A Decent Ride by Irvine Welsh

A Decent Ride - Irvine Welsh

I’m so unbelievably bummed this book is finished! I’ve had a lot of *stuff* going on lately and this book took my mind off it all and I got really attached to the brilliant character’s that Irvine Welsh always does so well.


A transgressive style comedy, this book focused on Terry, a taxi driver from Edinburgh. I’ve just found out that Terry featured in another novel by Irvine Welsh, Glue, which I’m going to give another try after a couple of previous failed attempts. I think I’ll have the motivation to finish it now because of how much I loved Terry and my desire to now know more about him. I kind of wish I’d read it before this, but I doubt it’ll matter that much.


As is typical of Irvine Welsh books, it’s written mostly in Scottish dialect which can slow your reading pace down and take a while to get used to. Now that I’ve read a few of his books though, I wouldn’t want it any other way.


Here’s the synopsis for you:


Can Terry discover the fate of the missing beauty, Jinty Magdalen, and keep her idiot-savant lover, the man-child Wee Jonty, out of prison?


Will he find out the real motives of unscrupulous American businessman and reality-TV star, Ronald Checker?


And, crucially, will Terry be able to negotiate life after a terrible event robs him of his sexual virility, and can a new fascination for the game of golf help him to live without… A DECENT RIDE?


The story was in a mixture of first/third person and told in the present tense.


The book’s told mostly from Terry’s perspective but there are some chapters told by people such as Ronnie Checker (Terry’s American friend) and Jonty (Terry’s slightly challenged, but loveable friend). There’s also a couple of red herring chapters, and when I worked out who was narrating them I had such a laugh!


It goes without saying that, as is customary with Irvine Welsh, the characters were fantastic, regardless of whether you loved or hated them. There aren’t any characters to full-out hate here, although there are a couple, like Ronnie Checker, who I didn’t particularly like, but didn’t hate, regardless of his shallow nature. You could say that all the characters were shallow in their own particular way (except for Johnty), be it a focus on sex or money, but the thing is with this author that regardless of how shallow the characters are, they’re often shown to possess a great level of humanity. For example, Terry grew throughout the novel and he’s a guy that, regardless of his lifestyle, I think will be hard for anyone to hate. Johnty was a chief aspect and while he was a bit slow and did some pretty vile things, he grew on me to a great extent and I found myself rooting for him.


As with all Irvine Welsh books there were some pretty disgusting scenes, but they were always cloaked in humour. So while these scenes are sometimes difficult to read, they always posess a light-hearted feel. There’s some pretty graphic scenes as well, so be prepared!


The story, while not seemingly important was told in such a way that it begged to be heard and tackled some real issues below its surface. This story is really about the characters though, and similarly the humour, which they all reflect so well. Don’t go into this expecting much tension. Go into it for the characters.


I haven’t given this the full five stars only because it’s not a book I’ll be thinking about for a long time or would re-read, but I had a great time with it and highly recommend it.