Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys Paperback – 4 Jun 2009
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Will Self's tabloid-friendly reputation as a connoisseur of proscribed substances should not obscure the fact that he can write many of his contemporaries under the table. Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys, is filled with typically Selfish confections: gritty chunks of reality wrapped in a sweet shell of exquisitely funny and intelligent writing. Admittedly, some of the stories here feel a little underdeveloped, as if the author were flexing his literary muscles and showing how easily he can make highbrow style dirty-dance with his lowbrow obsessions, but even the least of them is a bravura performance by an expert wordsmith. Self's obvious pleasure in bringing his extraordinary talents to bear on the seamiest of subjects is irresistible: the description of a crack cocaine rush that closes the first story, for example, is quite possibly more intoxicating than the drug itself.
But the greater part of the book complements that dazzling style with deeper pleasures. As he ranges from the hilarious tale of a remarkable infant who babbles in business German ("Bemess-bemess-bemessungsgrundlage!") to a troubled psychiatrist's journey toward the abyss, Self shows an uncanny knack for mixing realism and absurdity. The closing piece, a short novella about a wrongly convicted sex offender's attempt to win a short-story prize, is the most assured of all. In this author's hands, the barely articulate conversations of career criminals are transformed into poetry, and the struggles of the central character are both moving and wickedly funny:
In prison, in the English winter, the word crepuscular acquires new resonance, new intensity. For here and now is an eternity of forty-watt bulbs, an Empty Quarter of linoleum and a lost world of distempered walls. It's an environment of corridors and walkways, a space that taunts with the idea of progression towards arrival; then delivers only a TV room full of modular plastic chairs and Styrofoam beakers napalmed by fag ends.
In Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys Will Self shows once again that he's someone to be reckoned with. The kind of writer a society needs, he uses his wit as a crowbar to pry open the cracks in our culture. --Simon Leake --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
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 five novels, four collections of short stories, three novellas and four 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 south London.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Flytopia", in which Jonathan Priestley, an indexer, finds his cottage overrun with insects who eventually influence him in a most disturbing way, sees a return to the mind-games and macabre of "My Idea of Fun", and in "Caring, Sharing", the most light-hearted and probably the funniest of the collection, rivalled perhaps by "A Story For Europe", Self creates one of his "Great Apes"-esque worlds of humans reduced to their animal nature, but at the same time under the parenting of social etiquette and frigidity. The darkest and most disturbing story in the collection, "Tough Tough Toys for Tough Tough Boys"(a reference to the Tonka toys slogan), involves the self-realisation and eventual suicide of a psychoanalyst-turned-psychiatrist. He becomes, in a sense, one with his turbo-charged three litre saloon, before having his truth painfully revealed to him inadvertently by a hitch-hiker, whereupon the machine takes him to his end.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A wonderful journey into the dark, ironic and downright bizarre depths of society as it appears in the mind of the ingenious Will Self.Published on 28 Jun. 2006 by Mr. Samuel L. Nair
This was my first foray into Self's fictional work after previously reading his newspaper columns. The stories in this collection span quite a diverse range of subjects... Read morePublished on 7 Nov. 2000