Book Review: If You Liked School, You’ll Love Work

Welsh’s third collection of short stories…

Image result for if you liked school, you'll love work

I’m a massive fan of the Irvine Welsh oeuvre and while his best work probably takes place in the Trainspotting universe, you can always count on the Leith maestro to pen something bleaky interesting and darkly engaging. If You Liked School, You’ll Love Work is Welsh’s third collection of short stories after The Acid House and Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance and at £1.50 from a second hand bookshop it was a veritable bargain for the likes of me. As a resident of Doncaster, one of the roughest places in the UK, I have met people like those that features in Welsh’s work, and I feel a proud kinship with Welsh’s working class tales of fitba, fucking and Fife.

Split across five stories, If You Liked School… shows Welsh at his most decadent (Rattlesnakes) and also his most tender (Kingdom of Fife). The latter is both the longest and the best short story in the collection, and is a kind of Romeo and Juliet story if Shakespeare had included references to table football and dog fighting. The eponymous short story and The DOGS of Lincoln Park are enjoyable if forgettable yarns through the eyes of an ex-pat shagging his way across the Canary Islands and unbearable American yuppies respectively, but Miss Arizona takes second prize in the collection as a twisted tale of art and obsession.

Welsh is brutal, provocative and yet often exquisite, and while there are moments of appalling decadence throughout this collection, it is never, ever boring. And that is the key to Irvine Welsh and his work. He isn’t always perfect. Far from it. But he is always entertaining.

I’m a bit behind on Welsh’s bibliography at the moment having not read anything since 2012’s Skag Boys but with time now stretching out in front of us like sunshine over Leith, I might as well stock up…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *