The Cutting Room (novel)

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The Cutting Room
The Cutting Room (book).jpg
2003 paperback edition
Author Louise Welsh
Country Scotland
Language English
Genre Crime/Literary fiction
Publisher Canongate (UK)
Publication date
Media type Print (hardcover and paperback)
Pages 293 (paperback)
ISBN 1-84195-404-7
OCLC 51781600
Followed by 'Tamburlaine Must Die'

The Cutting Room is the debut novel of Scottish author Louise Welsh. The book was first published in 2002 by Edinburgh-based publisher Canongate. It has won several awards including the 2002 Saltire Society First Book Award.

Plot summary[edit]

The novel, set in Glasgow, revolves around the central character, Rilke, an auctioneer who has agreed to quickly process and sell an inventory of largely valuable contents belonging to a recently deceased old man in exchange for a considerable fee. While sorting through some of the possessions in an attic, he comes across a collection of violent and potentially snuff pornography that appears to document the death of a mysterious young woman.

Starting with local pornography trade contacts, Rilke sets out to discover this woman's identity and uncover the story behind her appearance in the disturbing photographs.

Critical reception[edit]

The novel received a highly positive reception from critics. The Guardian described it as a "gleefully black, knowing first novel", also noting that it "effortlessly glides [from a detective novel] into literary fiction".[1] For The Independent, the novel presented a "hugely commendable debut, assured and memorable" and "a genuinely creepy, grisly little tale".[2]

The Sunday Times described The Cutting Room as: "one of the most intriguing, assured and unputdownable debuts to come out of Scotland in recent years".[3] The List was particularly impressed by Welsh's portrayal of Glasgow: "...the city becomes a character in its own right; Gothic, dismal, decaying and frightening in equal measure".[4]

The novel won several awards, including the Saltire Society First Book Award 2002, the Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey Memorial Dagger Award 2002 and the BBC Underground Award 2003.[3]


The novel was adapted for the stage a year after publication, the world premiere taking place in the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow in October 2003.[5]

Plans to produce a film version of the novel were at an advanced stage in 2004. The film was set to star Robert Carlyle as Rilke with a screenplay from Andrea Gibb, and was due to be filmed on location in the West End of Glasgow, but the project failed to materialise.[4][6] Carlyle did, however, contribute to an audiobook version of the novel in 2006.[7]


  1. ^ "More tease, less stip; Review: The Cutting Room". The Guardian. 31 August 2002. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "The literary beauty of a Glaswegian beast: The Cutting Room by Louise Welsh". The Independent. 9 August 2002. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Louise Welsh bibliography at Meet at the Gate". Canongate Books. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "The Cutting Room, Louise Welsh (2002)". The List. 1 January 2005. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "The Cutting Room - World Premiere". Edinburgh Guide. 22 October 2003. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "The scriptwriter at Hollywood's cuttind edge". The Herald. 22 February 2004. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "The Cutting Room (Audiobook)". WorldCat. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 

External links[edit]