In his first short-story collection since "The Acid House", Irvine Welsh sets us five tricky questions. In "Rattlesnakes" how do three young Americans find themselves lost in the desert, and why does one find himself performing fellatio on another while being watched by the bare-breasted Madeline and two armed Mexicans? Who is the mysterious Korean chef who has moved upstairs to Chicago socialite Kendra Cross, in "The D.O.G.S. of Lincoln Park'", and what does he have to do with the disappearance of her faithful pooch Toto? In the title story, can Mickey Baker - an ex-pat English bar-owner ducking and diving on the Costa Brava - manage to keep all his balls in the air: maintaining his barmaid Cynthia's body weight at the sexual maximum while attending to the youthful Persephone and dodging his persistent ex-wife and a pair of Spanish gangsters? By what train of events does Raymond Wilson Butler, writing a biography of a legendary US film director in "Miss Arizona" come to end up as a piece of movie memorabilia?
And how, in the novella "The Kingdom of Fife" will Jason King - diminutive ex-trainee jockey and Subbuteo star of Cowdenbeath - fare in the world of middle-class female equestrians, and will he ever enjoy the tender and long-anticipated charms of Jenni Cahill and her remarkable jodhpurs? All of these questions are posed, and answered, in these five extraordinary stories: stories that remind us that Irvine Welsh is a master of the shorter form, a brilliant storyteller, and - unarguably - one of the funniest and filthiest writers in Britain.
Irvine Welsh is the author of seven previous works of fiction, most recently The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs. He lives in Dublin.