Synopses & Reviews
British satirist Will Self spins four interconnected stories into a brilliantly insightful commentary on human foibles and resilience.
Will Self's remarkable new stories center on the disease and decay that target the largest of human organs: the liver. Set in locales as toxic as a London drinking club and mundane as a clinic in an ultraorderly Swiss city, the stories distill the hard lives of their subjects whether alcoholic, drug addict, or cancer patient. I n Fois Humane, set at the Plantation Club, it's always a Tuesday afternoon in midwinter, and the shivering denizens of this dusty realm spend their days observing its proprietor as he force-feeds the barman vodkaspiked beer. Joyce Beddoes, protagonist of Leberknodel, has terminal liver cancer and is on her way to be euthanized in Zurich when, miraculously, her disease goes into remission. In Prometheus a young copywriter at London's most cutting edge ad agency has his liver nibbled by a griffon thrice daily, but he's always in the pink the following morning and ready to make that killer pitch. If blood and bile flow through liverish London, the two arteries meet in Birdy Num Num, where career junky Billy Chobham performs little services for the customers who gather to wait for the Man, while in his blood a virus pullulates. A moving portrayal of egos, appetites and addictions, Liver is an extraordinary achievement.
“Magnificent, horribly funny.”—Times (London)
“This is what Self does best: snap-shots of decline and high-concept satires of the ‘slapstick of addiction.”—Sunday Telegraph
“Peculiar, subtle, affecting, humane…busy with stylistic experiment, high-concept in-jokes, verbal impasto and flights of fancy. Tremendous fun.”—Guardian
“The literary equivalent of Francis Bacon. What counts most is Selfs enthralling, muscular and joyous use of language. His obsidian brilliance is incontrovertible.”—Independent on Sunday
“Wit, furious energy, an idiosyncratic intellect and ornate, often strong language mark this British writers darkly offbeat fiction…. [Liver is] brilliant and blistering.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Each story has a distinctive voice—Self employs linguistic bravado in all.”—Library Journal
“Selfs parts function quite well together to produce a picture of putrid beauty.”—Publishers Weekly
A collection of four related stories, centered on the largest of human organs: the liver. In a dusty London drinking club and an efficient euthanasia clinic, a glossy ad agency and a junky's windowless flat, Self's characters are slowly losing their livers—to cirrhosis, to cancer, to a hungry griffon vulture. Through the organic woes of these afflicted individuals, Self considers appetites and addictions, disease and decay, in a way that is at once demented, funny, and moving.
About the Author
Will Self is the author of six novels, four collections of short stories, three novellas, and five works of nonfiction. He has written for newspapers and magazines and appeared regularly on television and radio. He lives in London.