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Liver: And Other Stories [Paperback]

Will Self
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

4 Jun 2009

Liver - Booker prize nominee Will Self's extraordinary examination of lives out of control

'Magnificent, horribly funny' The Times

'Brilliant. One of the most manically imaginative writers at work today' Financial Times

'This is what Self does best: snap-shots of decline and high-concept satires of the "slapstick of addiction" ' Sunday Telegraph

'The best work of Self's I've read' Literary Review

From Will Self, the Booker shortlisted author of Umbrella and the pre-eminent chronicler of our neuroses and our times, Liver is a moving, hilarious and scabrous collection of stories about egos, appetites and addictions. It will be adored by readers of Martin Amis, Irvine Welsh and David Mitchell.

'Peculiar, subtle, affecting, humane . . . busy with stylistic experiment, high-concept in-jokes, verbal impasto and flights of fancy. Tremendous fun' Guardian

'No one can revel in the disease and decay of humanity like Self' Metro

'Self is a superb stylist and the laureate of substance abuse, and these hepatic rhapsodies contain some of his most inventive writing' The Times

Will Self is the author of nine novels including Cock and Bull; My Idea of Fun; Great Apes; How the Dead Live; Dorian, an Imitation; The Book of Dave; The Butt; Walking to Hollywood and Umbrella, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He has written five collections of shorter fiction and three novellas: The Quantity Theory of Insanity; Grey Area; License to Hug; The Sweet Smell of Psychosis; Design Faults in the Volvo 760 Turbo; Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys; Dr. Mukti and Other Tales of Woe and Liver: A Fictional Organ with a Surface Anatomy of Four Lobes. Self has also compiled a number of nonfiction works, including The Undivided Self: Selected Stories; Junk Mail; Perfidious Man; Sore Sites; Feeding Frenzy; Psychogeography; Psycho Too and The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Prawn Cracker.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (4 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140290575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140290578
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 111,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Peculiar, subtle, affecting and humane... It is a vertiginous, swooping vision that can lay London out like a body... It is all tremendous fun, and sometimes much more than that. Self has always had a blunt brilliance... These stories are busy with stylistic experiment, high-concept in-jokes, verbal impasto and flights of fancy which test the limits of narrative' - Justine Jordan, Guardian 'These tales are highly chthonic' - Nicholas Blincoe, Daily Telegraph 'This is what Self does best: snap-shots of decline and high-concept satires of the 'slapstick of addiction" - Ed King, Daily Telegraph 'Will Self is rightly admired for the sheer energy of his writing, his pyrotechnic wit and wordplay, and his willingness to experiment with genre and narrative... He is undoubtedly one of contemporary literature's showmen' - Peter Parker, Sunday Times 'All of Self's hallmarks are in place here: a prose style that scuds from the slangy to the hypertrophic and back; a keen sense of place; a sharp satirist's eye coldly cast on fashionable London; and a fondness for what might be called the High Concept' - Keith Miller, Times Literary Supplement '...satire so vicious it makes Charlie Brooker look restrained' - John O'Connell, Time Out ' one can revel in the disease and decay of humanity like Will Self' - Ben East, Metro "Leberknodel" is the best fictional writing on Zurich since Kim Stanley Robinson's story named after the city' - Nicholas Royle, Independent 'As the literary equivalent of Francis Bacon, Will Self continually challenges readers with biological overload... Stepping into Self's world is like opening one of the Wellcome Institute's cabinets of medical curiosities... What counts most throughout is Self's enthralling, muscular and sometimes even joyous use of language. His writing propels one of the greatest arguments for freedom of speech that I can think of; you may not like his subject matter but his obsidian brilliance is incontrovertible, shocking and humane' - Christopher Fowler, Independent

About the Author

Will Self has earned his reputation through a body of innovative work - there's nobody quite like him writing today. He is the author of six novels, four collections of short stories, three novellas and five non-fiction works. As a journalist he has contributed to a plethora of publications over the years; he is also a regular broadcaster on television and radio. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Imagination unbounded 24 Jan 2010
By Mingo Bingo VINE VOICE
I've never been a huge fan of short stories, certainly not collections of them. Will Self is, however, an exception to this. The complexity of his prose and his verbal gymnastics have always been easier to consume in smaller chunks, often feeling oppressive over the length of a novel.

"Liver", subtitled 'a fictional organ with a surface anatomy of four lobes' comprises 4 short stories, loosely held together by the idea of the organ and what it means to us as humans. Of course, this being Will Self, this has a lot to do with spiralling addiction, the abasement of the soul and the dirty underbelly of London.

The first story, "Foie Humain", concerns itself with the revolting, alcoholic inhabitants of the Plantation Club, a private members club in Soho of the eighties. They bicker, abuse each other, abuse new comers and gradually drink themselves to death. This is what Will Self does best- the characters are as close to parody as you can get without becoming farce, but they are a gleefully drawn bunch of grotesques. The story is worth reading for their names alone, 'Her Ladyship', 'The Extra', 'His Nibs' and 'The Martian' and it is laugh out loud funny in parts.

The second, "Leberknodel", is a surprisingly sensitive and thoughtful piece about a terminally ill cancer patient on her way to Switzerland to commit assisted suicide. I had the pleasure of hearing Will Self read an extract from this at a literary festival, so when reading it I could hear every word in his rich and distinctive voice.

The third is a straight retelling of the "Prometheus" myth set in the world of advertising, which is effective, if a little obvious.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 30 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I normally love Will Self but I actually couldn't finish this. The characters just aren't likeable and the short stories are quite long for Self so there's less variety and if you don't enjoy them you're stuck with them for a while. Less balanced than most of his work- more miserable than funny.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars .. 3 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this item as a gift. I ordered a book and received a book so I'm content. Thank you
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Typical Will Self (& that's a good thing). 3 Nov 2011
I'm surprised that only 2 people have already reviewed this book & that it has such a low rating - frankly it deserves more. All the usual hallmarks of a Will Self book are here - grotesque characters, bizarre wordplay & a steaming dollop of satire. If you've enjoyed other Will Self books, you will probably enjoy this one; if you hated other Will Self books, you'll probably hate this one too. & if you've never read a Will Self book, I suggest you give this one a go. I'd say it's represenative of his output (his books are all excellent if you like that kind of thing).
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Verbal gymnastics? I have to agree! 11 Feb 2010
I really like Will Self work on TV and newspaper, but this book really got me tired! I found it really hard to enjoy the reading as it goes on and on forever and nothing really happens. I have to agree with the other reviewer, it is a lot of verbal gymnastics, honestly, not for me!
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