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The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Prawn Cracker (Penguin Specials): A Selection of Real Meals (Penguin Shorts/Specials)

The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Prawn Cracker (Penguin Specials): A Selection of Real Meals (Penguin Shorts/Specials) [Kindle Edition]

Will Self
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Prawn Cracker - hilarious restaurant reviews by Booker nominee Will Self

'Most food writing and restaurant criticism is concerned with the ideal, with how by cooking this, or dining there, you can somehow ingurgitate a new - or at any rate improved - social, aesthetic and even spiritual persona. I aimed to turn this proposition on its head, and instead of commenting on where and what people would ideally like to eat I would consider where and what they actually did: the ready meals, buffet snacks and - most importantly - fast food that millions of Britons chomp upon in the go-round of their often hurried and dyspeptic lives.'

In this selection from his wickedly funny New Statesman Real Meals column, Will Self reviews the chains where most of us go to eat (KFC, Greggs, Yo! Sushi, Pizza Express and their like), delves into the ubiquitous Thai meal and Chicken Tikka Masala, and experiences hotel breakfasts, frozen TV dinners and airline food on our behalf. These are restaurant reviews of the kind you've never read before.

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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 163 KB
  • Print Length: 59 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (1 Feb 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006X2BHL0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #110,559 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars junk food 30 Oct 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
In these essays Will Self comes across as pompous and a somewhat inverted snob. If he eats out as often as he says here then his life involves staggering from one down market eatery to the next and nothing between. I suppose that must be the life of a professional writer - a couple of hours toiling over a hot keyboard then off down the pub or a snack bar. For someone who says they are an afficionado of junk food he says very little about it. But we learn a lot about his lifestyle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Food for thought 12 July 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a collection of Will Self's "Real Meals" columns published originally in "The New Statesman" magazine where instead of reviewing posh and trendy restaurants he goes to places ordinary people frequent like KFC, Greggs, and McDonalds.

The one on Kebab Shops had me laughing at his description of the guy who made his kebab. Self sees a transformation of the man from fast food chef to mountainside shepherd once he places his order of a shish kebab, despite the need for speed in the order as his train is about to leave.

His article on Caffe Nero was excellent too and though I'm not a coffee drinker his description of its interior made me want to visit the place and sample some of their products anyway.

Most of the articles are actually very entertaining and funny. He skewers places like McDonalds and Greggs while praising Pizza Express and Birdseye's Chicken Dinners. There are only a few articles I was indifferent to but overall it's a brilliantly written, clever and funny collection of columns. Great read, albeit short at just under 60 pages.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A rather limp "cracker" 11 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The unbearable unbearability of reading a prawn cracker.

I could definitely put this one down. Not one of Self's best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, frivolous and thankfully un-foodie 30 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An irreverent look at food rather than the foodie spanking we have become so accustomed to in the past five tears. Fun, frivolous and doesn't take itself too seriously, whilst teaching you a few new words whilst you go.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining eating 25 Oct 2013
By traveller TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book as it is well written and in chunks so you can dip in and out. Lots of humour too which left me sniggering and trying to contain my laughter on a train. Thoroughly recommend this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulously funny writings on food franchises . 18 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Firstly, as many have pointed out, this is not a novel or a singular narrative. Rather it is a collection of Self's journalistic entries into the pantheon of restaurant reviews. Amusingly he concentrates on the franchise chains that clutter our homigenised towns and cities and critiques them in his own amusing manner. Small chapters separate the establishments being reviewed and each one is delightfully funny with Self's wit and wordy playfulness shining through. Great stuff!
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I am fully prepared to admit that I loathe Will Self; I find him smug, patronising with a seemingly inflated sense of self (no pun intended.) However, I had enjoyed other books in this series and found them perfect to dip in and out of, so I thought I'd give it a go.

Initially it was everything I expected; the review of McDonalds seemed to be particularly sneering and written with the purpose of insulting the people who eat there. However, about halfway through I found myself warming to his sense of humour and there were essays that I found genuinely amusing. I loved the image of sticky rice that `could have been loaded into a mastic gun' and his feelings about Chinese food being so comforting that it's as if he was `thrusting my head between the great warm dumplings of an ancestral mother spirit.'

I may not be ready to endure a whole novel just yet, but this short collection of reviews was very enjoyable!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected! Special humour required 18 Feb 2013
By I. Darren TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Psssst! That was the sound of balloons, egos and empires being pricked. Gulp! That was the sound of realisation that not every top restaurant is good just because you are told it is good, or that the food looks pretty, or that it tastes nice. A takeout hamburger can also taste nice and you might equally enjoy it, albeit on a different occasion. Yet not many would compare a top hamburger restaurant to a top Marco Pierre-White restaurant. Or would they?

Author Will Self, however, is arguing that perhaps too much value is being placed on WHO is cooking what and WHERE it is being served. Or a little common sense and a little less "snob" value. Self has been reviewing restaurants for several publications over time and, as he says "I never really wanted to review food anyway; what interested me were fancy restaurants as a theatrical experience: the bourgeoisie ogling itself in a mirrored booth. Perhaps now, at last, the time is ripe for a little deflation and maybe we should all start paying attention to what's actually on the end of our plastic forks, not Nigella, Marco-Pierre, F***ing Gordon - and all the other celebrity egg-flippers. It's in this, more grounded, spirit that I undertake to survey the actual establishments where we eat, and the real meals they serve: only a fraction of the population will ever nosh in La Tante Claire, whereas, at current sales levels, the 1,154 McDonald's in Britain could serve a meal to every man, woman and child in the country given a mere thirty-five days."

This book is the curated highlights of his New Statesman magazine "Real Meals" column and it does feel like one of those books you can read and read again. A great book to take onboard an aeroplane, for example, and yes, airline food also comes under the spotlight!
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