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Corpsing Paperback – 28 Sep 2000


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Paperback, 28 Sep 2000
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (28 Sep 2000)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0140285776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140285772
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2.4 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,105,933 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

Amazon Review

Toby Litt's third book is all bullet entry wounds, violent emotion and forensic detail. Corpsing works as a deconstructed literary thriller, a very knowing examination of the pathology of the genre. It starts off in the traditional way, with a death. Jean Luc Godard said 'all you need for a good story is a girl and a gun.' In Corpsing the girl is Lily, a beautiful actress and the ex-girlfriend of Conrad, the narrator. The gun is in the hands of an assassin, dressed in bike courier clothing who looks like "a vision of the future--a future where everyone is concerned with keeping their bodies fit and dodging between fast new technologies of damage." He fires at Lily and Conrad as they eat dinner at fashionable Le Corbusier, a restaurant which resembles an autopsy room in the morgue: "the tables are a frosty-looking aluminium, the walls are half mirror, half stainless steel". Six bullets later and the damage is done, Lily is dead and Conrad is nearly so.

The dissection really begins when Conrad comes out of hospital and begins investigating Lily's murder, his own near miss. The plot unfolds in short, sharp chapters, keen as knives. Toby Litt uses Conrad to provide an extra twist to the usual serpentine story. He has a morbid interest in the clinical details of the results of his injuries. He, like Litt, is very aware of the etiquette of cool violence, a cultural culling that takes in J F K succumbing to the "magic bullet", Bonnie and Clyde, The Godfather, and, of course, Reservoir Dogs. Corpsing is an interesting critique of our fondness for violence and death as entertainment, while cunningly providing us with all the gory details, the damage done. Clever, but a little soulless. --Eithne Farry --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

CORPSING HAS ALREADY WON HUGE ACCLAIM
'Toby Litt is a really good writer. He will have you speeding through his latest - a noirish tale of murder, sex, revenge and adultery.' Time Out

'A thriller for our times, modern, sexy, full of twists and wickedly funny. Litt takes no hostages and he writes brilliantly...Corpsing is impressive.' Daily Mail

'a great evening in. Open the Chardonnay and let Litt take you on a thrilling ride from his Mortlake flat to the gents of a gangster pub in Bermondsey.' Observer

'Litt, one of the foremost young lions of British hip-lit, has a genuine appetite for pulp, and pulls off a remarkable crime debut which puts many veteran crimesters to shame...Corpsing has all the hallmarks of a cult book.' Guardian

'The screen rights to this devastatingly enjoyable novel have already been sold, and I cannot wait for the movie (Ewan McGregor and Jane Horrocks are my nominees for the roles.)' Daily Telegraph

'A chic, sharp shock of a thriller.' She

'Imaginative, eloquent and with an ear for the nuances of life, Toby Litt has produced a genuine page-turner of a thriller.' Daily Mirror --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 April 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a book of three thirds. The first third is well-written, leisurely in pace, attentive to detail and sustains the interest. The second third feels rushed, with little care given to fleshing out some secondary characters (Lawrence and criminal comedy-stylist Smart come to mind), leaving the reader with cliched caricatures and pedestrian narrative and dialogue that on occasion reminded me of a 15 year-old's self-indulgent attempt at "serious" writing ("He put on the album "In Utero" by the rock band Nirvana", grated particularly).
The final third goes a little way towards redemption, as the writing becomes tighter and Litt burrows deeper and deeper into Dead Lily's psyche, presenting us finally with the image of a totally inept human being.
And the ending? Faintly ludicrous but better than I'd anticipated.
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Format: Paperback
Corpsing is essentially a thriller, opening with a restaurant shooting which injures the narrator, Conrad, and kills his ex-girlfriend, with whom he is dining. After recovering from his injuries, Conrad attempts to find the killer and discover his motive.
Litt's prose is stylish and slickly readable, with vivid yet subtle description and graphic action sequences. The interludes which describe the consequences of each bullet are particularly lucid, and the inclusion of mock newspaper and hospital reports within the narrative is stylish and convincing. The central character is well developed and remains likeable despite some of his behaviour, and the plot is developed in such a way that you want to keep reading non-stop until the end. Litt's style is such that he has successfully crafted a literary novel which contains the more satisfying elements of a commercial thriller.
The only problem I had with the book was that some sequences and events seemed slightly over the top. This showiness would not always be a bad thing, but seemed out of place in this down to earth, London set novel.
Corpsing is not among the very finest books I have read, therefore, but the balance between literary novel and thriller is very good and whichever of these it is approached as, it is a hugely enjoyable book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By I. Hunter on 8 Nov 2000
Format: Paperback
This book starts in great style with a Tarentino/John Woo esk description of a hit at a restaurant.
After this early promise I got more and more irratated by the increasingly unbelievable antics of the central character. While the ending of the book is a total anti-climax. Avoid!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By simon gurney HALL OF FAME on 21 May 2002
Format: Paperback
The first thrid of the book was excellent, some great devices, and ideas indeed shaping up nicely as a five star book. unfortunately this is where we stop, no new ideas seem to crop up in the second half and the book loses direction and momentum, although still readable, its a shame the pace lets up, and really everything is just padding until the unfortunately predictable and predicted end.
to spend the last chapter having another character try to limply explain away what the story hasnt adequately dealt with, badly. was a let down.
the need to name each street in London that the story crosses and various shops and bars seems a bit unneccessary.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Westlake on 30 July 2005
Format: Paperback
Others are correct in praising the book's first act; the writing is quick, with lots of short chapters, elegant and full of ideas. Plenty of action, very imaginative. From there it is largely downhill; aside from a few well targetted, stand-up-comic-style riffs on deserving topics such as the RSC and the dress sense of menopausal women, it largely fails to hold the attention so effectively grabbed at the beginning. Characters, aside from the central character, are largely two-dimensional stereotypes (the hood, the aging actress, the teenager) which, while effectively observed, are neither particularly credible or interesting. This would matter less if the plot worked. It doesn't. The attempts to drop red-herrings are fairly risible, and suddenly leave Litt with a huge amount of exposition to cram into the final five pages, by the end one senses that he is as tired of telling the story as I was reading it. A shame, because several of his other books (eg: deadkidsongs)are excellent, and had left me expecting more from from a genuinely gifted writer.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 July 2001
Format: Paperback
Don't be put off by the lad-lit, brit-lit, cool violence labels applied to Litt, he is a very thoughtful, precise writer, in search of a plot to match his obvious stylistic talents, as of course is the case with his contemporaries David Mitchell and Jake Arnott. The stunning forensic chapters, the brilliant, sticky sex scenes, page turning thriller cliches and an entirely unsympathetic main character, with an obligatory and pretty decent twist at the end all make this a book that you should read so you can say in five years' time when Litt is bigger than xmas that you were reading him AGES ago
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 April 2000
Format: Paperback
In this dazzlingly well written thriller Litt hardly puts a foot wrong. Worth reading for the acute observations of contemporary London alone. The dissection of a typical Royal Shakespeare Company performance is particularly funny and cruel. After a certain uneveness of tone in "Beatniks" Litt has struck out in a highly successful vein of taut and witty prose with a strong narrative drive.
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