Jim Francis has finally found the perfect life - and is now unrecognisable, even to himself. A successful painter and sculptor, he lives quietly with his wife, Melanie, and their two young daughters in an affluent beach town in California. Some say he's a fake and a con man while others see him as a genuine visionary.
But Francis has a very dark past, with another identity and a very different set of values. When he crosses the Atlantic to his native Scotland for the funeral of a murdered son he barely knew, his old Edinburgh community expects him to take bloody revenge.
But as he confronts his previous life, all those friends and enemies - and, most alarmingly, his former self - Francis seems to have other ideas. When Melanie discovers something gruesome in California that indicates her husband's violent past might also be his psychotic present, things start to go very bad very quickly.
The Blade Artist is an elegant, electrifying novel - ultraviolent but curiously redemptive - and it marks the return of one of modern fiction's most infamous, terrifying characters: the incendiary Francis Begbie from Trainspotting.
©2016 Irvine Welsh (P)2016 Random House Audiobooks
Kildonan by the sea
We have met Francis Begbie before he was in Trainspotting, then again in the sequel Porno, then in the prequel Skagboys but now he has a new identity and a new name Jim Francis. He lives in california with a beautiful wife and two daughters, he adores them and would do anything to protect them; and he does.
He carries two lives in him, one is normal the other one is pure violence, controlled restrained but never too far never too controlled when is safe to let go, in that moment in that instant he reverts to the enjoyment of absolute destruction of a rival, perceived or real.
This is an ultraviolent tale with no moral compass, or redeemable characters Irvine Welsh is the most nihilistic of modern writer and presents us with a world that is amoral and one second away from barbarism. He enjoys his depictions of a brutal Scotland or Edinburgh, even taking digs at Glasgow gangsters for liking publicity.
Entertaining is fast paced and violent to the extreme, with no redeemable values or lessons of any kind, this is a book that enjoys the milieu it inhabits and celebrates the machismo it exudes from every pore.
A top book from Welsh. Full marks for content & narration by Tam Dean Byrne.
Nice little cliffhanger in the very last minute of the book... To be continued.
need to see what else he's narrated.
couldn't believe the Luke warm reviews the book gets. it seems to be a victim of the strength of the Beggbie character in previous books. These dissenting views seem to revolve around the unrealistic reformation of the psycho beggars, but as he descends again, the changes in his accent and morality are ver subtle.
Let's face it, if your a fan of skag boys, trainspotting and porno, then you have no choice but to read this, so you might as well emerse yourself in it and have faith in the auther.
I would definitely revisit it again in a few years.
Another great book by Irvine Welsh, read brilliantly by Tam Dean Burn - who is probably my favourite audio book reader. The story reprises the psychopath Franko Begby character from earlier books (Skagboys, Trainspotting & Porno) but with a great twist. One or two of the other characters from those books make cameo appearances too, which I thought was a great touch. I thought this was a fantastic story and thoroughly enjoyed it - despite the underlying violence and menace of the story, Welsh has that amazing ability to make it very darkly hilarious in places as he's done with his other books. My only negative comment is that I would have liked it to be longer because I just love Welsh's writing style and the fantastic characters he creates. To be fair though, whenever I've listened to one of his books, I've not wanted them to end. Please give us some more soon Mr. Welsh...
Great to see another character in Welsh's Edinburgh back and on top!
I love the way he jumps from past to present and back, filling in the back story as the main one moves on.
The title suggests that Begbie has never changed but at the beginning it's hard to tell. There are some great twists along the way while the story navigates a timeline between Begbie's youth and the present. Paradoxically, he is a changed man just not in the way he presents this new image to the world.
Great narration, too. Tam Dean Burn offers a mellow Scottish accent that will reach listeners' ears around the world - it's definitely not too strong; moreover he switches too - and captures - local dialects well across the characters.
I really enjoyed this book. Was a bit slow to start with but the usual twists and action built up. would definately recommend for fans of irvine welsh and Francis begbie!
"Welsh's best work since "Crime""
This is probably Welsh's best book since "Crime" and might even top that one. If you're a fan, you owe it to yourself to read this, especially if you've read "Trainspotting". If you're not, I still suggest giving this a go if you like your reading to be a little off the beaten path but still highly accessible and thoroughly rewarding...
"Strong work from Irvine Welsh"
I have to admit I'm an Irvine Welsh fan, but I believe this is one of his best works. It's a very well paced story about one of his most notorious and memorable characters, Frank Begby and the double life he has come to live.
Tam Dean Burn does a great job as always.
"Tam Dean Burn is magic. thanks mr. welsh, begbie"
amazing character acting. stunning material. Welsh at a different tempo, but at his best nonethesless
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