Willby Will Self
From “Britain’s reigning poet of the night” (Boston Globe), a long-awaited memoir of the artist as a young addict
" " " "
Unflinching, intoxicating, heartfelt, and propelled by an exceptional energy, Will is the long-awaited memoir by Will Self, whose works have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and translated into over twenty languages. A portrait of the artist as a young addict, Will is one of the most eloquent and unusual depictions of the allure of hard drugs ever written.
Will spins the reader from Self’s childhood in a quiet North London suburb to his mind-expanding education at Oxford, to a Burroughsian trip to Morocco, an outback vision in Australia, and, finally, a surreal turn in rehab. Echoing the great Modernist writers of the early twentieth century in its psychedelic stream of consciousness, Will is vividly imagistic and mordantly witty. It is both künstlerroman and confessional, a tale of excess and degradation, a karmic cycle that leads back to the author’s own lack of… will.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month (Biography & Memoirs)
“Good copy: Will isn’t short on it.”—Christian Lorentzen, Airmail
“Will looks back to Self’s adolescence and early 20s, when he was strung out on smack, and presents himself as a wheedling, whining bully who treated his friends, family and lovers with that junkie’s inversion of the categorical imperative: seeing others only as a means of achieving his next fix . . . Recalls the great wave of drug memoirs that came in the 1990s, and particularly Ann Marlow’s superb, genre-bending How to Stop Time: Heroin from A to Z . . . The book is a joy to read, with the final part in particular recalling David Foster Wallace at his best . . .There’s more than mere nostalgic pleasure in this gleefully self-lacerating memoir of drug abuse and rehab.”—Guardian
“Harrowing—and, occasionally, humorous . . . Much to his credit, Self shows us everything (emphasis on every), thus defusing any chance of readers romanticizing his buying-and-selling days as an extended hedonistic vacation . . . Readers of William S. Burroughs and Beat literature, as well as experiential journals from Djuna Barnes, Paul Bowles, and Hunter S. Thompson will find here much to endure and enjoy.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“A painfully honest exploration of the nightmare of addiction . . . A keen, remarkably unsparing observer of his disastrous early adulthood . . . His manic style evokes both Hunter S. Thompson and Anthony Burgess in A Clockwork Orange.”—Book Reporter
“One of Britain’s most inspired writers employs his novelist style to a chronicle of his addictions . . . A third-person, no-holds-barred tale of [Self’s] fascinating life . . . His readers won’t be surprised by this heady stew of J.G. Ballard, Hunter S. Thompson, and Philip K. Dick . . . The prose is consistently spectacular . . . A tale of addiction and consequences by the singular Self earns its shock and awe.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[Self’s] memoir finds recovery in the form of friendships and the miracle that he somehow found the resolve to survive.”—Booklist
“Will Self may not be the last modernist at work but at the moment he’s the most fascinating of the tradition’s torch bearers.”—New York
“Self is the most daring and delightful novelist of his generation, a writer whose formidable intellect is mercilessly targeted on the limits of the cerebral as a means of understanding. Yes, he makes you think, but he also insists that you feel.”—Guardian
“Mr. Self often enough writes with such vividness it’s as if he is the first person to see anything at all.”—New York Times
“Self writes in a high-modernist, hallucinatory, stream-of-consciousness style, leaping between sentences, time periods, and perspectives . . . The reward is a strange, vivid book.”—New Yorker
“Self’s prose demands real attention, but is never less than sharp, biting and incisive. Prepare to be eaten whole.”—Independent
“Like the work of the great high modernists from the 1920s, like Joyce, Woolf and Eliot, there is a kind of chaotic beauty in Self’s unrestricted writing . . . You’ll be simultaneously entertained, mesmerized, intellectually stimulated, baffled—and laugh your ass off.”—NPR
“Will Self’s Phone will be one of the most significant literary works of our century . . . Over and above the intellectual sprezzatura of the work, there is, at its heart, an emotional core, a profound sense of grief.”—New Statesman
“[Phone] delivers a hurricane of satire and suspense . . . A novel of grand ideas, powered by a ravenous curiosity about the role of the technological revolution in our private and public woes . . . William S. Burroughs, meet John le Carré.”—Financial Times
“Self has indeed been a goat among the sheep of contemporary English fiction, a puckish trickster self-consciously at odds with its middle-class politeness . . . Writers, too, as Self so wonderfully proves, can awaken the half-dead and reanimate that which has been sunk in oblivion.”—New York Review of Books