Read The Butt: An Exit Strategy by Will Self Online

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One of contemporary fiction’s most “wickedly brilliant…endlessly talented” (Publishers Weekly) satirists delivers a dystopian novel skewering global politics and Big Brother-style government post-9/11.When Tom Brodzinksi tries to give up smoking, he inadvertently sets off a chain of events that threaten to upset the tenuous balance of peace in a not-too-distant land. WhenOne of contemporary fiction’s most “wickedly brilliant…endlessly talented” (Publishers Weekly) satirists delivers a dystopian novel skewering global politics and Big Brother-style government post-9/11.When Tom Brodzinksi tries to give up smoking, he inadvertently sets off a chain of events that threaten to upset the tenuous balance of peace in a not-too-distant land. When he flips the butt of his final cigarette off the balcony of his vacation apartment, it lands on elderly Reggie Lincoln, lounging on the balcony below. Lincoln suffers a burn, and the local authorities charge Tom with assault—in a country with draconian anti-smoking laws, a cigarette is a weapon of offense. For reparation, Tom must leave his family behind and wander through the arid center of the country’s deserted territory. Joining Tom on his journey is Brian Prentice, a mysteriously sinister presence, who has his own sins to make up for. Inevitably, the two men encounter violence, forcing them to come together despite their seething mistrust. A profoundly disturbing allegory, The Butt reveals the heart of a distinctly modern darkness....

Title : The Butt: An Exit Strategy
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780747591757
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 368 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Butt: An Exit Strategy Reviews

  • Anthony Vacca
    2018-10-07 18:26

    As a committed smoker, I too worry about our current social climate which allows overly sensitive people to possibly pass draconian laws that will punish me for punishing my lungs by sentencing me to suffer through a surreal journey into war-torn third-world deserts where I will be at the mercy of any predator with the gift of politically correct gab. The world is full of suckers, and you and me makes two.

  • R.
    2018-10-21 15:37

    Or The Marlboro Light of Darkness.Here's a CliffNotesesque version of the novel: http://books.guardian.co.uk/digestedr...Whoot! On order! Cartoony British dustjacket, but still...first time I've ever imported a book. I feel like Captain Carlos De Los Santoyana, or one of those...those wave-treading, circumnavigating Spanish spice merchants. The Butt was named the winner of the annual Wodehouse Prize at the Hays Festival (winner receives champagne, a copy of the Collected Wodehouse, and a pig named after the book: http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/arti... )***What's wrong with me? I'm finding myself jarred by the imagery in this novel - Self has always played with grotesqueries, and there's nothing here that is outstandingly monstrous, but every time I put down the book I have this subliminal chill crawl around me. This never happened with My Idea of Fun (which, given its "idea of fun", should have happened) or the fecal splattered rampage of Great Apes. The only other Self this comes close to in terms of ickitude is The Sweet Smell of Psychosis, but at least that had the mercy of brevity. Don't get me wrong: The Butt: An Exit Strategy is an enjoyable book and a book that is compelling in its plot. I'm just left feeling as uneasy, disoriented and paranoid as the narrator. Either a. Hurricane Will has gathered strength or b. I've gotten soft. ***Book fetishists take note - the UK edition comes with its own blue silk ribbon marker. Why don't more US books have this flourish? The bookmarker industry can't have that strong of a lobby, and there'll always be kids who want a rectangular laminated card of an orange cat hovering over the phrase "The Purrrrfect Place to Stop For the Night" to mark their progress. ***Q:A nightmarish ride, yeah? A: Bahn-bahn-bahn-boosh. Gollyfollymollylolly, right?And the desire for an end, a wrap-up, is a narrative fallacy of the western mind that can be fixed with an operational procedure, a slice with ritual scalpels, down the center of the brain. Just don't lose your passport, papers; lest you end up wandering the streets of an unknown country searching for smokable cigarette butts. ***Oh, and Dr. Zack Busner doesn't make an appearance - though he could just as easily have been used instead of Dr. Erich Von Sasser: though I suspect that Self wanted a...a Deutscher...so he could do a commentary on the lush grossness of Germanic peasant food: the inevitable towering stein of beer, the slice of ham drowning in applesauce, the haystack of sauerkraut. ***Had a dream that Bernie Mac played Tom Brodzinski in the movie version of The Butt. Inspired, but woefully late, casting.

  • Jan
    2018-10-01 17:40

    This book was a blistering mindfuck... a swimming, vivid nightmare set in a strange and fearful desert, it's part Kafka's Castle, part Island of Doctor Moreau. The prose props up the story beautifully, underlying the sweat and the sickness of the protagonist's journey at every point, but the world that Will Self created is utterly astounding. It is a world where good intentions are confounded when a tourist finds himself embroiled in a confusing dual colonial-traditional legal system upon violating a pseudo-Australian "island-continent's" draconian anti-smoking laws. His ensuing path to restitution takes him through a bewildering world of desertification, tribal insurgency, and a fractured and constantly shifting society.Nothing is easy, nothing goes as expected, and veneers of different styles of modernity always end up as cruel distortions. Besides the shocking ending, one major accomplishment of the book is its often gut-wrenching evisceration both of colonialism, and of aboriginal authenticity. Probably the best book I read this year.

  • Lawrence Windrush
    2018-10-19 11:30

    What just happened? How did this get published? It's garbage, a waste of a considerable talent. It starts off in a very entertaining fashion with a holiday maker who having a last cigarette flicks the butt from his hotel balcony, unfortunately it lands on an elderly mans bald pate causing a slight burn. In a Comical series of misunderstandings it gets blown out of all proportion and he faces criminal charges.So far so good, it's an entertaining romp in the manner of a less razor sharp Tom Wolfe, a genial comedy.You expect a trial and legal obscurant nonsense but the novel takes a nosedive into a pile of dung. The main character for wholly bizarre reasons takes a long road trip into the heart of the Pacific island ( it's an unconvincing mixture of an Africanised Australia ) the extended riffs on tribal customs and the various island races are purely laughable. I won't spoil the ending but it's a corker for all the wrong reasons.Will Self you owe me 4 hours of my life back, 20 years ago I was blown away by The quantity theory of insanity, the finest collection of short stories since Joyce, the heir apparent if Martin Amis. Where did it all go wrong? I hope Umbrella is better which I'm about to read soon.

  • Jim
    2018-10-03 14:16

    WHEN WE succeed, nothing is less interesting than our intent; but the same cannot be said when we screw up. It's hard to imagine a scenario more profoundly snafued than the one Will Self has created for the protagonist of his latest novel, "The Butt."At the end of a long vacation in a distant land, Tom Brodzinski unwittingly opens a perilous new chapter in his life when he makes good on his promise to quit smoking by flinging the butt of his last cigarette from the hotel balcony.Unfortunately for Brodzinski -- and his wife and four children -- the nicotine missile catches fire in the coif of a guest named Reginald Lincoln the Third. Though Lincoln is an Anglo like Brodzinski, he is a dual citizen by dint of his marriage to Ataya of the Intwennyfortee mob and a member of the Tayswengo, one of the many aboriginal tribes from the interior of "the great desertified island-continent."The stakes rise as Lincoln's health deteriorates and Brodzinski is dragged into a court where he is ordered to compensate Ataya's tribe to the tune of a couple hunting rifles, a few cooking pots and $10,000. The rub: He must travel several thousand miles to the country's interior -- where tribal insurgents openly wage war with one another -- and make the reparations in person. To add insult to injury, Brodzinski's traveling companion is another ensnared Anglo: a suspected "kiddy fiddler" with psoriasis named Prentice to whom Brodzinski justifiably feels superior:"Watching Prentice squabble with his quick-bitten fingers at the cellophane on the fat red pack of cigarettes, his fish-belly-white face haunted by cellular need, Tom felt, once again, a surge of righteous pride at his own sterling efforts to break the addiction."Though Self's landscape is his own invention, Brodzinski's odyssey parallels the Coalition of the Willing's misadventures in Iraq and bears a strong resemblance to Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." Self's world-building is so thoroughly strange that reading "The Butt" approximates what it must have been like for Conrad's readers to journey into the Congo.Moreover, Self gives his characters enough peculiar quirks of speech as to invite comparisons to Anthony Burgess' "A Clockwork Orange" -- and let's just say the similarities don't stop when Brodzinski disembarks from his SUV.For all the energy that Self spends constructing this fearful new world, Brodzinski is a staggeringly apathetic hero. He is propelled by forces beyond his control, but he neither misses his family nor feels lust toward a woman who looks exactly like his wife and who conveniently crosses his path throughout the novel. Brodzinski can't even muster the will to dispatch the book's weakest villain -- the eminently loathsome Prentice -- though he certainly knows it's in his best interest to do so. He's like Hamlet on Prozac, sniffing at the rotten foundations but unwilling to act.There's far too much going on in this wicked satire to filter it down to a single set of references, but Self is interested in exploring why we do things that we know are bad. Sometimes it's what we do (going to war); sometimes it's what we don't do (looking the other way when people are being enslaved). Self's shocking conclusion amounts to a scathing indictment that will leave many readers wondering if they too are guilty of the habit.

  • Sarah
    2018-10-02 10:23

    I always enjoy Will Self's writing. He is entertaining and blisteringly intelligent. However, I remember reading somewhere that he once said he writes about ideas rather than concerning himself too much with plot and character development, and I wonder if this is his downfall. At some point in his novels, things always seem to descend into madness, and not in a good way. I don't know if it's a case of having too many ideas or not knowing where to take them, but I always finish his novels a little disappointed. I think Self is at his best in his short stories. They are quick, clever, and leave you wanting more. It's a pity that there aren't more of them!The Butt in particular seems to demonstrate that point. I won't say when because I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but hopefully if you've read it you'll know what I mean!

  • Jason Pettus
    2018-10-04 18:26

    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)I hate to admit this, but before this week, the last time I had read a book by Will Self was all the way back in 1992, with his early hit Cock & Bull; and that's a shame, because on the other side of the Atlantic he's sort of known as the British Chuck Palahniuk, the author of a whole string of slightly speculative novels that are as equally funny as they are creepy, and which like Palahniuk makes Self one of the most commercially successful "bizarro" authors on the planet right now. (Of course, in this case it helps that Self is also a high-profile newspaper columnist in England, as well as a mainstay on such British "quiz panel" shows as Have I Got News For You.) So when I stumbled across his latest the other day at the library, 2008's The Butt, you can be sure that I snatched it right up; and I'm glad I did, because it turned out to be exactly what I was hoping it would be, a deeply weird but highly enjoyable parable of the Bush years and the West's misguided adventures in the Middle East in the 2000s, which in a roundabout way becomes an indictment of all Western disasters in the developing world, stretching all the way back to the various imperial endeavors of the great European powers of the 1700s and 1800s.And in fact, Self keeps things deliberately vague here in his own story of Caucasian arrogance, in order to comment on all efforts of colonialism made over the centuries; although it's implied, for example, that our main "anti-villain" Tom Brodzinski is American, it's never flat-out stated, and the exotic regions of "Vance" and the nearby "Feltham Islands" where our story takes place cleverly combine elements of Africa, the South Seas, the Caribbean and Australia. It's a place with its own colonial past, with a still sizable "Anglo" population who live in relative unease with the various aboriginal tribes from the area (the main one in our story being the Tugganarong); a place where do-gooder liberals are trying to bring about a multicultural society by honoring as many details of native life as possible, which among other absurdist details allows for half-naked tribal "magic men" to be legally required in such locations as hospitals and courtrooms, and which has resulted in a draconian anti-smoking policy within the Anglo cities, so to not offend certain tribes who believe cigarettes to be literally the work of the devil.Our arrogantly oblivious narrator Tom, then, starts the novel by smoking in what he believes to be a safe zone, on the balcony of his high-class faux-native luxury tourist hotel room, although accidentally burns his downstairs neighbor when flicking away his cigarette's still-burning butt; but upon further inspection, it turns out not only that the butt briefly passed through a non-smoking section during its downward path, but that the injured Anglo is a converted Tugganarong by marriage, making the entire thing in the tribe's eyes a deliberate act of criminal malice, and for which they insist that Tom be prosecuted for attempted murder. This then serves as the rabbithole for the evermore dark and bizarre tale we learn on each passing page, as Tom is sentenced to deliver by hand across the desert a "village recompensation package" to the Tugganarong as his official punishment, and forced to travel the distance with the maybe-British fellow criminal Brian Prentice (who may or may not be a child-molesting "sex tourist"), a surreal journey that raises more and more mysterious questions with each subsequent chapter, questions like: Why does his half-Danish lawyer's second cousin look exactly like his estranged wife? What's inside the enigmatic package she's asked him to deliver to the Tugganarong on her behalf, which looks curiously like a wrapped human head? How is it that the strange-acting unofficial American consul liaison in this region knows that Tom's favorite drink is Scotch on the rocks? And what exact Heart of Darkness weirdness is going on anyway with the Nazi-like anthropologist and amateur surgeon Erich von Sasser out among the desert villages, whose brother Hippolyte is so far the only Anglo in history to write a comprehensive guide to the native population, and whose nonsense-filled tome is the official bible from which all urban Anglos get their information about these distant tribes' cultures?Like I said, obviously a big part of this novel existing is to be a comment on the Bushist international disasters of the early 2000s (there's a reason, after all, that this book's subtitle is "An Exit Strategy"); but one of the reasons that Self is so popular to begin with is that a book like this is both more and less than just an attack on Bushism, coming around to its points through startlingly unique facets that only indirectly correspond to real events from the news. Just to cite one brilliant example, look at the so-called "Tontine Townships" that Tom and Brian are forced to travel through on their existentialist cross-country drive, where actual tontine insurance policies are given out to the dirt-poor villagers (in which only the last person alive gets to claim the policy's monetary award), turning the entire region into an ultra-violent place of anarchy where it's barely safe to even stand on a public sidewalk; this could be a metaphor for any number of humiliations forced on native populations by Westerners over the years, making it a much more effective statement than to actually pick any of these specific real examples, and especially when you add to the novel that it's a common occurrence for white tourists to buy out a tontine participant's share for a pittance and then simply go home, virtually guaranteeing that they'll be the last one alive when the violence is finally over, and turning a tidy profit on their literal blood-money investment.It's for details like these that one reads a Will Self novel, outrageous yet sadly plausible concepts that say more about our current society than any direct reference to real events could; and that's why The Butt has reminded me recently that it's more than time for me to finally add Self's old oeuvre to my "Tales From the Completist" wish-list, starting with the much-loved 2006 novel The Book of Dave (in which 500 years in the future, a post-apocalyptic religion is founded on the bitter, racist, semi-coherent blog entries of a down-on-his-luck loser from our own times -- or at least, that's what the dust jacket makes the book sound like). His work comes highly recommended to fans of so-called "gonzo" fiction, a great example of someone in that genre reigning things in a bit in order to make their stories much more palpable to a mainstream crowd, but who is still weird enough for any fan of the underground to be delighted. I'm looking forward to sharing more of Self's book catalog with you here as the years progress.Out of 10: 8.6

  • Tuck
    2018-09-28 11:22

    from pg 331, this when Tom slowly realizes his whole odyssey of punishment and rehabilitation (for smoking a cigarette) has been a huge scam, and one of the scammers he notes is talking to him on a cell phone imitating his wife, but anyway Tom gets a shiver:"Hispid and viscid: Beelzebub’s proboscis was nuzzling at the sweet nooks and crannies of Tom’s cerebrum. It tickled."You can like Will Self novels on many many levels: beautiful, odd, unique prose, big-picture geopolitics and history (usually of a very damning sort of the imperialist, racist, glacier-melting west), fucked up plots and ideas, funny and comic one-liners...Back in the late 1700's and early 1800's north america Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa tried to start a pan-indian confederation of resistance to colonization, cultural destruction, and, well, genocide. Tenskwatawa was a guru and "preacher", not a fighter (well, not a good fighter anyway, he got his ass handed to him at the battle of tippecanoe) and his main tenents were that indians should drop the whole modernization/globalization gig and go back to the "old ways". Specifically that meant stop smoking white man tobacco, drinkiing alcohol, wearing cloth clothes, using guns, etc. He said smoking tobacco was just a big waste and addiction and that fellows would just sit around all day smoking and shooting the shit, then go out and kill a beaver, sell it, and buy more tobacco. He got quite a big following from lots of different tribes, but ultimatly it was unsuccesful.in "The Butt", described as a dystopian (but more better a utopia?) about indigenous culture that bans tobacco, an insurgency that is fighting against them/that (through you wouldn't believe what methods, read the book) and Tom, the sap who gets busted smoking and has to be rehabilitated. I've heard it said this novel is an satiric indictment of the usa iraq war, western liberalism, and hell, lets say it, the boobiness of Australia. Its also an arch and erudite story of the clash between global captialism and indigenous (and quickly dying) brown cultures of the world. Will Self novels are smart. i recommend to read one every quarter to keep your edge sharp.oh, and that quote above i liked because it is such a sweet for-shadow (sp?) of the methods of control in this novel, the snipping of the connection between the right side and left side of the brain.

  • Jayne Charles
    2018-10-04 17:34

    I once switched off a radio interview with Will Self because I was feeling sorry for the interviewer. I gave this book a go, though, in the belief that being irritating and writing great literature don’t have to be mutually exclusive. So it turned out, up to a point: this is very well written, original, and possessed of a sort of bleak sarcasm all of its own. It’s set in a huge country – a Southern Hemisphere island continent where colonialism has marginalised the indigenous population; it has an arid and inhospitable interior and men wear ‘strides’. Sound familiar? Well, it’s not Australia. In this curious country there exists a farcical legal system in which a tourist who drops a cigarette butt off his hotel balcony is subjected to legal proceedings because it lands on another person’s head. I guess I was expecting something a bit more light hearted than this turned out to be. It felt like being trapped inside some bizarre dream – probably intentionally – and though it was clearly a high-functioning satire on something, I couldn’t for the life of me work out what. I’m pinning my hopes on a reviewer on here being able to fill in the gaps for me. It did get me thinking about satirical literature in general – the way that it can deploy all the irony it likes, but unless the perspective lines of that irony cross somewhere to focus the reader on the question, moral or otherwise, that is being posed, many readers are just going to miss the point. I don't know what the point was, in this novel - you could pick from any number of possibilities (the anti-smoking movement, multiculturalism, tourism, or maybe - just maybe - it's an emperor's new clothes-style joke being perpetrated on the reading public, making them the 'Butt' of the joke). Ultimately, I was glad to reach the end of this novel; the bits I liked reminded me of John Fowles’ ‘The Magus’, the bits I didn't just reminded me that I don't much like Will Self.

  • ATJG
    2018-09-23 17:11

    I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that my tastes run contrary to those of my people, the once noble homo sapiens americanus, because I, whilst shepherding the grocery buggy with the wonky wheel down the paper goods aisle where alleged "thrillers" stand in enfilade, cannot compass the generally dismal reaction to The Butt from alleged "critics". Now this is edge-of-your-seat entertainment! This is, as that much-reverenced waterlogged and kleptomaniac tailor's mannequin Ronald Reagan said of that one Tom Clancy novel, a "good yarn". Riveting folks, but you don't have to take my word for it.

  • Levi
    2018-09-26 15:37

    I think I will need to think about this one for a while, and possibly read it again, before having a well-formulated opinion on it. At this point it's not my favorite Will Self book by a longshot, but it's still chock full of evocative imagery, lacerating satire, and disturbing dystopia. Sort of Kafka meets Swift meets . . . Will Self? This is another book that is best without any prior intimation of plot points and themes, so just either read it or don't. If you haven't read any of his books I would definitely suggest starting with Great Apes or My Idea of Fun, though.

  • Sarah
    2018-10-19 18:18

    I was intrigued by the synopsis on the book jacket - a wayward cigarette butt changes the course of one man's life. I was not expecting an alternate reality and a world that resembles one of Kurt Vonnegut's. Because of this, it took me awhile to get into the story and get involved with the main character. Once I was able to accept it for what it was, I found it irrisistable. There are shadows of the Iraq War in it, with the numerous checkpoints the characters must traverse, but it also explores the societal mores of the West. Overall, it was very imaginative, thoughtful and enjoyable.

  • Timothy Urban
    2018-09-22 11:36

    This was so relentlessly one-note, so heart of darkness without any actual heart, I was left wondering how someone as intelligent as Self could have persevered with the writing of it, could have stuck with those flat characters. It's a long book. It adds up to very little. It's a trek across a barren landscape, in every sense.

  • Fygaso
    2018-10-19 11:32

    I read this book some time ago and while it is not one of my favourite of Self's books, it has become quite relevant recently. The trial of the four back-packers in Malaysia for disrespecting the sacred mountain by taking naked photos in its presence may stir the frustration of anyone who has lived in a foreign culture. A relatively simple transgression of social code results in a compounding series of punishment and retribution that, as is familiar to Self's readers, become more and more absurd. The back-packers were accused of causing the earthquake that left 18 dead some days later. I'm sure that Self's allegory is deeper and more focused on conflicts of belief systems but for me, a Brit living in Greece, it rings deep with the everyday friction of moving away from a familiar society where most hold with the same social rules. This story has some parallels with Kafka's The Trial and evokes similar frustrations but as Tom, the protagonist, tries to satisfy the requirements of the legal system he falls deeper into its madness. He has been socialised to have faith in justice and the legal system's reason. Soon, all reason is lost to him but by that time it's too late. I also saw some reference to A Scanner Darkly while Tom tries to do right by the law, he becomes the victim of its protection. Incidently, on the same day former head of the IMF, Dominique Stauss-Kahn was acquitted of aggravated pimping by a society that sees such activity as part of a powerful man's sacrosanct personal life.I love the way Will Self takes banality and turns it up to 11, at each juncture throwing a dice The Diceman style to see where the story will turn. In this, he has done this consummately and the result is a skin-crawling ride through bureaucracy and cultural norms. I think what it left me with was a reinforcement of my belief that what is the norm is not necessarily normal. Or as Mark Twain said, "When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect."

  • Mike Steven
    2018-10-01 17:30

    I expect Will Self to get a five star review every time so I was slightly disappointed with this novel. Only slightly though. I think is suffers in my mind because the last Self book I read was 'The Book of Dave' and I loved that.This story tells of a man's struggle to respond to a legal system in an unknown foreign country where it is believed that there 'is no such thing as an accident' and people are punished for the result of their actions and not their intentions. Tom Brodzinski decides to give up smoking and flicks his last cigarette end off his balcony where it unfortunately hits an elderly resident below. What follows is the character's attempt to gain redemption and avoid punishment by the bizarre legal system of the country.As usual, Self creates a fantastic yet grotesque world which is both fantastical and realistic because of his power of description. At times the novel feels like Catch-22 as Brodzinski finds himself a victim of ridiculous and seemingly contradictory laws, whereas at other times it feels like Heart of Darkness. If I'm honest, there were a couple of things that I felt were unresolved in the novel which prevented me from giving it five stars but I'm unable to talk about them without doing a spoiler alert. I'm sure that Self intended to leave them enigmatically resolved but I found it a little unsatisfying.

  • Palmyrah
    2018-10-19 17:34

    Will Self can go either way with me. I thoroughly enjoyed and admired The Book of Dave and Great Apes is one of my all-time favourites. I am generally bored or put off by his short stories and could make no headway at all with How the Dead Live.This is a lighter-hearted and (some would say) lighter-minded work than either of my great favourites. An American is on holiday with his family in an imaginary Australasia where political correctness and multiculturalism have gone mad. He casually discards a cigarette butt and finds himself up to the neck in trouble, which gets progressively more surrealistic and bizarre until the climactic outcome. Readers of Great Apes will be familiar with the progression, though the events here are different, obviously. The end wasn't predictable in detail but you could see what kind of ending it would be a mile off. If Self wasn't such a damn good writer (all his virtues as a craftsman are on display here, though not as spectacularly as in Dave) this book would have got only two stars from me.

  • Mark Love
    2018-10-10 10:12

    Since giving up smoking is a favourite hobby of mine, and Will Self is a favourite author, this combination was bound to go down well with me.Tom Brodzinski is abroad with his family, in a strangely unfamiliar country. He smokes his last cigarette and in a bizarre sequence of events finds himself with a blood debt to pay under an arcane and unintelligible tribal justice system. A journey upcountry becomes a Heart of Darkness penance tinged with menance and black black humour and plenty to shock and surprise him and the reader.Not quite Self at his best, but very readable, and avoids the obvious plot, as you would expect, although somewhat self-indulgent in palces (if you'll pardon the pun)

  • Lisalou
    2018-10-18 14:29

    A good Will Self book with an interesting premise. A tourist is traveling in a foreign country where smoking is very illegal. He lets his last cigarette butt fall off of the balcony where he's staying and it hits and burns the person on the balcony below. The tribe that the victim belongs to believes nothing is done unintentionally and the main character finds himself in a legal labyrinth mixed with native tribes' views on justice. The ending I saw coming from a mile off, however, the journey to get there was interesting. Peppered with interesting views on liberal views of native cultures and good intentions. As someone living in Vermont where natives often rail against New Yorkers coming and trying to stop all progress, it gave the novel an interesting slant.

  • Bruno Bouchet
    2018-10-07 15:40

    This was a put back on the shelf book. It's the first Self I've tried reading - a writer I always meant to try, so I was disappointed. There was some enjoyable description and phrases, but ultimately the plot was tired for me. The whole white man falling victim to ridiculously extreme tribal laws, reads in the first sections of the book as a classic rant against supposed political correctness. Traditional laws are easy to mock for 'civilised' white people. It's not Kafka-esque. Kafka was more subversive, more agonisingly torturous and much much funnier. I suppose the novel could have turned around and presented a different attitude but I just wasn't engaged enough to persevere.

  • Ed
    2018-10-17 12:30

    "The Butt" is a dark farce reminiscent of Flann O'Brien's "The Third Policeman." Will Self dares you to laugh at the hilarious––but not really funny at all––plight of his main character, Tom Brodzinski.For a minor misdemeanor involving a cigarette butt, Brodzinski is marooned in an imaginary composite of every outward bound tourist destination you can think of. Every move he makes seems to break some arcane taboo and to make his situation worse.Four stars instead of five, because for me the ending was a little long-wided, and a tad didactic.

  • Lauren
    2018-10-20 17:14

    I unashamedly adore Will Self. He is the only contemporary author I have found who makes me feel the exact same feeling as when I read Kafka, puzzlement, gnawing anxiety, the sweaty blind claustrophobia of repetitive dreams. The Butt is an easier read than Self's latest novels but it still picks you up, drags you along in a bemused daze and then punches you in the face.I've seen so many reviews on here of people saying they put it down. DO NOT DO THAT. The end is worth it in itself, even though I think the entire narrative is a delight.

  • Rand
    2018-09-25 17:31

    For those who want to quit smoking but can't, read 5 pages of this book after each cigarette you smoke. Before long you'll pass on both the tobacco and this book.The end was the best part, which is a shame—this could have been a brilliant novella.

  • Tim
    2018-10-23 17:31

    Self has created a cartoon world which I did not care to linger long in. The main character's passivity annoyed me enough to eliminate any search for higher meaning or deeper humor. Felt quite fine closing this book and walking away from it.

  • Dave-O
    2018-10-19 11:37

    The dialogue is plodding where it should be clever. The spineless lead character just takes whatever is thrown his way in this absurd satire about colonialism which is more confusing than it is scathing. I stopped caring about halfway through, but I think the author did too.

  • Aurélie
    2018-10-11 13:28

    Bof, bof...Le livre commence bien, le début est original et drôle. On est pris par l'intrigue.Mais la suite est décevante et on perd le fil. Dommage.

  • Jim
    2018-10-11 15:24

    To be positive, once I got going on this read, I really enjoyed the ride and was driven to take it through to the end. But at 100 pages I was almost giving up on it. It seemed so confused – what was it really about? In that position, I opted for reading a few reviews which allowed me to see some of what was ahead and so I was taken up into this terrific gallop across a foreign multi-cultural land. But still at the end I felt disappointed. It seemed to be overfilled with ideas, new terms, strange societies, and an immense degree of oddness.At the end I’m wondering --- ‘Why?’ – How am I supposed to take it? –Am I supposed to enjoy it, roll with laughter to it, learn from it or what? And why use so many difficult words? – Is the author deliberately targeting a small audience? Maybe not me.It was ok................. Yes, it turned out ok for me................but it could have been much more.

  • Adriano Pugno
    2018-10-11 14:22

    Esperimento davvero particolare, forse non perfettamente riuscito. Will Self tratteggia un mondo narrativo che ci fa riflettere sulle nostre credenze antropologiche, sociali e giurisprudenziali. Il protagonista è uno di noi, un uomo occidentale che vede la fine della dipendenza dal tabagismo come una conquista assoluta. Un uomo che, ovviamente, finisce per non capire il senso di ciò che gli capita intorno, di un mondo identico e diverso con delle regole proprie.Il finale è forse troppo rapido, l'edizione italiana ha qualche refuso di troppo, alcune parti potevano essere accorciate. Ma il tentativo è preziosissimo, fa pensare ad una versione cinica e aggiornata di A brave new world di Huxley.

  • Lyn Ryan
    2018-09-28 15:27

    I am really not sure what I think of this book. It is part Heart of Darkness, part buddy/road story movie, part Kafkaesque nightmare. About half way through I felt that it lost all credibility; surely no person would subject themselves to this punishment? Is Will Self making a point about the legal systems in the less sophisticated parts of the world (i.e. where brown people live?) Mostly I found myself cringing at the references to 'bing bongs' and colonial attitudes. Maybe I just didn't get the intended irony? Or maybe it was just in poor taste.

  • Maureen Mathews
    2018-10-17 11:30

    A journey into the heart of darkness of an island continent that could be Australia, if you were on a bad acid trip. Bleakly hilarious. Shockingly blunt (no pc here). Sabagely clear-sighted. Will Self at his sulphurous best. Only criticism ... I think he used to have trouble with endings. Often a bit abrupt and unsatisfying. Still worth the trip.

  • Nicholas Beinn
    2018-09-23 12:27

    There were points during the long road trip in the middle that I wondered why I was reading this; ultimately it was just about worthy it. The satire was good, the politics and morality of it were interesting, but it would have been better if it was half as long.