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How the Dead Live Hardcover – Sep 2000


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Pr; First Printing edition (Sept. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080211671X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802116710
  • Product Dimensions: 3.6 x 14.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,834,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
They say you are what you eat and now that I'm dying I know this is the solid truth. Read the first page
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steve Wilson, Gods Of Chaos on 20 Nov. 2003
Format: Paperback
And this is why:
There is a great thrill attached to reading as you pass through puberty and into your late teens and early twenties. You experience with intense pleasure the transfer of someone else's thoughts from the page into your mind, especially when the words you read echo your own feelings and you realise for the first time that someone else thinks like you.
And someone else has actually dared to write down the stuff that, up until now, you've kept locked inside.
The thrill progresses as you get older and takes on two new facets. First of all, like the feeling of red wine warming your body, you slowly realise that you are actually beginning to 'get' your favourite author's references. Your literary mind is awakened and the closer those references are to your own cultural jumping off points, the warmer the glow.
Secondly you experience the great pleasure of being led somewhere by a truly great writer, the unfolding of a perfect story, the enjoyment of a perfect plot and the satisfaction of a perfect ending.
But sadly, the road does not continue in a straight line. As you get older things change, the pleasure dulls, something goes wrong.
There are not as many great books as you thought, and now you've read most of them.
You find yourself recognising repeated or stolen ideas in literature, you begin to know how a book will end, you find yourself not engaging with characters, you stop believing in stories.
And then, maybe once a year, you read a great novel, and suddenly its like you're back to the first book that changed your life and you experience those pleasures all over again.
This is how I felt about Will Self's "How The Dead Live".
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 31 reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Factory Scotland Yard thriller 6 May 2008
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
He knows the brass hates him as he is a British bulldog with no regard to his superiors, procedure, or the media when it comes to solving a case or for that matter keeping apolitically correct silence when some Home Office idiotic suit lectures. His boss can't fire him because he is so successful, but tries to exile him whenever a remote area asks for help.

Thus for opening his mouth during a mandatory class, this Scotland Yard detective finds himself leaving London for tiny Thornhill village in Wiltshire to investigate a missing-person. Apparently Marianne Mardy vanished; her husband Dr. William Mardy has not reported her missing; no one has. Since the local police suffer from duck disease up their arse, he is sent to rusticate make that investigate a possible murder so that his boss can have some needed R&R make that the gossipers can rest easy. In Thornhill, the outsider affirms the local police are uninterested in what happened to Marianne. As he keeps digging, he runs into corruption and soon begins to comprehend what happened to Mrs. Mardy when he learns HOW THE DEAD LIVE, but has problems with insuring justice not legal mumbo jumbo truly occurs.

This is a reprint of the third Factory Scotland Yard thriller written by the late Derek Raymond (see HE DIED WITH HIS EYES OPEN and THE DEVIL'S HOME ON LEAVE; neither read by me). Written two decades ago, the tale is a terrific British police procedural Noir narrated by the unnamed detective who is as excellent at solving cases as he is at annoying his boss. Sub-genre fans will appreciate this engaging one sitting detective tale that exposes the underbelly that society pretends does not exist.

Harriet Klausner
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Top Tier Noir 28 July 2008
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'm reading Raymond's Factory novels in succession and this one, the third in the series, is the best I've read so far. In all of the Factory novels a nameless police investigator who is too stubborn, too true to himself, and too determined to put the world's villains away tells tales of how he goes about solving the Unexplained Deaths cases that get put to him. The narrator has suffered some horrific tragedies in his personal and family life, sees little hope for the future for himself or anyone else, but what gets him out of bed in the morning is the promise of being able to put away people who take harm other, innocent people - whether the villains be crooks or crooked cops. Raymond is often credited, along with Ted Lewis, as being the originator of British Noir; I can't quite put him up on the pedestal with Ted (very, very few reach that height, in my opinion), but these are certainly some of the better pulp novels I've read. Start with the first two Factory books, He Dies with his Eyes Open and The Devil's Home on Leave, then get this one.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
No plot 7 Feb. 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I've never read anything by Will Self, so I had no preconceptions going in. I thought the premise sounded interesting and some of the reviews I encountered on this site made the book appear promising.
Briefly, the writing is brilliant. The book is filled with insightful thoughts. The descriptions of the dead and how they live are intense, and quite gruesome. The concept is inventive, to say the least.
Let's see, what's wrong with the book? Oh, that's right. No plot! This book is really a great piece of descriptive imagination. It's powerful and fascinating. I just don't really understand what the point of fiction is, however, unless it also includes some semblance of a plot.
I wish I had read ALL the reviews more carefully before reading How The Dead Live. It gave me everything that was promised, but a lot less as well.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Remarkable Dreamlike Noir 17 Jan. 2012
By James Mowry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
One of the darkest, saddest, and yet funniest books I have ever read. In the third book of the Factory series, Raymond's Nameless Detective is more relentless than ever in his no-compromises pursuit of justice as he travels to a town outside London to investigate the disappearance of a woman after the local police have failed to do so. There is a compelling mystery at the heart of the book, and it has all the noir trappings a reader could ask for, but that isn't the point. The most important parts of the book take place in the Nameless Detective's head as he spins soliloquies about life, death, loss, and redemption and in the long quotations from the husband of the missing woman. The Detective's basic methodology for resolving the case is to hilariously insult everybody he meets--with a few notable exceptions--and to reject the help of anyone, except for his trusted reporter friend who shows up halfway through the book. He is like Hammett's Continental Op in his ability to stir a whole town up for his own purposes.

But this book doesn't take place in the real world at all. It is just as fantastic an atmosphere as Poe's Fall of the House of Usher, which it closely resembles in many ways. The descriptions of the decaying mansion at the center of the book, and, just as fantastically, the way the Detective stares down death at the hands of a rifle toting mother or a hired killer, are something out of a fever dream. On top of the noir and the Poe, there is also the poetry--poems, songs, and prose--that runs throughout the book, often as part of dreams the Detective, as first-person narrator, recounts. So the equation here might best be described as Dashiell Hammett + Edgar Allan Poe + Thomas Wolfe = Derek Raymond. But even that can't do justice to what Raymond has achieved here. For all of its influences, it emerges as a unique, visionary argument that, in the midst of corruption and chaos, one man's unalterable quest for justice can still mean something.

If you try to read this as a regular mystery or piece of detective fiction, you are doomed to miss the point. And if you fall into sync with Raymond's and the Nameless Detective's way of thinking? Then maybe you are just plain doomed. But we don't have to go down without breaking a jaw or two.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
interesting viewpoint 8 July 2004
By Matko Vladanovic - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Blurb (or foreword, I can't exactly remember) of this book, presents it as a satire...In a certain way, it is right. But, in some other way it lacks few imortant imformation.
When one think of a satire, one think at instant of political attacks towards rulling caste, towards media, and towards every aspect of life that you can think about. Here you will find only an old, overweight women, whose thought resemble our own in a scarry manner... All wordly struggle of good and evil does not make a sense once you are dead, all that is left s longin...longing for daughters, longing for sex, longing for food, longing for everything that makes life what life actually is... and in a ceratin way that is all satirical that this book has. Of course you'll find sarcastic remarks, of course you'll find critique of society, but that does not make this book outstanding... What does is feeling of timeliness you suddenly feel upon completing final pages. Suddenly you start to wonder - 'where have all the good times gone'
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