July 28, 2017

The Butt by Will Self

The Butt by Will SelfWill Self won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Writing for The Butt in 2008.

The Butt is the tale of a normal family man Tom Brodzinski who does something accidental on holiday in a far off land (unnamed) that leads all kinds of trouble – legal, cultural and more. Tom gets left in the country by his family and gets somewhat paranoid, resigned to it all, and so forth.

There are some great characters in the story, and fantastic names. The country Tom gets stuck in is imaginary – everyone speaks like they’re from Austrailia, but there’s warring local factions rather like Iraq, and a bizarre culture system that feels a little African, or Pacific Islandy. Plus a civil war going through the middle of the country.

The book works on many levels – a simple amusment, but also rather dark. On reading it I thought it would make a great film – a la The Rum Diaries – but you couldn’t drop the divisions between the whites and the indiginous people so it might be too racist.

The end is quite a twist – maybe a moral twist, but more a dark twist.

An enjoyable read – for now it makes my top 10 of the year.


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