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Umbrella by Will Self
  

Umbrella

Literary Fiction   eBook Favourites   
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Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012.

Radical in its conception, uncompromising in its style, Umbrella is Will Self's most extravagant and imaginative exercise in speculative fiction to date.

Sir Peter Stothard, Chair of Man Booker Prize 2012 judging panel, on Umbrella...

'Will Self's Umbrella is about a misdiagnosed woman in a north London mental hospital, her family and her doctor. As has been noted in most reviews, it comprises almost 400 pages without paragraph breaks or chapter divisions. Self aims his remarkable mind and literary technique at many subjects that drew other writers in this Man Booker year - the tricks of age and memory, the limitations of technology, the city as a metaphor. This novel is both moving and draining. The judges placed Umbrella on the shortlist with the conviction that those who stick with it will find it much less difficult than at first it seems.'

If you like Will Self you might also like to read books by Matt Thorne, Alexei Sayle and Ben Richards.

Synopsis

Umbrella by Will Self

At Friern Hospital, a vast Victorian mental asylum in North London, maverick psychiatrist Zack Busner encounters Audrey Dearth, a working-class girl from Fulham born in 1890 who fell victim to the encephalitis lethargica epidemic at the end of the First World War and has slept through most of the twentieth century. Realising that Audrey is just one of a number of post-encephalitics scattered throughout the asylum, Busner becomes involved in an attempt to bring them back to life - with wholly unforeseen consequences. Radical in its conception, uncompromising in its style, Umbrella is Will Self's most imaginative and challenging novel to date.

Reviews

'In these culturally straitened times few writers would have the artistic effrontery to offer us a novel as daring, exuberant and richly dense as Umbrella. Will Self has carried the Modernist challenge into the twenty-first century, and worked a wonder' John Banville

'Umbrella is his best book yet ... It makes new for today the lessons taught by the morals of Catch 22, Slaughterhouse Five, The Tin Drum, also Marquez's Chronicle of a Death Foretold' Alasdair Gray

'Umbrella is old-school modernism. It isn't supposed to be a breeze. But it is, to use the literary critical term of art, kind of amazing ... I think this may be Will Self's best book' -- Sam Leith Observer

'This is by far Will Self's best novel; clever, intense, ambitious and risky. It is a novel so arch that it bends over backwards, joining together its own extremities of kindness and indifference, with and banality, of forgetting and remembering, love and loathing, first page, last page' -- Tom Adair, Scotsman

'An astonishing achievement, a novel of exhilarating linguistic invention and high moral seriousness. Certainly, he deserves to win the prize; but more significantly, this is a novel which will be read and re-read, as much for its emotional weight as its technical virtuosity ... With this book he reveals himself as the most determinedly and delightfully literary novelist of his generation' -- Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday

'There are echoes of Joyce and Eliot, but also of Flaubert ... there is also a great deal of humour' -- Brian Dillon, New Statesman

'One cannot help recalling Joyce ... Umbrella is a magnificent celebration of modernist prose, an epic account of the first world war, a frightening investigation into the pathology of mental illness ... Self's ambition and talent have produced something of real cultural significance ... Umbrella must be recognised as, above all, a virtuoso triumph of emotional and creative intelligence' -- Stig Abell, Spectator

'Extraordinary' -- Sheena Joughin Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Will Self

Will Self is the author of three short-story collections, The Quantity Theory of Insanity (winner of the 1992 Geoffrey Faber award), Grey Area and Tough Tough Toys for Touch Tough Boys; a dyad of novellas, Cock and Bull, and a third novella, The Sweet Smell of Psychosis; and four novels, My Idea of Fun, Great Apes, How the Dead Live (shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year 2000) and The Book of Dave.

Together with the photographer David Gamble, he produced Perfidious Man, a sideways look at contemporary masculinity. There have been three collections of journalism, Junk Mail, Sore Sites and Feeding Frenzy. Will Self has written for a plethora of publications over the years and is a regular broadcaster on television and radio. His latest work is a collection of pieces entitled Liver: A Fictional Organ with a Surface Anatomy of Four Lobes.

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Book Info

Publication date

11th April 2013

Author

Will Self

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Author's Website

www.will-self.com
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Publisher

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Format

Paperback
416 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781408831670

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