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The reliably diabolical Self delivers four longish stories about decay, debauchery and deliverance, each at least tangentially related to London's Plantation Club. In Foie Humain, the Plantation Club is revealed to be a Soho drunkard's institution forever lost in the foggy forties and frequented by a crew of brash boozehounds. Among them, Isobel, the daughter of the protagonist of Leberknödel, Joyce Beddoes, who, stricken with nausea, sickly-sour and putrid; a painfully swollen belly and a hot wire in her urethra, ventures with Isobel to Zurich for an assisted suicide. Self's wry humor takes Joyce on an unexpected adventure as her cancer-ridden liver leads her from Birmingham to Switzerland and into a mess of religious intrigue. The same wit, and a mess of the Plantation's peripheral characters, continues through two more tales, Prometheus, about a London advertising executive whose liver is nibbled upon daily by a vulture in exchange for bigger pitches with bigger spends, and Birdy Num Num, the least exciting of the collection, which follows a gaggle of junkies. Despite the occasional hiccup, Self's parts function quite well together to produce a picture of putrid beauty. (Nov.)
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In his latest collection, Self again writes of drug addiction and egos and the destruction of the titular organ.... Each story has a distinctive voice--Self employs linguistic bravado in all. (Library Journal)
Wit, furious energy, an idiosyncratic intellect and ornate, often strong language mark this British writer's darkly offbeat fiction... Brilliant and blistering. (Kirkus Reviews)
Will Self is rightly admired for the sheer energy of his writing, his pyrotechnic wit and wordplay, and his willingness to experiment with genre and narrative...He is undoubtedly one of contemporary literature's showmen. (Sunday Times (UK))
Self writes with more energy than any other living British writer. 'Leberknödel' (liver dumplings), is outstanding...the work of a writer at the peak of his power. Self reveals himself to be a naturalist manqué...in a tradition that runs from Marlowe, Milton and Blake. (Daily Telegraph (UK))
Peculiar, subtle, affecting and humane... It is a vertiginous, swooping vision that can lay London out like a body... It is all tremendous fun, and sometimes much more than that. Self has always had a blunt brilliance... These stories are busy with stylistic experiment, high-concept in-jokes, verbal impasto and flights of fancy which test the limits of narrative. (Guardian (UK))
All of Self's hallmarks are in place here: a prose style that scuds from the slangy to the hypertrophic and back; a keen sense of place; a sharp satirist's eye coldly cast on fashionable London; and a fondness for what might be called the High Concept (Times Literary Supplement (UK))
As the literary equivalent of Francis Bacon, Will Self continually challenges readers with biological overload... What counts most throughout is Self's enthralling, muscular and sometimes even joyous use of language. His writing propels one of the greatest arguments for freedom of speech that I can think of; you may not like his subject matter but his obsidian brilliance is incontrovertible, shocking and humane (Independent (UK))