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Irvine Welsh's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Irvine Welsh recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Irvine Welsh's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Loss (Gus Dury, #3)

Gus Dury is a changed man. He is off the Edinburgh streets & back with estranged wife, Debs. He has promised her that he won't get involved in any more dodgy cases. Above all, he's off the drink. Then his brother, Michael, is found dead with a bullet in his heart and Gus' life begins to unravel all over again. less
Recommended by Irvine Welsh, and 1 others.

Irvine WelshI have chosen this book because, coming from Edinburgh, I see Tony Black as a guy who really writes well about a working-class Edinburgh punter with his main character Gus Dury. And this is a character I recognise. Most of the fiction books about Edinburgh are geared for the tourist but this is actually geared for the punter – the kind of young guy on the dole, sitting in Robbie’s in the... (Source)

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The Glister

Acclaimed author John Burnside delivers a profound, page-turning novel about innocence, evil, morality, and the dark corners of the human psyche.

Mysterious illnesses affect the inhabitants of the post-industrial village of Innertown, and a pervasive sense of malaise hangs everywhere. So when teenage boys disappear into the poisoned woods surrounding the village’s abandoned chemical plant, no one notices, or if they do, they don’t say a thing. Not even the town’s only cop, whose leads have long since died. To one boy, however, the chemical plant is beautiful, and it is there he...
Recommended by Irvine Welsh, and 1 others.

Irvine WelshI did a review of this for The Guardian and it is a bit of a misnomer to call it a crime book. The thing that I like about this book is that there is this chemical plant that has poisoned everyone, which becomes a bit of a character in the book. John Burnside is a fantastic writer and a great poet as well and you can see the poetic influence in the writing. It really draws you in and you actually... (Source)

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The Cutting Room

When Rilke, a dissolute and promiscuous auctioneer, comes upon a hidden collection of violent and highly disturbing photographs, he feels compelled to unearth more about the deceased owner who coveted them.

What follows is a compulsive journey of discovery, decadence, and deviousness that leads Rilke into a dark underworld of transvestite clubs, seedy bars, and porn shops. In this hidden city haunted by a host of vividly drawn characters, Rilke comes face to face with the dark desires and illicit urges that lurk behind even the most respectable facades.

Recommended by Irvine Welsh, and 1 others.

Irvine WelshShe is a bit like Dostoyevsky in the way that she uses the existential thriller and the crime genre as a way of exploring individuals’ relationships with society. (Source)

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Gone, Baby, Gone

“Powerful and raw, harrowing, and unsentimental.”

Washington Post Book World


“Chilling, completely credible….[An] absolutely gripping story.”

Chicago Tribune


“Mr. Lehane delivers big time.”
Wall Street Journal


In Gone, Baby, Gone, the master of the new noir, New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island), vividly captures the complex beauty and darkness of working-class Boston. A gripping, deeply evocative...
Recommended by Irvine Welsh, Simon Kernick, and 2 others.

Irvine WelshHe is one of the few classic thriller writers who really writes about contemporary social issues. The quality of the writing is absolutely superb and it moves you along. (Source)

Simon KernickI love this book; this really is a thriller, and a beautifully written one. For me, Dennis Lehane is one of the best American thriller writers alive today. This is one of his early books from his Kenzie and Gennaro series – a male and female partnership of private investigators based in Boston. He wrote five books featuring them in the 1990s. (Source)

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This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work.This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute... more

Esther PerelYou can reread the Russians. They are timeless. (Source)

Irvine WelshIt is not a crime book in the way that we understand crime fiction today. Instead it is like an existential psychological thriller. (Source)

Ben Domenech@SohrabAhmari @li88yinc @jgcrum @BlueBoxDave @InezFeltscher @JarrettStepman Maybe the best book ever written. (Source)

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