From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. From Self, the British master of the satirical fantasy, comes a loquacious and inventive farce about the demise of civilization. Tom Brodzinski, relaxing on vacation in the postcolonial Feltham Islands, sets off a string of unfortunate events when he flicks a cigarette butt off his hotel balcony. It lands on the scalp of tourist Reginald Lincoln III. Reggie's happy to laugh it off, but things slide from bad to worse when Reggie is hospitalized and Tom is charged with assault with a projectile weapon with a toxic payload. After a chaotic trial, Tom is ordered to pay a restitution of two good hunting riffles, a set coking pots and $10,000. The catch is that the restitution needs to take place in the tribal heartland. This launches Tom and Brian Prentice, another foreign transgressor (Tom suspects pedophilia), on an expedition of Conradian proportions during which Tom is tormented by Brian's rotten, cloacal physicality. Self (The Book of Dave
; How the Dead Live
; etc.) confirms his reputation for pulling off cleverly modeled literary experiments. This one is at times exhausting, but if you can stick with him, Self successfully presents an ironic and timely metaphor for our post-9/11 Bigger Brother world. (Sept.)
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“Horribly compelling…The Butt
is a hideously engaged, overwritten, barking masterpiece.”—Independent
“An accomplished satirist…Polysyllabically perverse.”—New York Times Book Review
“Though Self’s landscape is his own invention, Brodzinski’s odyssey parallels the Coalition of the Willing’s misadventures in Iraq and bears a strong resemblance to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
…[The] shocking conclusion amounts to a scathing indictment.”—Los Angeles Times
“An allegorical satire…Brilliantly chilling, damning.”—Observer
“The British master of the satirical fantasy…Self successfully presents an ironic and timely metaphor for our post-9/11 Bigger Brother world.”—Publishers Weekly