17 reader reviews
“Lily is a cynical character. Little is spared her criticism, especially England and the English. There’s great fun in all of this – Lily, despite her cynicism, or perhaps because of it, becomes a sympathetic character, and many of her observations about England rang (uncomfortably) true. There’s lots more to enjoy in this novel, as Self is an imaginative writer, despite the fact that for lots of the time the reader is in familiar “Self country”, where Jewishness, drug culture and hospitals figure prominently.
However, I felt that at times Self was struggling to keep the plot from flagging: at various points, he abandoned the first person narrative in order to develop sub-plots centred on the private life of Lily’s two daughters. It almost seemed as if Self became more interested in these sub-plots as the book develped, but he couldn’t cover them by continued use of the first person narrator. The result is that, at times, the book had a patched-together, over-extended feel to it. Cutting a hundred or so pages might have made it a tighter, more enjoyable read.” – Mr G. Rodgers