How the Dead Live
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|Format: ||Paperback, 416 pages|
|Published In: ||United Kingdom, 01 June 2009|
How the Dead Live - Booker nominee Will Self's hilarious novel about the afterlife'Scathingly entertaining' The Times'Lily is a colossal heroine, a nighttown Molly Bloom ... What begins as a satiric novel of ideas ends as a surprisingly moving elegy' Guardian Scabrous, vicious and unpleasant in life, Lily Bloom has not been improved by death. She has changed addresses, of course, and now inhabits a basement flat in Dulston - London's borough for those no longer troubled by breathing - but if anything her temperament has worsened. Finding it hard to deal with the (enforced) company of a calcified, pop-obsessed foetus, her dead, foul-mouthed son and three gruesome creatures made of her own unwanted fat, she must find something to do with her time. So how do the dead live? And what happens when they stop being dead?'The work of a novelist writing at the height of his powers. It is a horror story, a love-me-do story, a full-frontal assault on the seven deadly sins - and a celebration of them. Lily may be an old cow but she's good company' Evening Standard Will Self is the author of nine novels including Cock and Bull; My Idea of Fun; Great Apes; How the Dead Live; Dorian, an Imitation; The Book of Dave; The Butt; Walking to Hollywood and Umbrella, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He has written five collections of shorter fiction and three novellas: The Quantity Theory of Insanity; Grey Area; License to Hug; The Sweet Smell of Psychosis; Design Faults in the Volvo 760 Turbo; Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys; Dr. Mukti and Other Tales of Woe and Liver: A Fictional Organ with a Surface Anatomy of Four Lobes. Self has also compiled a number of nonfiction works, including The Undivided Self: Selected Stories; Junk Mail; Perfidious Man; Sore Sites; Feeding Frenzy; Psychogeography; Psycho Too and The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Prawn Cracker.
About the Author
Will Self has earned his reputation through a body of innovative work: there's nobody quite like him writing today. He is the author of five novels, four collections of short stories, three novellas and four non-fiction works. As a journalist he has contributed to a plethora of publications over the years; he is also a regular broadcaster on television and radio. He lives in south London.
With a dazzling display of linguistic tricks, this third novel from Self (Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys) leads us through Lilly Bloom's last days and then her eight years in the land of the dead, which, as it turns out, is a small section of London. Lilly's two daughters, responsible Charlotte and drug-addicted Natasha, hover around her as she slips into a coma, but her interior monolog reveals annoyance with her daughters, anger toward her two ex-husbands, self-hatred, and a general disgust with the world. After she dies, she continues tracking her daughters, navigating the deathocracy, and raging about what she should have done in her life. In death, she has to attend AA-type meetings, guided by aboriginal Australian Phar Lap Jones; for company, she has Rude Boy, the son whose death at age nine is partly her responsibility; her unborn child Lithy, a calcified fetus; and her fats, the weight she had lost during her life. It takes an inspired narrative to make this readable, and Self provides it with wit, style, and flair while questions of life and death, feelings and desire, and love and hate swirl around searching for some resolution. Recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/00.]DJoshua Cohen Mid-Hudson Lib. Syst., Poughkeepsie, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
HScathingly satiric and prophetic, this unsettling novel by Great Apes author Self will inevitably inspire comparison with Martin Amis's era-defining London Fields. Running on a vatic rage that is almost Swiftian in the totality of its objectDthe damned human conditionDit sweeps across the charnel-fields of contemporary existence. The enraged center is held by narrator Lily Bloom, a Jewish-American transplant to London. Harsh, unforgivably anti-Semitic, extreme, Lily is a larger-than-life character. In fact, she is literally dead when the reader first meets her. She's biding her afterlife in Dulston, the dead "cystrict" of London. In the first part of the book, she harks back to her terminal illness, when her 30-year-old daughter, Charlotte, arranged for her care. Dutiful, responsible and all too English, Charlotte reminds Lily of her despised second husband, David Yaws, Charlotte's father. Natasha, her younger daughter, is a beautiful drug addict, "far too selfish," as Lily comments, "to think of doing anything for herself. She's entirely centered on what others might do for her." Lily's nine-year-old son, David, or "Rude Boy," a profanity-spouting child crushed by a car in 1957, is reunited with her in the afterlife, as is her petrified still-birth, the "lithopedion," and the fat she lost dieting. Her afterlife guide, Australian aborigine Phar Lap Jones, advises her to give up desire, but Lily wants another turn on the cycle of life and death. Self brilliantly uses Lily's marginal position to comment on a culture structured by the desire to desire. Through Lily's eyes, the reader is granted a vision of the West as a vast, glittering junkiedom. Lily's objection is not political, howeverDit is existential, an accusation of the inevitable failure of the flesh itself. Self's novel will surely figure on best-book lists this year. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Penguin Books Ltd|
19.8 x 12.9 x 2.5 centimetres (0.28 kg)|
15+ years |