Books

Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press

Grey Area

and Other Stories

by Will Self

“If Magritte had been a writer instead of a painter, his work might have looked something like the nine stories in Grey Area. . . . Self is daring, original, and possessed of both an antic wit and a thoroughly jaundiced view of modern society.” –The Washington Post

  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Page Count 304
  • Publication Date March 20, 1997
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8711-3673-2
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $14.00
  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Publication Date October 16, 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-9335-3
  • US List Price $14.00

About The Book

Will Self, whom the Los Angeles Times calls “the hottest young novelist in England,” demonstrates his razor-sharp wit in these nine new stories. Self’s method depends upon taking an ordinary aspect of the world and then pushing it to its limit in furious absurdity. The short stories in Grey Area reflect the technical brilliance and satiric voice that have made him one of the most highly praised comic writers in a decade.

These are stories that delve into the modern psyche with unsettling and darkly satiric results. “Inclusion®” tells the story of a doctor who is illegally testing a new antidepressant made from bee excrement. “A Short History of the English Novel” brings us face to face with a pompous publisher who is greeted at every turn by countless rejected authors. In “The End of the Relationship” a woman who has been left by her boyfriend provokes – “like some emotional Typhoid Mary” – that same reaction among all the couples she goes to for comfort. The narrator of “Between the Conceits’ declares without hesitation that London is controlled by only eight individuals, and, thankfully, he is one of them. Self’s world in these pieces is both curiously familiar and hauntingly strange.

Published to critical acclaim in England, Grey Area is a dazzling collection by one of the most talented and original writers of his generation.

Praise

“If Magritte had been a writer instead of a painter, his work might have looked something like the nine stories in Grey Area. . . . Self is daring, original, and possessed of both an antic wit and a thoroughly jaundiced view of modern society.” –The Washington Post

“The worlds [Self] sketches in Grey Area are as weird as you could ask and laugh-out-loud funny in the bargain. . . . The nine stories here collectively paint a picture of the Zeitgeist as it might be if God got bored one day and turned the extremity knob up to 11. As a satirist, Self is up there with American masters Terry Southern and Paul Krassner. . . . Self may be the sharpest, funniest comic writer working the short-story form today.” –Houston Chronicle

“In Grey Area, Will Self again brilliantly explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, hitting uncomfortably close to home. . . . A book that challenges, absorbs, and delights.” –USA Today

“[An] incomparable talent . . . he is a supreme recreator of the particular sensual detail of things, objects and surfaces. In Will Self’s fictional universe, all reality is virtual reality, imagined into existence by individuals seeking a distraction from the meaningless internal roiling of themselves. This may not add up to much in terms of a philosophy–but in terms of fictional experience, Mr. Self is creating some of the most unusual and challenging landscapes around.” –The New York Times Book Review

‘Self’s antic imagination and technical inventiveness have made him one of the most original young contemporary authors. . . . As far as style and unending cleverness are concerned, Will Self, sentence to sentence, is very much in command. And the ideas for the stories are ingenious.” –Chicago Tribune

“Self is too talented a writer to ignore.” –Entertainment Weekly

“Once again bringing piercing wit and narrative virtuosity to the short-story form . . . Self inlays subtle connections among all nine stories and repeatedly delves into themes of egotism, neurosis, charlatanism and conformity, and he does it all in crisp, economical prose enriched with the evocative diction of a confirmed logophile.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Awards

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year