Feeding Frenzy – Guardian Review

From The Guardian review of Feeding Frenzy by Zulfikar Abbany, November 11, 2001

Feeding Frenzy sets a marker on Self’s career, not least because the unorthodox restaurant reviews he wrote for The Observer, from 1995-97, are collated here – reviews that afforded him a notoriety with which he colluded. While readers choked on their laughter, cooks across the country were after Self’s blood.

The selection in Feeding Frenzy is vast. Essays taken from art catalogues sit comfortably next to travel pieces and a notable interview with Salman Rushdie, a man, who, perhaps not unlike Self, has been ‘demonised by the media and popular perceptions’. But before reading any of Feeding Frenzy, it is advisable to consult the index, which covers not only the usual ‘people, places and things, but also ideas, obsessions and my own irritating stylistic tics’, so as to include ‘tongues, locking’, matching socks and shoes, co-ordinated foot- and sockwear’, and ‘snicker-snack, fateful, of psychosis’.

Self has always considered himself a writer, as opposed to either an author and/or a journalist. He writes to commission. And although there are certain things he would rather not touch, such as reviewing the screenplay of Natural Born Killers, throughout this collection he displays a severe knack for turning the merest detail into the most essential one. Just turn to the index and look up Barratt Homes and read how Self indulged one Friday morning in ‘reverse commuting’ to discover that there existed at least one word that, until then, he didn’t know: ‘flaunching’.

Read the full review online