19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Deep, dark and brilliant - but not my idea of fun.,
This review is from: The Book of Dave: A Revelation of the Recent Past and the Distant Future (Paperback)
The Book of Dave looks at the logical conclusions of the rise in our society of acrimonious divorce, with the dice loaded against fathers in terms of both access and child support. Will Self presents the bleak, flawed life of Dave, a bigoted, occasionally violent London cabbie who is fighting to sustain access to his son. Dave, in an anti-depressant fuelled psychosis, writes and buries his own book of holy law, based on the Knowledge, his hatred of `mummies' and his longing for `the lost boy'. Self juxtaposes this with a grim post-apocalyptic vision of the future, where Dave's book has been unearthed and adopted as the new religion. Relationship breakdown, domestic violence against women and hatred and disenfranchisement between parents hasn't just become the norm, it's now the law.
The Book of Dave is as adventurous, inventive and socially-relevant as, say, Great Apes but it just doesn't have the laughs of Will Self's earlier fiction. His sense of the ridiculous that makes his earlier books so funny is present but is drowned by a relentlessly depressing story of cruelty, despair and failure which at times is hard for the reader to bear. Some readers might find the first sight of the dialogue off-putting as the majority of it is written phonetically but it's actually just Eastenders-style Cockney and is much more accessible than the narration in Anthony Burgess' brilliant A Clockwork Orange, for example.
It's been said before that people are either fans of Will Self's journalism or fans of his fiction. Personally, I'm in awe of his fiction. This particular example of it didn't make me laugh but it was as unnerving, intelligent and compelling as the best of his earlier work.