Marabou Stork Nightmares
- Publication Date:
- 29 February 1996
- Modern & Contemporary
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If you can accept violence and other off-putting contents of a book and want to enjoy a novel that’s compulsively readable, this is it! If you’ve never before heard of Irvine Welsh, he is the Scottish author who is best know for his novel Trainspotting which was subsequently made into a movie. Start with that book and make yourself familiar with the Scottish dialect he uses in it before beginning to read Marabou Stork Nightmares. Use an online glossary, if necessary, to help understand the Scottish vocabulary.Your next step should be to read this book which is incredibly imaginative. It’s the story of one Scottish lad and his family who live in the projects of Edinburgh, move to Johannesburg, South Africa, but end up returning to Scotland. As the story opens, Roy Strang lays in a coma in a hospital. We follow his story on three levels: as he becomes aware of his current environment, as he remembers his past, and as he forces himself into a deeper state of consciousness in which he and a pal are hunting a Marabou Stork.Oddly, what brought me to reading this book in the first place was a challenge to read a book with the name of a bird in its title! When I looked up that marabou stork, I found one truly ugly bird and wanted to learn more about it, albeit in the form of a novel. What I found was a truly captivating story of an Edinburgh family, a brilliant piece of fiction that I could not put down. Granted that some of the contents of this book (sex, violence, animal abuse) may be off-putting to a few readers, however I was really taken up by the voice of the narrator. The compelling nature of this story reinforced my need to read more books by this author.
I am still thoroughly impressed each time I think of the effort and thought and pure genius imagination that must have gone in to creating this twisted, cerebral, and completely innovative story. Certainly not for the faint of heart, but if you can stomach violence, rape, drugs, and other forms of abuse and deranged characters, this book is worth the read. There's nothing quite like it.
A wholly uncomfortable read with grotesque unpleasant characters. It is a book I've kept but am not sure I'll ever want to re-read. All of which sounds negative, but it is a very good book. The writing style takes a bit of getting used to and it isn't for the easily-offended.
My favorite Irvine Welsh novel, very inventive.
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