More reviews of Shark pt II

The Financial Times: “… an intoxicating experience. Self’s powerful command of language animates the intense prose while his dry wit is given a freer rein than in Umbrella. Shark drives remorselessly on; it takes us with it.”

The Mail on Sunday: “Self is on a mission to revive modernist fiction and newcomers will find the text, excised of paragraphs and most punctuation, tough at first. But it is unmatched for vibrancy and sensation, and befits the novel’s raw, disturbing subjects – the traumatised lives that orbit Dr Busner’s therapeutic community.”

Shark uncaged

Will Self’s new novel, Shark, is published in the UK today by Penguin. The Daily Telegraph‘s five-star review hails it as “a truly wonderful novel … an exciting, mesmerising, wonderfully disturbing book. Go with it and it’ll suck you under”. The Guardian‘s review says that “Umbrella was about how humanity brilliantly innovates; Shark is about how it constantly devastates … I have every expectation that when this trilogy does conclude, it will be recognised as the most remorseless vivisection and plangent evocation of our sad, silly, solemn and strange last century.”

To read a short extract from Shark, visit the Guardian website here.

‘Jaws without the Shark’

‘A couple of years ago, when I was in the closing stages of working on my last novel, Umbrella, I began casting around for a new subject for the next one. I greatly admire WG Sebald’s The Emigrants, which tells the stories of six refugees from the Nazis without heavy-handedly describing the mechanics of the persecution that the regime visited on Jews, gay people and the politically suspect. Following this pattern, I conceived of writing a novel about some of the more interesting characters I had known during my two decades in the netherworld of drug addiction. I would fictionalise their stories, of course, but more importantly, I would never mention, or otherwise allude to, the reasons why these people lost jobs, experienced relationship-breakdown, moved abroad, and went to hospital or jail. Their addiction would remain a strange sort of absence, deforming the course of their lives but never emerging into the full light of day. My working rubric for the novel was “Jaws without the shark”.