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Adventures in Capitalism [Paperback]

Toby Litt
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Jan 2003

'He has invented a fresh, contemporary style - it will sing in the ears of this generation' Malcolm Bradbury

Why does Mr Kipling bake such exceedingly good cakes? Is Jeremy Beadle really the devil incarnate? What happens when advertising turns you into a monomaniac? Find out the answers and more in this surreal journey to the epicentre of the consumer world - a place where weirdos and saddos overindulge in lottery tickets, burgers, CD-roms and Eurotrash.

Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (30 Jan 2003)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0141007958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141007953
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,064,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Toby Litt was born in Bedford and grew up in Ampthill, Bedfordshire. He has worked as a teacher, bookseller and subtitler.

A graduate of Malcolm Bradbury's Creative Writing M.A. at the University of East Anglia, Toby is best-known for writing his books - from Adventures in Capitalism to (so far) King Death - in alphabetical order; he is currently working on L.

Toby edited Henry James's last novel The Outcry for Penguin Modern Classics. He was also the co-editor, with Ali Smith, of the British Council/Picador New Writing 13 anthology.

He is a Granta Best of Young British Novelist and a regular on Radio 3's The Verb. His story 'John and John' won the 2009 Manchester Fiction Prize.

Product Description


'He has invented a fresh, contemporary style - it will sing in the ears of this generation' Malcolm Bradbury

About the Author

Toby Litt was born in 1968. He is the author of BEATNIKS, CORPSING and DEADKIDSONGS.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent; a fascinating new talent 12 April 1999
By A Customer
Toby Litt's short stories range from pure capitalism (after winning the lottery, a man refuses to believe people and only believes adverts) to urban fantasy (a ghost in a laundrette). His writing is deft and rapid-fire; the way in which these stories flow so eagerly from page to page will make it hard to put this book down. The shorter stories are delicious little comtemporary fables, to be savoured while sitting on buses or in the middle of shopping trips; the longer ones are clever and original uses of short fiction. Buy this book today, if you value your status as a consumer!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Unlettered Litt 25 Nov 2013
'Kafka for the me generation', my notes from ten years ago say, when I first tried reading this job lot of short stories (one, Launderama, even an essay in genre) packaged with devious ingenuity to look like some kind of statement. Less critical of capitalism than aspirational in tenor, this prentice work from Toby Litt, while gently mocking 'life as advertised', is plainly that of a young man with his eye on the up staircase, one who thinks 'tat from Habitat' counts as a witticism. (The one about Germans and jerry-built is even creakier.) These charmless, sloppily written despatches from (or looking down upon) very middle England are most promising when they seem about to veer or soar into Magnus Mills territory. Which they never do. The three-page riff on the harmless Jeremy Beadle is a nadir, as is HMV, the story that follows. The plainer the language, the safer. The rabbit costume shtick is overshadowed by David Sedaris's unforgettable Santa. The Wagamama tale is fun for a page or two ('As far as I'm concerned, ordering 23 at Wagamama is like buying a one-way-ticket to cliché city and then settling down to raise a family') before it dissolves in fatuity, though Litt's stab at French is deplorable (anyone ever been 'dans l'Angleterre'?), but it's the four pages of Please Use a Basket that get this its second star. As for the linguistic slackness, 'the desire became overbiding' (p57; overbearing? overriding?), '[friendship] will stay firm through thick and through thin' (p88; the phrase is 'through thick and thin'), '[t]o see me is to want to sh*g me - and that counts for both sexes: hetero or homo' (p89; the three redundant concluding words simply diminish the effect). Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just a wonderful read 18 Nov 2013
By Waiting
I read this when it first came out. I still give it out as a present now and then.
It's one of those collections that has inspired ideas rippling through it and awakens the thoughts as well as making you laugh heartily at its inventiveness.
Also is a good indicator of what great things were to come.
I still rate it highly and far from being pretentious is a thoroughly enjoyable and welcomingly baffling ( at times ) piece of literary wonderment.
As time goes on it will become a classic.
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