Customer Reviews


8 Reviews
5 star:
 (1)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Walking to Hollywood
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!
Published on 5 Oct 2010 by mattm

versus
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The long centrepiece of the triptych is practically unreadable
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...
Published on 13 Mar 2011 by Gołębnik


Most Helpful First | Newest First

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The long centrepiece of the triptych is practically unreadable, 13 Mar 2011
By 
Gołębnik (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Walking to Hollywood: Memories of Before the Fall (Hardcover)
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. I found it difficult to work out what was actually going on - nothing wrong with that in itself in a literary novel, but in this case I found that I simply didn't care any more and was desperate to get to the end. Despite the welcome recurrences of Dr Zack Busner and his psychiatric techniques, which will be familiar to readers of other Will Self books, I just found it an absolute chore to get through, and it comprises half of the book.

One thing that Dr Busner might like to analyse, incidentally, is Will Self's apparent need to describe almost every instance of going to the toilet - something which most novelists happily omit!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Jan Bird on Walking To Hollywood, 8 Mar 2012
By 
JanBird&DebMeades (Stretford, Gtr Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Walking to Hollywood: Memories of Before the Fall (Hardcover)
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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Walking to Hollywood, 5 Oct 2010
This review is from: Walking to Hollywood: Memories of Before the Fall (Hardcover)
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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Do you like mountaineering?, 26 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Walking to Hollywood: Memories of Before the Fall (Hardcover)
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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars London - Los Angeles: 120 Miles, 12 April 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Walking to Hollywood (Paperback)
Writer Will Self's an evangelist for walking. He's the guy who came up with the idea of travelling to another continent on foot, even if you just have two days. I'm talking about his airport walks - from your home to the airport, and from the destination airport to your hotel or wherever you're headed.

Will Self's most famous airport walk is probably the one from his home in Stockwell, London, to Hollywood, Los Angeles. I run a blog about walking and travelling on foot (The Walking Post) - hence, I was very interested in this book.

Walking to Hollywood, officially labelled a novel though I would probably call it a memoire slash deep dive into Will's boundless, dreamlike (and nightmarish) imagination.

It consists of three parts, the middle one of which, and at 200 pages the bulk of the book, is about the author's walk to Hollywood.

The title is misleading. Calling this book a travelogue, would be like saying that the cover image of my beautiful edition of it would be a naturalistic depiction of its author.

It - the cover art, but also the book's style - reminds me much of Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" - well, Terry Gilliam's movie version actually, as I can't get myself to read Thompson's book or anything else labelled "gonzo". Is Walking to Hollywood "gonzo"? I'm not sure. I don't really know what gonzo is - somehow I never felt like finding out.

The thing about Walking to Hollywood is, that, most of the time I had no idea what Will Self's story was really about. He's talking about his walk to the world's movie capital to find out what killed film, that much I get, as well as the fact that he has conversations on the way with real people and made up characters, such as Scobby Doo.

What I love about the book is its central idea: walking to Hollywood to mediate about the death of the movie industry, and some of the many pieces that make up this "dreamoire": musings, reveries, mediations, sarcastic swipes, and crazed misery stories. And I like what first brought Will Self to my attention: his voice, his masterful articulacy, his thesaurus-is-alive! vocabulary.

Before you buy the book, read a chapter or two on Preview to see if its very peculiar tone engages you. But I warn you, you must really try, give it some time, and give it your full attention. Will Self doesn't stand for easy reading. And should you be lucky enough find a way into it, you'll surely find treasures deep down in the writer's rambling imagination that eluded me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, 29 Dec 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Walking to Hollywood (Paperback)
I am a fan of Will Self, and this book is certainly readable. However, I think that it lacks both substance and plot. Hundreds of pages about a depressed obsessive-compulsive, and his egocentric childhood friend, is stretching it a little. It relies too heavily on (unnecessarily?) fancy language to impress. Nowhere near as good as The Book of Dave.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Paranoiac Gonzo Critical Method, 2 April 2012
By 
This review is from: Walking to Hollywood: Memories of Before the Fall (Hardcover)
I parted company with Mr Self and his fiction several years ago as I found the constant dictionary referral quite tiring on the arms.However I like his personal style and found his column in the Independent entertaining,but unfortunately the Psychogeography books are beyond my economic means at present,so I plumped for this.
As with some of the other reviewers I found the title section with its abundance of surrealist sidetracking hard going at times,though the other two stories flow a little easier and require less backtracking to find when there's been a scene change or what mode his mind is in.Overall though it was entertaining to sit in on what is at times a celebrity therapy session,although unless you have an IQ over 150 you'll be needing a good dictionary on hand.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars YAWN FEST, 26 Nov 2012
By 
J. K. Marie "daisywooks" (Scottish Borders) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Walking to Hollywood (Paperback)
Why use a long, complicated word when a short one will do? Some people think Will Self is brilliant. I don't! I really don't like his style. I only got a few pages in to this book before I got fed up with reaching for the dictionary . I like to learn new words but he uses too many. It makes me wonder if he is being pompous and trying to impress his readers with his knowledge of complicated words.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Walking to Hollywood: Memories of Before the Fall
Walking to Hollywood: Memories of Before the Fall by Will Self (Hardcover - 6 Sep 2010)
16.41
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews