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Book 7: Marabou Stork Nightmares

November 16, 2009


This book, by Irvine Welsh, surprised me by how much I got into it.  I have read one other of his books, Trainspotting, and while I enjoyed it, I had trouble following the “plot” and my interest was in and out as I read it.  I remember liking it when I was finished, but not so much while I read it, if that makes any sense.

Marabou is different.  The form of the novel is different from most, as is his style, but it isn’t that hard to follow.  Basically, Roy Strang is in a coma.  While he is in a coma, he, as narrator, goes in and out of a few story lines that make up the book.

One part of the novel is his life up to the current time, describing his childhood in Scotland/South Africa, his life as a Hebs football club hooligan (mostly consisting of fighting anyone and anything in their way), and his downfall as a relatively good person.

The next story line is a coma induced, childhood terror inspired, story of the hunt for the Marabou Stork with another man in jungle of South Africa. Complete with cock sizing tales of clashes with sharks and lions, distrust and rape of locals, and  a touch of homo eroticism.

It all culminates into an intertwining of the stories as he can hear the people around him in the hospital infirmary while he is in the coma.  He can hear his past mistakes coming back to haunt him in the form of recurring characters as he tries to force his mind back into the fictitious plot in order to avoid his awful reality.  This all ends with what can only be described in terms of the most god awful thing that can ever happen.

I really enjoyed this book a lot.  His style of writing can take a toll if you’re not used to something like accented english spelled phonetically like a Scotsman would talk, but I found that I quickly adjusted, eventually to a point where I found the foreign style to be intriguing in its originality.  Most of the time, it’s very easy to hear the voices of the characters speaking in my head like a movie, and the back and forth movement between the plots kept me at attention waiting to find out what happens next.

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