Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The bedroom secrets of Masterchefs!

You'd like to know these, wouldn't you? But even Irvine Welsh's book of this name does not give them away entirely.

'Tis another book set in the bowels of Leith (Edinburgh) where guys are tough and girls have more sense than getting involved with the guys. Unusally Welsh strays to the outskirts of Embra - though the character from there, Brian, is a total anorak - does not drink or smoke, is a virgin, goes hillwalking and to Star Trek conventions; attracts bullies like flies.

Both Brian and Danny from Leith, a hard drinking, drug-taking son of a punk single mother from Leith, are inspectors in Edinburgh Council's public health department, who go out and inspect restaurants. You can imagine how Danny reacts when clean living Brian arrives in the workplace....

Danny has another problem. He does not know who his father is, except that he thinks he is a chef. His mother absolutely refuses to tell him..... This is his real goal in life, finding his father - so he tracks down everyone who ever worked in a particular pub which his mother frequented in her green hair days. Will he find the answer? He certainly finds out who cannot be his father.

The story develops a rather bizarre link between Brian and Danny; one that could not happen 'in real life'. It's weird - while the events in Welsh's books could not happen in sober middle-class life, they are perfectly reasonable in the drug-fuelled environment that he usually writes about. But in this book drugs do not fuel everything, not all the time. It must also be the book with the most disgusting sex scene ever (and it's consensual sex). You would not want to meet that over your breakfast.

I liked the book, apart from the slight weirdness. Lots of Embra places to recognise; the language is fairly easy even for non-Scots speakers. Of course there's plenty of violence (quite interesting violence at times) but you wouldn't read an Irvine Welsh book if you were sensitive about this. Like all his books, it is very, very funny. Good value for money, too - it's quite a long book with small printing....

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