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Walking to Hollywood

Walking to Hollywood [Kindle Edition]

Will Self
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'A work full of his trademark hypersensitive invention ... vast inventiveness ... glittering' (Independent on Sunday)

'Dazzling and discomfiting ... a supremely gifted writer and one of our most brilliant and iconoclastic public intellectuals' (GQ)

'Only a writer with Self's panache can hope to pull it off ... the flashes of brilliance make being inside his various heads an exciting, if occasionally alarming, experience' (Independent)

'A familiar mix of inspired satirical observations and his trademark discursiveness ... Self displays sudden turns of phrase that can have breathtaking emotional resonance' (The Times)

Book Description

A remarkable mixture of fact, fancy, memoir and invention.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1673 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (3 Aug 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008NA110W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #110,656 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
I must admit that I find the idea of Will Self - the cantankerous man with the deadpan voice, enormous vocabulary and uncompromising left-wing politics - preferable to the literary reality. I'm giving this book just two stars because I found the 215-page central section, "Walking to Hollywood", almost unreadable, and it was a struggle to stick with it to reach the third section.

The first section, "Very Little", about a dwarf friend from childhood who becomes a successful YBA-style visual artist in later life, I found highly entertaining, especially the "divide by ten, multiply by ten" meme. The third section, "Spurn Head", based on a walk along that rapidly eroding stretch of Yorkshire coastline, I also found highly readable, although the weirdly and inconsistently spelled rendition of the local accent was annoying. Both of these sections could be reasonably described as "Sebaldesque", after the mysterious literary style of W. G. Sebald, mixing fact, fiction, geography, fantasy and photographs, although with far more humour than Sebald.

But the middle section, "Walking to Hollywood", rapidly became for me totally confusing, boring, messy and unreadable. It is founded on a false premise, for starters, that cinema is dead, and that Hollywood has killed it - completely untrue, judging by today's cinema audiences and the huge breadth and depth of films being produced, but an interesting "factoid" on which to hang a chunk of novel. Then we find the narrator character, constantly being played by one of two well-known actors, doing a seemingly pointless walk around Los Angeles over the space of a few days, meeting other film folk, themselves being played by other actors, while all kinds of ridiculous things happen and one scene kind of morphs into another.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Jan Bird on Walking To Hollywood 8 Mar 2012
I have to admit I gave up on this book after a couple of chapters just when he inserted a dream sequence quoting `insert a dream lose a reader' lol it probably would have been good if I could have stuck with it...just too clever by half for me. I hate to give up on a book!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Walking to Hollywood 5 Oct 2010
By mattm
Melancholic musings on the dissatisfactions of modern life. Parts read like the narrative of a Patrick Keiller or Chris Marker film. Wonderfully written and frequently very funny. A very modern satire that gives new perspective and awareness to everyday things. Highly recommended!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Do you like mountaineering? 26 April 2013
By G
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm not being funny with the title of my review. Reading this book is just like mountaineering.

It is a journey into Will Self, and a mind that is both highly articulate yet steeped in problems.

After you spend ages reading material, which feels like an uphill struggle, you are rewarded by views otherwise impossible to reach.

If I'm honest, I nearly gave up a few times and I'm still not sure what I was reading!

The likeness of the cover image to Edvard Munch's "Scream" should indicate where you're heading on this particular read!
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