mind.
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Roy Strang is engaged in a strange quest in a surrealist South Africa. His mission is to eradicate an evil predator-scavenger bird, the marabou stork, before it drives away the peace-loving flamingo from the picturesque Lake Torto. But behind this world lies another: the world of Roy's bizarre family, the Scottish housing scheme in which he grew up, his mundane job, a disastrous emigration to Africa, and his youthful life of brutality with a gang of soccer casuals. As one world crashes into the other, this potentially charming story of ornithological goodwill mutates into a filthy tale of violence, abuse and redemption. Dean Cavanagh is an award-winning screenwriter adn film and TV producer.
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Marabou Stork Nightmares is an experimental novel by Irvine Welsh , and his second novel, published in the UK in The book's narrative is split into two styles: a conventional first-person account of the past and a more surreal , stream-of-consciousness account of an otherworldly present. Like many of Welsh's novels, it is written in Edinburgh Scots dialect. The plot consists of the memories and hallucinations of the protagonist, Roy Strang, making him an extreme example of an unreliable narrator. Roy Strang narrates the book from an at first unexplained coma, which he has been in for the previous two years.