Saturday, July 08, 2006
A.C.T has just finished reading....
Will Self must have been on drugs when he wrote this brilliantly bizarre collection of short stories. I spent the whole time trying to read this book on the tube with it on my lap or with my hand over the cover so as not to invite strange looks from my fellow commuters.
The cover is taken from a piece of art called Little Death (Castrated) currently at the Tate Modern where a pink dildo, connected to a brain by a white tube, balances precariously on a piece of wood. The book cover has since changed to a more disappointing sober design with a car and a beach. I definitely prefer this one, despite it making for uncomfortable reading.
"Story for Europe", about a two year old toddler from London who speaks only business German, and "Flytopia" about a man that rejects his wife for a group of insects are just a couple of examples of the absurdly hilarious stories in this book.
He goes against all the rules of contemporary writing; his stories are splattered with adverbs, and repetiton. His use of metaphors and imagery are sometimes over the top, but it doesn't matter because it works. He also seems to have a penchant for certain words like 'myriad' and uses different characters called Dave throughout. Absurdly , several of the characters also seem to enjoy lounging around in 'terry-toweling' .
My favourite story is "caring, sharing", set in future New York where adults' emotional needs are met by placid, childlike giants called 'Emotos', although there are not what they seem. The final story "The Nonce Prize", a follow on from the opening story, is a chilling tale about a black crack dealer framed for the murder of a child, the victim of pederasts. The scene where the child is found dismembered, dressed only in a Toy Story T-shirt is both brutal and shocking. If you still have the stomach to carry on reading, the main character's struggle to win a short story prize is moving and at times very funny. The final twist is totally unexpected and will leave you wanting to read more.