"Marabou Stork Nightmares," by Irvine Welsh. W.W. Norton...


January 14, 1996|By Melissa Grace

"Marabou Stork Nightmares," by Irvine Welsh. W.W. Norton & Co 264 pages. $21

This is a nightmare-fantasy of predatory life in an Edinburgunderclass neighborhood, a modern, post-industrial, Scottish breeding ground for child abuse, child molestation, incest and rape. Violence, feeding a cycle of thug-ish pride, is manifest in the Brit-hooliganism of "fitba" crews.

The author takes the reader deep into the heart, the family, the street life and, ultimately, the horror of narrator Roy Strang. Life scars leave him searching for a way out. When he can't find it he gets revenge. The ugliness of thought and action is shocking, but offers a view of the cause of violence. The author builds, slowly and masterfully, the suspense. His mastery of lowland Scot dialect and the sheer power of the writing are impossible to disengage from.

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