“On holiday in a strange desert country, Tom Brodzinski unthinkingly throws a cigarette butt over a hotel balcony; it hits someone, and before Tom can do anything about it, he is accused of assault and swept up in arcane laws that set him on a journey of reparation. This is a fable as well as a slightly uneasy political satire about the indigenous peoples of Australia, and the West’s treatment of Iraq. Will Self has produced a fizzing cocktail of Conrad and Kafka that, while not his best novel, manages to be both immensely readable and mysteriously gripping. Philip Womack“
“Tom Brodzinski, on holiday in a strange, unnamed country, decides to cave in to the strict anti-smoking laws and give up his nicotine habit. First, he wants a final cigarette. When he flicks the butt from the balcony of his rented apartment, it drops on to the head of a man sunbathing below. Forced to make reparations to the victim’s family for this “assault”, Brodzinski begins a nightmare journey of redemption through a crazy landscape ravaged by warfare and characterised by the tribal customs of its inhabitants. Self’s homage to Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is written with razor-sharp descriptions and dark comedy which grip the reader until the concluding pages. Lucy Scholes”
Review of The Butt (now out in paperback, Bloomsbury, £5.99) in the Telegraph: “You can always trust Will Self to take a mildly amusing conceit, blow it up to seemingly absurd proportions and produce something of lasting comic value. The Butt is pure Self, pushing satire to its limits and beyond. A man holidaying in an unnamed country flips the butt of his cigarette off the balcony of his apartment on to the head of another man, which is treated as assault, which carries draconian penalties, which?…?But why give away such a splendidly barmy plot? Just read it.”
The Daily Telegraph review of The Butt:
“Self writes here with an adroit impersonation of coarse exuberance that makes The Butt as readable as a blokeish airport novel (though with a fuddlingly large vocabulary). But just beneath the brash surface shimmer the unmistakable apparitions of Self’s masters: Swift, Voltaire and Lewis Carroll are all partly responsible for the ingenious, mephitic invention that is The Butt.”
Michael Bywater reviews The Butt in The Independent.
of The Butt can be found here