Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys - stories by Booker-shortlisted author Will Self'Self at his most nihilistic and funny; you'll laugh and flinch at the same time' Guardian'Self has turned out an hilarious collection, with the requisite touch of disorientation. "Flytopia", the story about a man who suddenly finds flies more lovable than his girlfriend, follows the Kafkaesque line Self opened with his recent novel Great Apes - man as animal ... "Story for Europe", about a two-year-old north Londoner who suddenly starts speaking business German, is comic genius' Brenda Maddox, New Statesman'When Will Self wants to step outside his cultivated amoral threshold and shock us into rage, the effect can be profound ... an awesome London Dungeon of a collection ... Self is a massive talent' Time Out'He has a powerful sense of place: the murkier streets of London ... where anything can happen ... And modernity is his urgent subject' The TimesFor readers of The Book of Dave and Umbrella, Tough, Tough Boys... will also be adored by readers of Martin Amis, David Mitchell and Irvine Welsh.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.
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Will Self's tabloid-friendly reputation as a connoisseur of proscribed substances should not obscure the fact that he can write many of his contemporaries under the table. His latest collection, Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys, is filled with typically Selfish confections: gritty chunks of reality wrapped in a sweet shell of exquisitely funny and intelligent writing. Admittedly, some of the stories here feel a little underdeveloped, as if the author were flexing his literary muscles and showing how easily he can make highbrow style dirty-dance with his lowbrow obsessions, but even the least of them is a bravura performance by an expert wordsmith. Self's obvious pleasure in bringing his extraordinary talents to bear on the seamiest of subjects is irresistible: the description of a crack cocaine rush that closes the first story, for example, is quite possibly more intoxicating than the drug itself.
But the greater part of the book complements that dazzling style with deeper pleasures. As he ranges from the hilarious tale of a remarkable infant who babbles in business German ("Bemess-bemess-bemessungsgrundlage!") to a troubled psychiatrist's journey toward the abyss, Self shows an uncanny knack for mixing realism and absurdity. The closing piece, a short novella about a wrongly convicted sex offender's attempt to win a short-story prize, is the most assured of all. In this author's hands, the barely articulate conversations of career criminals are transformed into poetry, and the struggles of the central character are both moving and wickedly funny:
In prison, in the English winter, the word crepuscular acquires new resonance, new intensity.... For here and now is an eternity of forty-watt bulbs, an Empty Quarter of linoleum, and a lost world of distempered walls. It's an environment of corridors and walkways, a space that taunts with the idea of progression towards arrival; then delivers only a TV room full of modular plastic chairs and Styrofoam beakers napalmed by fag ends.In Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys Will Self shows once again that he's someone to be reckoned with. The kind of writer a society needs, he uses his wit as a crowbar to pry open the cracks in our culture. --Simon Leake From the Back Cover:
Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys is a new collection of cork-screwed tales from the author of Great Apes. The Guardian (London) describes Will Self as "a wayward genius," and you can find out why when you observe the author's pitiless dissection of the foibles of men, women, and the Volvo 760 Turbo.
Self's world is a no-funhouse of warped mirrors. A man is seduced into a misanthropically charged symbiosis with the insects infesting his cottage-he has entered "Flytopia." In "A Story for Europe," a two-year-old English child utters his first, halting words . . . in business German. In "Caring, Sharing," status-conscious New Yorkers navigate the perils of dating along with their very literal "inner children." In "The Rock of Crack as Big as the Ritz," a black Londoner discovers an enormous rock of crack cocaine underpinning his house-and quickly turns it into an efficient little empire. In the title story a psychoanalyst strips away all the sangfroid of his professionalism to find beneath . . . precisely nothing. And in the short novella "The Nonce Prize," a man framed for a sex crime he didn't commit finds that his only way out is to win a short-story competition. Sharp, funny, and packed with verbal fireworks, Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys confirms yet again Will Self's stature as one of the most accomplished and original writers of his generation.
Will Self's debut novel The Quantity Theory of Insanity won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. He is also the author of Cock & Bull, My Idea of Fun, Grey Area, and Great Apes. He lives in London.
Praise for Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys:
"Self's cleverness is already familiar to his readers; this collection demonstrates that his prowess with the distinctly nonfantastic can be as gripping as his most disturbing hallucinogenic visions."-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Self's satires combine humanity with ingenuity, manifesting a Swiftian obsession with scale, a Kafkaesque fixation with blind alleys and the narrative legerdemain of Jorge Luis Borges."-The Times Literary Supplement (London)
"Immaculate, sometimes smooth as sharkskin and elsewhere purveying the scumbered prose that used to invoke comparisons with Amis . . . But while we're doling out the comparisons, it seems only right to mention Swift. . . . This is a thoroughly enjoyable collection that soon leaves the foreshore and sails us through the clear blue waters of bizarre fantasy."-The Spectator (London)
"Self is edgy, ruthless, warped, brilliant-each extreme fueled by his distinct sense of moral indignation."-Esquire (U.K.)
"Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys . . . shows [Will Self] no less keen on getting his hands dirty in the oily sump of the male psyche. . . . At his least florid and most deadpan, Self recalls Kurt Vonnegut."-The Independent on Sunday (London)
"Some of Self's best work to date."-Scotland on Sunday (Edinburgh)
"Will Self . . . wanders back and forth across the reality divide with the playful confidence of one who has created both worlds . . . hilarious."-The New Statesman & Society (London)
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Book Description Mar 04, 1999. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 140282866