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Lights Out in Wonderland Paperback – 2 Sep 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (2 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571228895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571228898
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.5 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 438,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'If any novelist can collate the killing irony of what is happening around us it is DBC Pierre ... Pierre shreds the pretentious sophistication and fake joyousness of our Michelin-starred palaces, driving them to the ultimate conclusions of hedonism with a ferocity worthy of de Sade ... As with the dextrous ventriloquism in Vernon God Little, Gabriel's living and very beautiful voice carries this convulsive novel ... This swollen, bruising novel needs to be defended as an artful shout of protest from a soul on fire, an ultimate call to sanity and to learn what has happened in our world, where "Profit won the game, but like an infection killed the host".' -- Alan Warner, Guardian >> 'He inspires delight and disgust, causing chaos to others while blithely partying. So begins an odyssey, as Gabriel himself terms it. The plot rests on getting Smuts out of a Japanese jail. There are, along the way, some set pieces of lunatic brilliance ... The exuberance coating the nihilistic blackness, the brilliantine shine of his classically pure prose bouncing against an adolescent two-fingers to society, all point to a novel of excellence and importance ... Its impact is undeniable. The whole tottering edifice of Wonderland has many doors. They may open onto wonders or terrors; either way, it s worth taking a look.' -- Daily Telegraph >> 'Precipitously drunken, pleasure-seeking narrative ... Pierre's writing is heady, reaching glorious heights of linguistic invention. He shows that he is just as adept at conjuring a sense of place - this time in Japan and Germany - as he was in his pitch perfect presentation of the Texan vernacular in his Booker-prize winning debut, Vernon God Little.' -- Independent >> 'Pierre's writing is extravagantly energetic.' -- Spectator >> 'Pierre lets rip with some truly lipsmacking prose.' -- Daily Mail >> ''If anyone was going to attempt a properly unhinged allegory of the excesses of modern capitalism and the financial crash, DBC Pierre was always the man most likely ... his sentences are toxic assets, often built on wild speculation; his metaphors complex derivatives that you love or hate for their indulgent bravado ... His writing falls somewhere in a spectrum between William Burroughs and JP Donleavy, a sort of narco-blarney. At its best it captures some of the rigorous circumlocution and comedy of Iain Sinclair in full rant mode. --Scotsman

>> 'It's great to see Pierre back on form with another hefty slab of outrageous black comedy: a stupendously over-the-top romp based on the excesses of 21st-century capitalism and all its orgiastic horror ... delivered in a narrative voice that is utterly compelling and always funny. Pierre repeatedly exposes the pretentiousness and self-importance of his targets, and he again proves himself adept at conjuring up place perfectly ... both Berlin and Tokyo emerge fully formed in the reader's mind ... Ultimately, it is Pierre's debunking of the capitalist dream, as well as celebrity culture and the empty posturing of fine dining, drinking and partying, that make this more than just a wild-eyed rumpus of a book ... [Lights Out in Wonderland is] a remarkably sharp and amusing tirade on the politics of excess, and an important book in these chastened times.' -- --Independent on Sunday

'DBC Pierre's first book, Vernon God Little, was brilliant. Lights Out is even better. It's a satirical middle finger up at the banal purgatory of modern life and a reckless manifesto for life ... At times he novel is more ridiculous than rapturous and more debauched than divine, but it is always beguiling ... Pierre proves that a book can be insightful and shocking as well as melancholic and wickedly funny. Only someone able to take the p*ss out of themselves and the world they live in so astutely could pull this off: irresistible.' -- Time Out >> 'Fans of DBC Pierre will hardly be disappointed ... Pierre is an eye-catching prose stylist.' -- Herald >>
'A rambunctious satire on capitalist excess ... it's great fun.' --Independent on Sunday --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

The spectacular third novel from DBC Pierre, one of the great fantastical storytellers of his generation.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By neuronslikebrandy on 24 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An absolutely stunning book. It manages to flawlessly mirror the time in which we
live, but also say things that will not age. It's got beautiful passages that had me
folding pages over to come back to them. The imagery had me window shopping for
aeroplane tickets to every place described. There are beautiful little stories thrown in
with the narrative that you'll be telling your friends about after you've read them. For
example the master winemakers who are so dedicated to their craft that they never
leave the vineyard, and encourage young lovers to copulate amongst the vines. Or
the nightclubs in East Berlin that gave out entry tokens when the wall came down
which are still be used today.

The novel is about a society reaching its apex, and the excesses that involves. There
just is not a better author out there to describe this stuff. The pace is extraordinary.
The descriptions of food, wine and pharmaceuticals jump off the page and down your
throat. The lights blind you. It's like a life taking place in a fairground, which I suppose
is what the title is getting at. It's DBC Pierre, so expect drugs and bodily fluids;
sometimes all at once. It's not the focus of the novel but if you don't enjoy writing of
this nature, this is probably not for you.

My only criticism is this: the climaxes in the plot are so dizzyingly high and so
numerous that the moments in between feel a little flat in comparison. In this way, the
novel is a victim of its own success. Climaxes are where DBC Pierre eats; perhaps
the other stuff does not excite him. The finale does not disappoint though, and the
final third of the book is where the book reaches its cruising speed.
Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Neil Russell-Bates on 11 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like thousands of other readers, I thought Vernon God Little was a fantastic book. I never bothered with his second as it sounded like the archetypal "difficult second novel", but was excited to hear about Lights Out and full of anticipation. I didn't take to the opening, which put me in mind of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (a much better book overall), but once our narrator left these shores for Tokyo I was taken in and for the most part I enjoyed the ride.

Some of DBC Pierre's insights are brilliant, if sometimes a little out of place. The trip round Ikea should ring a bell with anoyone who has had to endure that particular shopping experience, but receieved a peculiarly large amount of coverage. However, one of my favourite passages, where the world economy is likened to a space rocket where a fortunate few are in the tiny cockpit being propelled to Stratospehric heights while the rest of us merely make up the huge fuel pods and are jettisoned along the way, is such a brilliant analogy to my mind that I have quoted it several times to friends since.

I also thought the choice of the Templehof airport as the location for much of the book was inspired, but sadly the climatic orgiastic banquet stretched my imagination just too far and I couldn't be bothered to read the recipes beyond reading what the bizarre key ingredients were.

In summary, for me the middle two thirds of this book are very good, but the beginning and end, so important for those key impressions, let it down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MC Browne on 28 Dec. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
i love this book

the style and imagery crated in every page is fabulous. at times the words just drip off the pages. (that may sound wrong but I am just trying to describe a great book)

if i had to guess the author, he would be an intelligent version of Dillon Moran (Black Books store owner) and probably written with the help of 20,000 cigarettes, volumes of alcohol and possibly pain killers.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Gallacher on 10 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
I will say straight away that I am a big fan of Pierre. His first novel "Vernon God Little" was met with suitable acclaim, but this second "Ludmilla's Broken English" was by far my favourite, even including this book. It wasn't with trepidation that I started this book, but I did find myself somewhat concerned with it in the beginning. To give a short synopsis, Gabriel is a supremely disaffected person. He finds so little to relate to in this world, due to a number of perfectly valid reasons, that he decides to depart from it. But before taking that final leap, he decides on one last adventure. That adventure, leads him to a world he didn't know existed, and honestly, I don't think he ever would have wanted to know in hindsight.

It is a funny book. Some of the lines had me absolutely cracking up on the train. To the point where I actually typed some of them letter by letter into my phone to text to a fellow literature fan, who instantly went out to buy the book. Pierre just has these intermittent flashes of brilliance amongst the very strong body of the book. The problem in this book simply comes in the shape of pacing. I felt that occasionally the book didn't push on to new things, and dare I say floundered somewhat. But the fact is, even in a floundering state, Pierre's writing captures more spirit than many others do in their finest hours. This book is funny, incredibly interesting and has some really strong scenes that will stay with you. I absolutely recommend reading his other work, but this is by no means a slouch. Well worth reading.
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