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Psycho Too Hardcover – December 22, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (December 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608190226
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608190225
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #527,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The travel essays and fantasias in this raucous sequel to Psychogeography register the psychic impact of place while mapping out the author's idiosyncratic mental terrain. Novelist Self views his surroundings through the lens of his gripes, alternately dire and whimsical, with modernity, embodied by the “vertical desert” of Dubai's soulless skyscrapers. He's not overly fond of antiquity, either: during a visit to Jerusalem, the Wailing Wall and the Via Dolorosa strike him, respectively, as “a large pile of breeze blocks and a rather smelly alley.” (Sometimes his surroundings fight back, as when he's attacked by seagulls in Scotland.) His ramblings sometimes wander into fictional riffs, like an imaginary trip to Bill Gates's house to discuss space-time and an account of “The Great Vomit Wave of '08,” during which the world's insupportable debt is physically regurgitated. Self's scabrous, amphetamine prose revels in odd details and twisted associations; for him, every map is a Rorschach blot that brings national sexual perversions leaping to mind. (Steadman's evocative illustrations, which look as if Jackson Pollock had dripped on cartoons by Picasso, provide an appropriately demented visual commentary.) Self is far from a reliable tour guide, but his eye for seldom-trod byways and offbeat insights make him a diverting travel companion. (Jan.)
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From Booklist

In this follow-up to Self and Steadman’s earlier collaboration, Psychogeography (2007), Self offers up another collection of essays, accompanied by Steadman’s unique illustrations. Self, the British novelist and essayist, is known for his unconventional and frequently surreal novels (very much in the mold of J. G. Ballard, one of Self’s literary heroes). Here, in his familiar engaging and idiosyncratic prose style, he writes about a replica Britain off the coast of Dubai; the British fascination with miniatures; his favorite places to walk in the winter; and other subjects that range from the unusual to the downright bizarre. These essays and their illustrations were originally published in the British newspaper The Independent, and it’s amusing to wonder what readers made of Steadman’s brilliant but often unsettling artwork (an illustration accompanying the Dubai essay, for example, renders a series of oceanfront high-rises as a collection of Giger-like skeletal monstrosities). An engaging and completely unusual book. --David Pitt

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sirin on January 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Will Self began his psychogeography excursions in the legacy of 1950s French Situationist Guy Debord. A man who, with his mates, decided that if they got hog whimperingly drunk on red wine and wandered across Paris they would break the man-machine matrix of modern capitalism with its micro-worlds of work-consume-die.

They failed, unsurprisingly. But Will Self is a contemporary version of the Situationists as he refuses to comply with our everyday modes of transport - the hermetically sealed units of plane, car, taxi that constrain our working and leisure lives. He has carved a niche in the walking world of 'airport walks' - walking from airports into city centres, a walk no one else takes. The aim is to crash different zones together. So in his first book on psychogeogrpahy Self walked from his house, to Heathrow, then flew to JFK and walked from there to Manhattan. Self claims the body doesn't register the flight so the walk feels seamless from South London straight to the centre of New York.

This time he repeats the trick with an even more bizarre walk from the late J.G. Ballard's house to 'The World' - a simulacrum of the world on a series of floating islands in Dubai. A preposterous venture, now seemingly doomed by the credit crunch. Self's meditations on the weird atmosphere of the Arab playground are rendered with terrific scabrous abrasion: at one point he coins one of his most scatalogical metaphors describing Dubai with its 'priapic skyscrapers and lubrication of Western fast food fat, alcohol and sun cream, being thrust into the parted arse cheeks of the rest of the umma - an act of tectonic sodomy that might have been purposely calculated to inflame the honour of the Islamists'.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ireadabookaday VINE VOICE on March 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Much more than travel essays, this is a book on " psychogeography" - examining the effects of both natural and man-made environments on the psyche. As any collection of columns is likely to be, this is an uneven book, sometimes repetitive, but full of small delights. Self's use of language is quirky and original- entire lines stuck in my head after reading. The most significant piece is the long and meaty essay on Dubai, and the weakest is on Bill Gates.Steadman's drawings do complement Self's style, and as evocative as the text is, I'd rather have had photos as I will likely never see the majority of these places.
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Intriguing story following the authors thoughts around to go w/the great pictures that make this make book book pop. You'll want it displayed out so you and family + guest will have easy access to this piece of work.
And, when you have time Will Selfs writings are great to immerse your self in and expand your mind in.
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