Greg Heinimann at Bloomsbury has created a series of new book covers for Will Self’s back catalogue to coincide with the paperback publication of Walking to Hollywood (below) in September. The new covers are for My Idea of Fun, The Quantity Theory of Insanity, Cock & Bull, The Sweet Smell of Psychosis, Junk Mail, Grey Area, Great Apes and The Butt.
Read a short report about it in Creative Review here.
The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living: Mortality, the Corpse and the Fiction of Will Self.
Death, according to Jacque Lynn Foltyn, has replaced sex as the 21st century’s definitive taboo. While the valance has long since been ripped away from the collective Victorian piano leg, the corpse, meanwhile, has become primed with symbolic explosives, threatening the very foundations of society built upon the mythology of modernist progress. Be it the computer-generated cadavers of CSI Miami, or Gunther von Hagens’ reality TV autopsies, Foltyn argues that the human corpse has become an increasingly pervasive object of revulsion and attraction in our culture, a site of anxiety about medicine’s failure to conquer, but enthusiasm to hide, death. With all this in mind, it’s not surprising to find that the fiction of Will Self – an author who frequently weaves his narratives in, around, and beyond the boundaries of taboo – is one who showcases several literary autopsies, in which death and the human corpse are explored with a surgeon’s eye (and, more often than not, a coroner’s tongue). More...
An edited version of this article was printed in the Guardian Review, October 3
Nick Cave risked upsetting his friend Will Self, who loathes writers who read out anything other than the first chapter, by reading a section towards the end of his new novel, The Death of Bunny Munro, at a packed Old Market Hall in Hove on Wednesday night.
For much of the evening it was the Cave and Self deadpan double act. Self asked him why he came back to write prose after 20 years since his debut, And the Ass Saw the Angel. “I got asked to do it,” was Cave’s straight-bat reply.
“So, Madame Bovary. C’est moi. Is Bunny Munro you?” asked Self.
“No,” replied Cave. More...
“I think the previous two reviews are evidence enough that this book needs to be read…anything that can sway opinion so widely demands attention. It’s a dirty, smart, sickening, hilarious book, and no matter which (if any) of these four descriptions you agree with you have to admit that it is a brilliant piece of work. I read it a few years ago and it is now in the possession of an acrimonious ex girlfriend, so I’m just here to buy it again. I strongly urge you to also. ” – A Reader
“Mr. Self’s “Cock & Bull: Twin Novellas” and the story collection “The Quantity Theory of Insanity” were prologue. Although he is British and this novel is set in England, it has family resemblances to the work not only of Nabokov, but also of Thomas Pynchon, William Gaddis and Don DeLillo. For intelligence and ambition, for inventiveness, comedy, heartbreak and ferocity, for his representation of the human interior as occupied and vandalized by science and business, Will Self belongs in their company.”