Birds of a Feather?: A Postcolonial Reading of Irvine Welsh's Marabou Stork Nightmares
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In this essay Irvine Welsh’s most disturbing novel, Marabou Stork Nightmares (1995), is placed within a postcolonial framework. The novel centres on the cultural and political context of the set of violent relationships that form the experience of a young working-class Edinburgh man. Welsh draws an analogy between the plight of Scotland’s urban poor and the victims of apartheid in South Africa, a comparison whose appropriateness is challenged by critics who see in it an act of appropriation. But the real problem with Welsh’s comparative class analysis is its gendered politics, exemplified by the way in which the brutal gang rape at the centre of the novel is displaced onto its margins.