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But it only took a couple of pages of his latest book for the memories to come flooding back, of the day I first opened Trainspotting in the early 1990s and came face to face with Renton, Begbie, Sick Boy and the rest of the motley crew.
The sheer awfulness of what Welsh had committed to paper was so compelling I could barely put the book down.
In The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins Welsh has again created warped and vicious characters capable of monstrous thoughts and deeds, this time in the personal trainer/fitness world of Miami Beach, and has again presented them to the reader in a liberal wrapping of foul language, sexual earthiness (some might say depravity) and dark obsessions.
For 460-plus pages, the crazed lives of Lucy Brennan and Lena Sorenson, who are thrown together in bizarre circumstances, unravel in a relentless torrent of abuse and weird twists and turns.
The reader is left to speculate, just as we did with Trainspotting: do such wretched people exist in real life, or merely in the slime-coated recesses of Welsh's boundless and brilliant imagination?
- Dave Cannan is ODT day editor.