To buy an unabridged audio book version of Umbrella, by Whole Story Audiobooks, which has also produced audio versions of The Butt, Liver (read by Will), The Book of Dave (also read by Will) and How the Dead Live, go to Amazon here.
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 Whole Story Audiobooks’ unabridged audio book version of Will Self’s novel The Butt will be available from July 1. For more details, visit Amazon here. Arena magazine said: “Epic and bitterly funny, this stew of satire and linguistic wizardry is everything you’d expect from Britain’s master of misanthropy.”
“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”
“Alan Ayckbourn once wrote a play with 48 variant endings depending on whether a character chose to smoke a cigarette in the first scene. None of them is quite as preposterous as the fate that befalls Will Self’s hero, Tom Brodzinski, when he unthinkingly flips a stub over the balcony of his holiday home, causing mild burns to the man in the apartment below. A simple accident soon develops into a punitive sequence of compensation claims handled by extortionate lawyers and incompetent witch-doctors. The location is anyone’s guess – reference to dunnies and interior desert indicates Australia, though the insurgency going on suggests Afghanistan or Iraq. The invented anthropology is adeptly realised, though it also leads to passages of Self indulgence, such as lingering over arcane rituals whose significance is known only to the author. The satire comes with a Swiftian sense of indignation, though the continued harping about prohibition in public places suggests that the one thing that really irks him is anti-smoking legislation. Alfred Hickling.”
Will Self is going to be discussing The Butt and Liver with Nicholas Blincoe on Wednesday May 29 at the London Review bookshop, 14 Bury Place, London WC1, tickets £6. For more details, go here.
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.”
Interview with Will Self in the Eastern Daily Press last month.