Read Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh Online


In a hospital room in Edinburgh, Roy Strang lies in a coma--which doesn't save him from reliving the sordid developments that brought him to the state. He seems at times to be engaged in a strange quest in a surrealistic Africa to eradicate the evil predator-scavenger bird--the marabou stork--before it drives away the peace-loving flamingos from Lake Torto....

Title : Marabou Stork Nightmares
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780393038453
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 264 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Marabou Stork Nightmares Reviews

  • MJ Nicholls
    2019-06-10 21:46

    Irvine Welsh was the literary hero among my generation of working-class Central Belt Scots for his graphic novels set in Edinburgh sink estates, riddled with sex, drugs, violence, and written in dextrously rendered phonetic dialect. I avoided reading Welsh, since a witless moron at my school rated Trainspotting his favourite book, and thereafter I associated him readers who would read his books to laugh at the banter of the characters, misunderstanding Welsh’s more sober intentions to expose the shocking lives of fear and misery at the heart of places like the scheme in this novel, revelling instead in the casual hedonism aspect. Plus, I have never felt Scottish enough for Scots-centric books to speak to me. This, Welsh’s overlooked second novel, is an interesting experiment in the old coma-patient narrative, weaving a surreal/metaphorical tale of African Marabou stork-hunting around the protagonist Roy Strang’s upbringing in Edinburgh and South Africa, and his adult life as a football thug. A devastating gang rape forms the moral kernel of the novel and Welsh excels in particular in the scenes of tense horror and violence, and is less successful with the surreal humour. Smaller font size and various typographical quirks are employed to reasonable effect (with nods to Hubert Selby), although the overall product is somewhat muddled in its response to the rape (pushing into didactic repentance towards the novel’s faux-shocking over-the-top finale).

  • Ashley
    2019-05-21 03:04

    I realize I haven't read Trainspotting, or even a great deal of Irvine Welsh's work, but let me go out on a limb here and say that this is my favorite.The characters, especially the main character, are all deliciously real. Characteristic of Welsh, in my experience, is the atmosphere of darkness and desperation interjected with some even blacker humor. His ability to get me to sympathize with the main character, even after I'd read the end, was pretty remarkable. And not in the way you like Alex from A Clockwork Orange BECAUSE he's evil.And the nightmares, well...I won't say the nightmares are the best part because that would be misleading and also advocates a simplistic relationship with this book. But they are fantastic.

  • Greg
    2019-05-25 01:48

    Stylistically this is Welsh's best work. Along with Glue it's the books of his that show him to be a really great writer who has much more up his sleeve than just drugs and violence (although he writes about these things so well, that it's not a bad thing when I say that). Why this book isn't one of those books people come in to the store looking for all the time is beyond me.

  • Paul Bryant
    2019-06-07 23:45

    Turns out that Irvine Welsh is not a one-trick pony, he's a one and a half trick pony. He wowed us all with his filthy funny tales of Scottish smackheads in Trainspotting, one of the ALL time black comedies, they don't come any blacker or funnier, and then it was kind of - follow that. So this one does involve similar young Scottish druggies, but it has a plot, which emerges in a similar manner to the spring in Monty Python's Spring Surprise from the Crunchy Frog sketch :Health inspector: What's this one, 'spring surprise'? Mr Milton the confectioner: Ah - now, that's our speciality - covered with darkest creamy chocolate. When you pop it in your mouth steel bolts spring out and plunge straight through-both cheeks. Health inspector: Well where's the pleasure in that? So Marabou Stork Nightmares is recommended for those who like their fiction to pierce both cheeks.

  • Xandra
    2019-06-02 02:57

    It’s about a coma patient who calls everyone a cunt as he’s chasing a big stork through South Africa.

  • Matt
    2019-05-22 20:49

    In many ways, this book was brilliant: the structure of flitting between his coma state, memories of his childhood, and an African hunting fantasy. Also, the way he physically structures words on the page really conveys the polyphonic stream of consciousness of a person in a coma. And the Scottish phonetic spellings are just plain fun. That said, this book disturbed me as no other book has done--and not in a good way. I genuinely feel traumatized by it. It is not so much the fact that violent things happen (I mean, that is life for some folks) but that it is almost naturalized through the narrative voice which so consistently embodies an incredibly hateful misogyny, homophobia, racism, etc. I mean, sometimes you can't even come up for air, and women are never referred to in anything approaching a humanizing way, always instead as crass sexual objects. Rape, torture, incest, animal torture, sexual abuse, physical abuse, meaningless sex--it's all in here. Lovely.

  • F
    2019-05-31 20:47

    Need to read again soon

  • Ciarán West
    2019-06-03 20:58

    I think my own books are probably mostly influenced by King and Koontz (in a non-horror way), but if ever I need to justify the dialect (in Boys of Summer) or the graphic nature (in Girl Afraid), I turn to Irvine or to Chuck. When people say 'Oh, readers will find it hard to understand what your characters are saying', I point at Trainspotting, Filth, or this one, and go 'NUH-HUH!'. The people have a point, of course. Not everyone can read an Irvine Welsh book. But there is a sense of smug satisfaction if you can, and happen to Not Be Scottish into the bargain.This book is in Scottish. And it's fucking horrific. I was taken to school by this novel, in terms of how depraved and vomit-inducing a book can be in its descriptions, and in the general thoughts and behaviour of its characters. And I liked it. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with an author like Alice Sebold, who can tell you a horrific tale, without giving you the gory details. In fact, like swearing in stand-up comedy, there is a skill and an art to making the reader uncomfortable without showing them the pus and the bile upfront. Equally though, there is a skill in being able to show it all, and not come off reading like a hack.Some of the worst self-published books out there are a product of No Editor, No Regulation, and, as well as the awful prose, their biggest flaws often involve an inability to tone down the unpalatable. In Girl Afraid, I toned down pretty much everything, but the horror still exists in the reader's mind. That alone might make them not want to carry on reading. I get that, but it's a chance I have to take.In this book, Welsh gives a unique viewpoint and narrative, the like of which I hadn't seen before, or haven't seen since. The story is told backwards, and there is a creeping sensation that the narrator's recollection of events might be opinion-based rather than fact. It's gripping, all the way through; and, like any of his books, the lack of a sympathetic protagonist stops being an issue once you are ensconced in the tale. You find yourself identifying with people regardless. It's a skill Welsh has, and I envy it.Will you like this book? It depends. Did you like any of his others? Do you have a strong stomach? Do you like to be put through an emotional wringer? Yes, yes, and yes? Then you'll love it. And you'll probably love my books too. Go read the sample of them on here, because Irvine Welsh already has enough money, and I need new Hush Puppies.

  • Lindsay
    2019-06-03 04:46

    Mind. Blown.The angle of this story is incredible to begin with; a coma patient tell his story.Sometimes, he (Roy) slipps close to the surface and hears conversations or music around him, a level below that he recounts actual memories from his life, and even deeper, he hunts the metaphorical stork with his friend and companion, footballer Sandy Jameison. He feels that he will be ready to resurface and wake up when he finally kills the stork, which he believes encompasses everything negative and harmful that he's experienced in his life. A lot of what Roy recounts from his childhood is sad and pathetic, while much of his adulthood memories are disgusting and violent. Many different mature themes are discussed, such as the drinking of alcohol, taking of illegal drugs, physical violence, rape... this is not a book for the faint of heart.When I finished it, I just sort of sat there, staring blankly ahead of me, my mind racing with what had just been revealed. It's that sort of book.If you're not afraid of violent cursing as well as the aforementioned themes, then go ahead and read this fantastic book. Modern Scottish literature at its finest...Very. Good. Stuff.

  • Nate D
    2019-06-12 03:50

    Harsh, inventive, horrifying, and desperately sad. Lacks the glorious sprawl of Trainspotting, which directly preceded it, opting instead for what may be Welsh's most tightly-coiled plotting to date. And his greatest sense of conscience, his strongest turn as a social reformer. The ending, through an appropriate scrim of sensationalism, actually manages to be both heart-rending and insightful, in a manner that Welsh rarely manages.

  • Karl
    2019-06-06 23:00

    Still think this is his best book.

  • Ubik 2.0
    2019-05-24 02:58

    Il cielo sopra Edinburgo Nella lettura di (quasi) tutte le opere di Welsh mi era rimasto indietro, non so perchè (forse inconsciamente respinto dall'immagine poco accattivante del marabù in copertina) questo Tolleranza Zero. Grave lacuna! mi hanno ammonito gli amici anobiiani welshiani. E avevano ragione...Si tratta infatti di uno dei migliori esempi di quell'inimitabile stile, cinico, crudele e violento, che negli anni 90 l'autore sapeva utilizzare con maestria direi molto superiore a quanto ci sta offrendo nelle sue ultime prove un po' asfittiche. In Tolleranza zero i personaggi, le situazioni, i dialoghi, l'ambientazione edinburghese sono quelli suoi tipici, ma qui il racconto è ben strutturato ed ancorato in modo solido a un soggetto forte, dove Welsh si permette addirittura geniali virtuosismi di scrittura, come il periodico affollarsi dei diversi livelli di coscienza del protagonista, espressi tramite variazioni (direi quasi fibrillazioni) dei caratteri di stampa.Spicca come sempre la profonda amoralità dei personaggi, senza alcuna eccezione, siano essi bulletti da pub o da curva Nord oppure i componenti di una delle famiglie più distoniche della narrativa contemporanea, amoralità che Welsh condivide con altri scrittori altrettanto "cattivi" sebbene profondamente diversi (Ellis? Houellebecq?). Essa si estrinseca qui in comportamenti di crescente brutalità, verbale e materiale, verso i deboli (donne, bambini, animali) fino a ritorcersi contro gli autori stessi della violenza, con l'entrata in gioco di un elemento ancor più crudele e sarcastico di loro: il destino...Ed è nella fantasia che i meno bestiali di questi scoppiati edinburghesi, come il protagonista di Tolleranza Zero, cercano di fuggire dalla realtà immergendosi negli strati più profondi della propria coscienza ma imbattendosi in sogni che presto diventano incubi, concretizzati dalla demoniaca figura del marabù vera rappresentazione dell'ineluttabilità del male.

  • Allan
    2019-05-24 02:07

    This book left me freaked out for weeks. It's told from the perspective of someone in a coma, drifting in and out of three levels of awareness: nearly aware of his real surroundings; remembering the events of his life that led him to be in this coma; and in a surreal fantasy African safari. Very well written, easy to follow despite the narrative tricks, and with a narrator that will draw you in somewhat against your will.

  • Jfed55
    2019-06-19 02:52

    I was always drunk on stolen Vodka when I read this, so my appraisal would not necessarily be reliable....Or maybe it would be much more so than normal.

  • Jason
    2019-05-31 20:47

    My first time through this book I thought Irvine Welsh had completely reinvented himself. The beginning of the novel left me thinking that the entirety was going to be some deranged acid trip of whirring images and slurred sounds. It doesn't take long for Welsh to slip into his familiar role of Edinburgh scheme documentarian, a role of which he is the master.The reader travels between Roy Strang's African dreamland and his memory of growing up in the toughest part of Edinburgh. Gradually, you realize that the African element of the novel is the least important to informing the characters in this book. Through the scheme flashbacks the reader comes to sympathize with Roy despite his less than stellar moral fiber. In Roy Strang Welsh has built up a character so strong that you almost (ALMOST) feel sorry for what happens to him in the end.This novel gets slagged because it apparently doesn't live up to Trainspotting, but Welsh has taken the best parts of that novel (the character development, the scheme imagery, etc.) and applied to one central character. At times you almost forget that Roy lies comatose in a hospital, but you will remember the images Welsh puts into your mind. Do yourself a favor and read this book.

  • Keri
    2019-06-16 00:45

    Irvine Welsh is sometimes hard for me to read; his characters are the kind of people you know exist in the world, but you wish they didn't. There are no heroes (well, sometimes there's an antihero), and the protagonist is usually the character you come to hate the most. That being said, however, his books are always powerful, always disturbing, and always very well written. If you can't handle gratuitous violence, these are not the books for you. If you sometimes like a book that makes you want to scream and laugh at the same time, you might like these. I still haven't read Trainspotting, although I enjoyed the movie... maybe I'll get up the nerve sometime.

  • Jena
    2019-05-30 23:58

    Possibly the most disturbing book I have ever read. After I finished the last page I felt like I had been run over by a truck.

  • Stargazer
    2019-05-23 00:51

    the usual stomach-churning stuff, compelling as ever, and love the style it's written in but not one of my favourites.

  • Dane Cobain
    2019-06-01 01:09

    This book was probably my favourite of all of the Irvine Welsh books that I’ve read so far, although I do still have three or four to work through. And there’s a big twist at the end of it that I’m going to have to try to avoid spoiling, but it knocked me for six and left a lasting memory, so much so that whilst I haven’t re-read it yet, I want to.It features Welsh’s inimitable writing style, as his work always does, but it also plays with elements like the layout of the book, and spacing, and it just generally qualifies as some of the author’s more experimental work. Considering that he’s already ‘alternative‘, and well away from what most people think of as a mainstream writer, you can see why that means this might be difficult to read, although it’s worth soldiering on and it’s not too different from some of the other experimental stuff that I’ve seen, but then I seek it out.This is a pretty good book to start out with if you’re new to Welsh’s work, but I wouldn’t say that it’s exactly representative – it’s just different, and that’s what makes it worth recommending. Welsh has written plenty of good books, and all of them are worth reading, but this stands out from them by being different and so it’s definitely earned a place on your bookcase. So what are you waiting for? Go out and grab a copy of it so you can read it.

  • Matt Algiers
    2019-06-08 21:47

    This time through, I think Irvine Welsh missed the target. Marabou Stork Nightmares is as well written as anything Mr. Welsh has yet done, but I truly failed to care about anything happening in this book. Welsh is a master craftsman with his words, but I think he was simply trying too hard for something distinct here. His power with language is Welsh's strongest talent, and he uses it to the fullest in this book, but it fails to amaze. It is kinda cool, when he switches from fantasy to reality, and the words themselves change to follow his whims, but it just can't save Marabou Stork Nightmares. What I truly did like however, was a glimpse into Irvine Welsh's soul. His desire (and I imagine the desire of many Scottish people) to leave the grim reality of their country and live a life full of adventure and old-timey imperialistic glory somewhere exotic and sunny is clearly evident. I read to understand the mind of an author, and sometimes to escape, but mostly it's the chance to spy into a complete stranger psyche. If you read for similar reasons, I'd suggest checking out Marabou Stork Nightmares

  • Martin Boyle
    2019-06-15 21:04

    This is a deeply unpleasant story. There is nothing to like about Roy Strang or his family, or his friends, or his world of mindless and casual violence.But as Roy's story forces its way through the grotesque nightmares - themselves repulsive - based around a hatred of the marabou stork, you realise that the nightmares are a shield against the unpleasantness of his current predicament and his even worse and more frightening memories. Memories that led to desperation even in someone as callous as Roy.I guess the reputation of Irvine Welsh should have warned me!The book is imaginatively told in its unsettling typesetting and in the erratic way the story unfolds. Prepare for sharp changes of scene, sudden recalibrations of expectation or perspective (never for the better!). Even the storks retain a power to surprise.Don't read this without due warning. And don't believe the critics' suggestions that it is "a funny ... novel. But it is a strong novel and gives an unsettling glimpse of a world I'd rather not be too acquainted with: this is as close as I want to get!

  • Kalin Rheanne
    2019-06-12 01:51

    A masterpiece of style and characterization, Maribou Stork Nightmares is rife with poignant themes which are extremely relevant today, and perhaps will always be. Welsh has simultaneously written in a way that is blatant with its symbolism, but layered to make the text enjoyable and accessible to readers of all levels. The phonetic spelling of the Scottish accent sprinkled throughout is tough to discern at first but reading comes with ease after a chapter or two, so I highly recommend pushing through.Roy is a complex character to say the least. Welsh has developed three distinct yet interwoven persona for the man. The reader is force to empathize with and understand Roy while simultaneously jerked through his split mind and experiences, including his own gut wrenching acts, which challenges concepts of morality and humanity.A nightmare in itself, reflecting the most savage aspects of humanity, Maribou Stork Nightmares is a must read. And despite its advanced philosophical, political, social, and psychological themes, Nightmares is deliciously entertaining and hilarious (for those with a dark sense of humor).

  • Robert
    2019-06-03 23:00

    Irvine Welsh's second novel is probably his best one, even better than Trainspotting. The story consists of Roy Strang, an oddball who's obsessed with birds, with the exception of Marabou Storks and invade his dreams.As Roy is growing up he encounters the usual trials, bullying, going out with girls, doing drugs etc. However his problems start when he devises a brutal form of revenge on the snobbiest girl at school. Early Welsh could do no wrong and with this book the scene shifts from the present day, Roy's disturbing past (spoiler: a dog dies a brutal death) and a meta-narrative of Roy hunting a stork in South Africa. Soon all narratives get mixed up and Roy cannot distinguish between his fantasy world and the cruel reality and life changing actions he is performing. Marabou Stork Nightmares display Welsh's themes at their best: Violence, Social commentary and Drugs. There's a feminist slant to this novel, which I liked as well. Definitely the best one to start with if you've never read Welsh before.

  • JK
    2019-05-29 21:58

    I'm a massive Irvine Welsh fan, and Marabou Stork Nightmares is one of my favourites. It's incredibly raw, brutal and disturbing, the characters are all horribly real people, all of whom you know in real life, but wish you didn't.It's told from the perspective of Roy Strang - a man in a coma, and flits between his hallucinations of a life in South Africa hunting Marabou Storks, what's happening around him in hospital, and his memories of his life. It's wonderfully executed using a non-traditional format, such as changes in typeface, to make you feel that you're drifting in and out of awareness of different worlds with Roy. These layers kept me incredibly engaged and continually intrigued throughout the entire novel.It's definitely not a book for the faint of heart. Difficult subject matter, or gore, has never really bothered me in a book, but I know of people who have stopped reading halfway through, or even binned the book, because of the awful things that go on inside it. You feel a bit dirty after you've finished.

  • Vicky Parkinson
    2019-06-13 02:45

    Its a difficult book to explain without giving the game away too much or making it sound a bit more superficial than I think it actually is.So, we have an instantly dislikeable narrator who is telling his story from a hospital bed whilst in a coma. He's flitting between levels of consciousness, seemingly at will, to avoid what's going on around him but also to avoid the depths of his psyche which takes the form of an African adventure in search of the Marabou Stork. Yep. Not what I was expecting either.It's an engrossing exploration of the cycle of abuse and poverty among many other socio-economic issues, placed in a narrative which we can never quite trust. Blame is also an interesting theme here. Are people who do bad things simply making a choice to be evil or is there more to it than that in which case who's fault is it?I liked it. I'm not a huge fan of other Irvine Welsh novels so if like me, you'd given up on Porno and Trainspotting, don't give up on Irvine Welsh altogether and give this one a go.

  • Shawn Fahey
    2019-06-10 03:01

    Solid book from a solid writer. If you're a fan of Welsh's work, you know what you're getting yourself into. If you like his books I will definitely say this is one of my favorites of his. If not, let me briefly explain. This is a dark and pretty disturbing book. It was hard to put down, I finished it in a few days. Entertaining plot, but dark nonetheless. The kind of book that gives you a funny feeling in the pit of your stomach while you're reading it. If you can handle disturbing writing (murder, rape, mental illness, drug use, etc) then this book may be right for you. If you're looking for happy-go-lucky, you may want to avoid Welsh altogether. Well written, solid characters (the despair of the main character has you feeling for him despite the heinous things he does throughout the book), very creative and compelling plot, and even has its share of (dark) humour. I laughed out loud more than once. I really like Welsh's work, but it's a bit too dark for me. Enjoy.

  • Carlos Panhoca Da silva
    2019-06-01 03:05

    Já haviam me avisado que é o mais doentio dos livros dele. Foi o único dele que li e não tinha nenhum traço de humor só tragédia atrás de tragédia.Estrutura do texto e diagramação impecáveis que seriam utilizadas novamente no Filth, narrativa não-linear misturando as três tramas (paciente em coma que não quer acordar contando sua história, o pesadelo que dá título ao livro e os acontecimentos às cegas no quarto que está internado); personagens detestáveis em rota de colisão num mundo onde não existe esperança, não existe segundas chances. Um livro que só te causa dor por 200 páginas e fecha com um dos melhores finais que já li. Possivelmente a melhor coisa que lerei esse ano.

  • Aaron Wilkinson
    2019-06-12 22:04

    More disturbing than "Crime" (never thought I'd be able to say that) and (by the end) more contemptible than "Filth". Roy Strang's in a coma and he doesn't want to come out of it which begs the question "what's the cunt hiding from?" It's hard getting a straight answer out of the soccer hooligan/system analyst/sociopath but he tells a good story. I'll be honest, the continuing image of the marabou stork eating the flamingo's head leads to a disgusting last two pages but I don't have any more difficulty empathizing with Roy than I do with DS Bruce Robertson. Yes, it's ultraviolent, disturbing and more than a tad brilliant...typical Welsh. Awesome book but read at your own risk.

  • Tyler
    2019-05-22 22:50

    This was a good book but I was disapointed with the end. Come on who would of thought that he would almost come out of the acoma but the girl that his friends raped(even though he didn't) would cut off his dick and then shove in down his throat. very very disapointed

  • Jeremy Andriano
    2019-05-25 01:05

    You will empathize with the narrator... and you will nearly vomit with disgust once he fully reveals himself. Thought Dostoyevsky pulled a neat trick with C&P? This is a modern revival that old question: Is redemption ALWAYS possible?