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The Book of Dave

The Book of Dave

3.5 2
by Will Self

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When East End cabdriver Dave Rudman's wife takes from him his only son, Dave pens a gripping text-a compilation about everything from the environment, Arabs, and American tourists to sex, Prozac, and cabby lore-that captures all of his frustrations and anxieties about his contemporary world. Dave buries the book in his ex-wife's Hampstead backyard, intending it for


When East End cabdriver Dave Rudman's wife takes from him his only son, Dave pens a gripping text-a compilation about everything from the environment, Arabs, and American tourists to sex, Prozac, and cabby lore-that captures all of his frustrations and anxieties about his contemporary world. Dave buries the book in his ex-wife's Hampstead backyard, intending it for his son, Carl, when he comes of age.
Five hundred years later, Dave's book is found by the inhabitants of Ham, a primitive archipelago in postapocalyptic London, where it becomes a sacred text of biblical proportions and the template for a new civilization. Only one islander, Symum, remains incredulous. But, after he is imprisoned for heresy, his son Carl must journey through the Forbidden Zone and into the terrifying heart of New London to find the only thing that will reveal the truth once and for all: a second Book of Dave that repudiates the first.
The Book of Dave is a profound meditation upon the nature of religion and a caustic satire of contemporary life.

Editorial Reviews

Donna Rifkind
The good news is that, while The Book of Dave is sometimes as aggressively off-putting as Self's five previous novels, it's also a richer, more engaging enterprise. In each of those earlier books there lurked a magic page of doom on which the reader became certain that Self had already thoroughly explored his gimmicky premise؏the guy is really a chimpanzee in Great Apes; death is just a more tedious version of life in How the Dead Live—and would now spend several hundred more pages methodically kicking the life out of it.

No such page exists in the new novel, whose plot is sturdy enough to support its voluptuous prose. Most significantly, the author has worked hard to increase his emotional repertoire from a three-chord punk chorus of rage, contempt and despair to a more expansive range of sensibility.
—The Washington Post

Publishers Weekly
Self, the provocative British raconteur who used the Tibetan Book of the Dead to map London (How the Dead Live, 2000) is taking another literary shot across his home city's bow. In his gleaming new puzzlebook, Self creates a dystopian future London, ruled by a cynosure of priests, lawyers and the monarchy. He invents Arpee, the musical language they speak that is based on a sacred text-The Book of Dave-which also serves, satirically, as the society's moral and legal foundation. And who is this deity named Dave? An embittered London cabbie from the distant past-the year 2000. As the book opens, the kingdom of Ingerland is ruled by the elite and ruthless PCO. (Self is riffing on the Public Carriage Office, London's transit authority.) People live according to The Book of Dave, which was recovered after a great flood wiped out London in the MadeinChina era. Flashing back more than 500 years, cabbie Dave Rudman types out his idiosyncratic, misogynist, bile-tinged fantasies while in a fit of antidepressant-induced psychosis and battling over the custody of his child, Carl. His screed becomes both a blueprint for a harsh childrearing climate (mummies and daddies living apart, with the kids splitting time between them) and a full-blown cosmology. As Self moves between eras, he divides the book between Dave's story and the story of the great Flying (slang in the future for "heresy"). The latter involves the appearance of the Geezer (prophet) on the island of Ham (Hampshire) in 508 A.D. (after the "purported discovery of the Book of Dave"), who claims to have found a second Book of Dave annulling the "tiresome strictures" of the first. He is imprisoned by the PCO and mangled beyond recognition, but, 14 years later, his son, Carl Devush, travels from Ham to New London, determined to create a less cruel world that responds to the "mummyself" within. Self's invention of a future language (including dialect Mokni, which combines cabby slang, cockney and the Esperanto of graffiti-and, yes, a dictionary is provided) is wickedly brilliant, with surprising moments of childlike purity punctuating the lexicon's crude surface (a "fuckoffgaff" is a "lawyerly place," while "wooly" means sheep). Self is endlessly talented, and in crossbreeding a fantasy novel with a scorching satire of contemporary mores, he's created a beautiful monster of the future that feeds on the neurotic present-and its parents. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
London cabbie Dave Rudman, in a rage over losing visitation rights to his son, writes a book about his working life for the boy. Five hundred years after the destruction of present-day London by flooding, this book is found by a primitive tribe called the Hamsters and made the basis of its religion. Priests, therefore, are referred to as "drivers," the average person is a "fare," and a typical greeting is "Where to, guv?" This cleverly written narrative playfully transforms the life of a taxi driver into sacred rituals. Self (Great Apes) alternates chapters between life on the Isle of Ham (formerly Hampstead Heath) circa A.D. 523 (after Dave) and Dave's life in the present. In the future, a young Hamster and his teacher go in search of a "geezer" who claims to have found a second Book of Dave that refutes most of the first book. Meanwhile, chapters focusing on Dave recount his marriage, divorce, depression, and eventual death. The Hamsters speak in a heavy cockney accent that Self writes phonetically; this and the many words and customs derived from the Book of Dave initially make for difficult reading. As the picture comes into focus, however, you will marvel at the ingenuity of this highly literate, superbly written satire of what societies deem sacred. Highly recommended.-Joshua Cohen, Mid-Hudson Lib. Syst., Poughkeepsie, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
England in the future and (mostly) underwater is the post-apocalyptic setting for the brazen Brit author's ambitious dystopian satire. The title story, one of two energetically detailed narratives, is the "text," written, in 2000, more in anger than in sorrow, by London cabdriver Dave Rudman, whose wife Michelle has fled their rickety marriage, remarried and kept Dave from seeing their son Carl. Dave's mad, self-justifying, misogynistic "memoir," which he buries in the backyard of Michelle's new home, takes on a vivid extended life more than 500 years later, when it's excavated, fervently embraced as a sacred text and used as a template by a rigidly structured society in which parents live apart and children are shuttled between them during designated "Changeovers." This stripped-down future, after rising sea levels have turned Britain into hundreds of tiny islands (e.g., that of "Ham," formerly Hampstead, where Michelle's family now live), stimulates both Self's abrasive genius for elaborating ingenious premises in mordantly funny detail (Great Apes, 1997), and his maddening tendency to beat every idea to death (How the Dead Live, 2000). In the 2500s, the practice of "Davinity" (i.e., worship of Dave) is expressed in the language (derived from his chaotic book) of Arpee, specifically the dialect of Mokni-of which numerous brilliant examples are given, and minimal interpretation is supplied in a brief concluding glossary. Much of this is superb, but a byzantine plot involving the son (another Carl) of a "heretic" who opposed Davinity and preached the equality of the sexes, is simply tedious. Though this edgy novel invites comparison with such contemporary classics as Anthony Burgess's AClockwork Orange and Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker, its anarchic vision of future shock is far less compelling than Dave's own story of loss, grief, surrender to drug addiction and madness. Thus, this is indeed divided: by turns acrid, funny and perversely moving, yet marred by sourness, shrillness and redundancy.
From the Publisher

“Self seamlessly toggles between the two time periods, giving equal depth to frustrated, sympathetic Dave and to the inhabitants of the post-apolcalyptic future. The bastardized Cockney language of 523 A.D. (anno Dave), while sometimes difficult to understand, is one of the book's most puzzling yet satisfying joys. B+.” —Gilbert Cruz, Entertainment Weekly

“The first 90 pages of this book read like a cross between "Jabberwocky" and "A Clockwork Orange." It's a devilishly catchy argot and once readers sink into it, they will find themselves wondering if the characters are traveling norf or souf….Like Martin Amis, with whom he's often compared, Self marries his verbal acrobatics to social critique, gamely taking on corporate culture, family law, London urban sprawl, religion, racial division and the received wisdom of women's magazines and the pub. ...You're left with the intoxication of Self's wordplay and the clarity of his visions.” —Regina Marler, Los Angeles Times

“A richer, more engaging enterprise…Whose plot is sturdy enough to support its voluptuous prose. Most significantly, the author has worked hard to increase his emotional repertoire from a three-chord punk chorus of rage, contempt and despair to a more expansive range of sensibility.” —Donna Rifkind, Washington Post

“Fans of Self's previous edgy satires won't be disappointed with The Book of Dave, his latest riff on the strange complexities of the modern world. Balancing stories of pained intimacies between fathers and sons, it also brilliantly caricatures the fervor of literal-minded religious fundamentalism…Blisteringly astute.” —Geoffrey Bateman, Rocky Mountain News

“Remarkable…Among his most ambitious and imaginative...The Book of Dave seems to be about the crippling nihilism of a world without transcendent meaning and the tensions and contradictions of the religious personality.” —Daniel Sullivan, Weekly Standard

“The apocalypse that created the world in Self's new novel somehow incinerated all the Shakespeare and the Tolstoy and the Bible, leaving only the angry scrawlings of a divorced London cabdriver named Dave upon which to build a new culture. Dave's ruined life is worshipped and codified-bitterness as religion. Men and women live apart. Children's weeks are divided into mummytime and daddytime, and young women are known as Opares. The Book of Dave can be hard going. The language Self invents takes off from bangers-and-mash quaintness into near incomprehensibility, with jarring phonetic spellings and a whole goofball nomenclature. The Milky Way is the dashboard; the sun is the foglamp… It sounds as though it could devolve into inanity (in fact, the religion is known as Davinanity), but Self somehow breathes life into it. It's grim and compelling-a world to get lost in. That is, if we're not lost already. BUY IT.” —New York Magazine

“In this tale of an embittered taxi-driver whose psychotic rantings become the creed of a blighted people hundreds of years after his death, Self unleashes his apparently boundless misanthropy on modern London, the origins of religion, and the postapocalyptic future. Dave Rudman, driven mad by divorce and ill-prescribed antidepressants, thinks he is God and writes a vitriolic screed, which he has printed on metal plates and buries in a garden. Discovered by the survivors of a catastrophic flood and adopted as a gospel, it demands the complete separation of mothers and fathers (children to spend exactly half the week with each). Switching between a narrative of Dave's unlucky life and the phonetically rendered "Mokni" speech of his wretched followers, Self achieves an elaborate vision of vicious superstition and hopeless struggle, but his insights never quite repay the effort of engaging with his stylistic pyrotechnics.” —New Yorker

“In The Book of Dave, his satiric masterpiece thus far, Self proves again that with talent like his, it's never the what, but the how…Though his invention (often via inversion) of a future language owes an obvious debt to Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker, Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, and Orwell, Self spins his own brilliantly macaronic web between Now and Later…Self's inventiveness and control are dazzling…Self's novel achieves depth not by skewering organized religion, though it does so quite adroitly, but by exploring the many grids of modern despair, how we find ourselves cast adrift, and how, much like Dave, whose loneliness is unabated by the 'hateful company of his own kind,' we fester unseen…A gripping, funny, and pleasurably intricate novel.” —Sam Lipsyte, Bookforum

“Self satires the strange complexities of the modern world by juxtaposing two stories: the first set in London roughly 500 years in the future and the second involving a modern-day cab driver. The cab driver's written rants about an ex-wife, uncovered in the future London, provide the moral, legal and cultural foundation of the new world order in this blisteringly astute novel.” —Rocky Mountain News

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Bloomsbury USA
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Read an Excerpt

The Book of Dave

A Revelation of the Recent Past and the Distant Future



Copyright © 2006

Will Self

All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-59691-123-9

Chapter One

The Hack's Party

JUN 523 AD

Carl Dévúsh, spindle-shanked, bleach-blond, lampburnt, twelve
years old, kicked up buff puffs of sand with his bare feet as he
scampered along the path from the manor. Although it was still
early in the first tariff, the foglamp had already bored through the
cloud and boiled the dew off the island. As he gained height and
looked back over his shoulder, Carl saw first the homely notch of
Manna Bä, then the shrub-choked slopes of the Gayt rising up
beyond it. The sea mist had retreated offshore, where it hovered, a
white-grey bank merging with the blue screen above. Wot if Eye
woz up vair, Carl thought, up vair lyke ve Flyin I? He put himself
in this lofty perspective and saw Ham, floating like a water beetle,
thrusting out angled legs of grey stone deep into the placid waters
of its ultramarine lagoon. The waters intensified the beetle island's
myriad greens: its golden wheatie crop, its purple, blue and mauve
flowering buddyspike, its yellowy banks of pricklebush and its
feathery stands of fireweed. The whole lustrous shell was picked
out by a palisade of blisterweed, the lacy umbels of which trimmed
the entire shoreline.

The realisland was quite as vivified as any toyist vision, the
southeast-facing undulation of land audibly hummed. Bees, drugged
by the heat, lay down in the flowers, ants reclined on beds of leaf
mould, flying rats gave a liquid coo-burble - then stoppered up. To
the south a few gulls soared above the denser greenery of the
Ferbiddun Zön.

The little kids who'd left the manor with Carl had run on ahead,
up the slope towards the Layn, the avenue of trees that formed the
spine of Ham. These thick-trunked, stunted crinkleleafs bordered
the cultivated land with a dark, shimmering froth. Carl saw brown
legs, tan T-shirts and mops of curly hair flashing among the trunks
as the young Hamsters scattered into the woodland. Reedy whoops
of joy reached Carl's ears, and he wished he could go with them
into Norfend, galumphing through the undergrowth, sloshing into
the boggy hollows to flush out the motos, then herd them towards
their wallows.

Up from the manor in a line behind Carl came the older lads - those
between ten and fourteen years old - whose graft it was to
oversee the motos' wallowing, before assigning the beasts their
day's toil. Despite everything, Carl remained the acknowledged
gaffer of this group, and, as he swerved off the path along one of
the linchets dividing the rips, the other eight followed suit, so that
the whole party were walking abreast, following the bands of
wheatie as they rolled up the rise.

Carl remembered how this ground had been in buddout, each
rip mounded with a mixture of moto dung, seaweed, birdshit and
roof straw. The motos had deftly laid their own fresh dung, but the
other ingredients had to be dug from the byres, scraped from the
rocks and gathered from the shore by the older girls and opares.
Next the mummies laboriously dragged truckle after truckle of the
mixture up from the manor, before spreading and digging it into
the earth with their mattocks. There were no wheels on Ham - save
for symbols of them - and therefore no cars or vans either, so
the Hamsterwomen tilled the long rips themselves - a team of six
yoked to the island's sole plough, with its heavy irony share. Now
the ripening wheatie stood as high as his knees, and it looked as if
it would be a good crop this year - not that Carl would necessarily
be there to see the mummies grind it under the autumn foglamp,
their bare breasts nuzzling the hot stone of their querns as they
bent sweatily to the graft.

- Ware2, guv, said Billi Brudi, catching Carl's eye as they reached
the linchet bordering the next rip and together stepped over it.

- 2 Nú Lundun, Carl replied.

- Ware2, guv, Sam Brudi chipped in - and his brother Billi
chimed up:

- 2 Nú Lundun.

Then Gari Edduns uttered the salutation, and Peet Bulluk made
the response - and so it went along the line. Between them the
nine lads represented all the six families of Ham, the Brudis,
Funches, Edduns, Bulluks, Ridmuns and Dévúshes. Good, solid
Ingish names - all from the Book, all established on Ham from time
out of mind, as rooted as smoothbark and crinkleleaf.

At the top of the slope the land formed a sharp ridge, which fell
away in narrow terraces to the waters of Hel Bä. On a knoll on the
far side of the water stood one of the five old round towers the
Hamsters called giants' gaffs, foglight flashing from its chipped wall.
Carl's companions, having reached the edge of the home field,
followed the dyke up to the Layn, then walked south along it for
three hundred paces, to where a stand of pines guarded the moto
wallows. Carl parted from the group and took one of the terraces
that curled round the bay to the foot of the tower. Here, in the
crete rubble, a few dwarfish apple trees had taken root. He found
a level flag and sat down.

Twigs stubbed him through his coarse T-shirt. Brown and white
butterflies flip-flopped over a stand of fireweed. Bees came doodling
down from the bank of pricklebush that rose up, barring the way
to the Ferbiddun Zön. Carl tracked the sticky-arsed stopovers as
they wavered down to the water's edge, where squishprims, dry-vys
and heaps of other blooms grew between the hefty, hairy stalks of
the blisterweed. A stone's throw into the bay the submarine reef of
seaweed and Daveworks eddied and swirled in the sluggish swell.
Carl could see the bright, red shells of the crabs that teemed on the
reef, and in the muddy shallows of the lagoon little gangs of rusty
sprats flickered.

Carl leaned his head against a bar of old irony and stared at the
delicate tracery of lichen that covered the crete at his feet - living
on dead, dead on deader. A low clattering buzz roused him, and,
peering at one of the apple trees, he saw that its trunk was mobbed
with a dense cluster of golden flies, which spread and agitated their
wings the better to suck up the bigwatt rays of the now fully risen
foglamp. To leave all this - how would it be possible - this life
mummy that cuddled him so?

Carl had been to this spot maybe two or three times with Salli
Brudi - and that was forbidden. They'd get a cuff from their daddies
and a bigger clump from the Driver if they were found out. The
last time she'd whipped off her cloakyfing and wound it around her
pretty ginger head like a turban. As she bent low, the neck of her
T-shirt gaped open, showing her tiny titties; yet Carl understood
there was no chellish vanity in this - Salli was too young. She held
a Davework in her hand: it was the size of a baby's finger, a flat
black sliver with a faint-cut mark.

- Wot chew fink, Carl, she asked him, reel aw toyist?

Carl took the Davework from her; his thumb traced the edge,
once jagged but now smoothed by its millennia-long meander
through the lagoon since the MadeinChina. He looked closely at
the mark for the shapes of phonics.

- C eer, Sal, he said, beckoning her closer, iss an éd, C ve eer, an
vose lyns muss B ... Eye dunno ... sowns aw sumffing ... mebë.

- So toyist? She was disappointed.

- Toyist, deffo. He flung it decisively away from them, and it
whirred like a sickseed for a few moments before falling into the

Carl started up - what was the point in such dumb imaginings?
Cockslip an bumrub, nodditankijelli snuggul. Sal Brudi ul B up ve
duff soon enuff bì wunnuvose ugli öl shitters ... No, he best forget
it, forget her - and get up to the wallows. Whatever might happen
in the next few days, this tariff he had graft to do, important graft.

* * *

When Carl arrived the other lads were milling between the seven
conical wallows, darting among the motos to kiss and cuddle them.
Peet was guiding Boysi by his jonckheeres up the steep steps of the
highest wallow.

- Ul luv í ven yer inní, Boysi, he was saying, U no U will, yeah,
U no U will.

Boysi turned his big pink muzzle, and his little blue eyes, buried
in their fleshfolds, twinkled with recognition. Carwl! Carwl! the
moto lowed, Carwl, wawwow wiv mee, wawwow wiv mee!

Carl let out a peal of laughter - it was impossible to stay gloomy
for long when the motos were being wallowed. Boysi's dam, Gorj,
was already half submerged in the next wallow along, snorting and
funnelling her lips to squirt the weedy-green water over her wallow
mates. Hands of humans and hands of motos shot above the earthen
parapet, flinging screenwasher arcs of droplets as they mucked

- Eye carn, Boysi, Carl cried, Eye gotta fynd Runti, iss iz turn,
iss iz big dä.

- F slorwa, f slorwa! Hack cummin, Hack cummin! the beast
chanted as he heaved himself up the last two steps to the top of the
wallow, then plunged in, dragging Peet with him. Other motos
took up this cry:

- F slorwa, f slorwa, Hack cummin, Hack cummin!

While Carl doubted any of them truly understood what the
slaughter was, the motos knew it was connected with the visitors
who were due.

Even the littlest mopeds such as Chukki and Bunni were alive to
what visitors brought with them. After the Hack's party arrived, at
least half the lads who mushed the motos would be sick with the
pedalo fever, so the beasts would be free to cruise as they wished,
clear along the underwood to the curryings, and even into the
zones, where they'd thieve the gulls' eggs and stuff themselves with
shrooms. Motos were soppy things, yet, sorry as they might be for
their young mushers, being shot of them was a buzz. Day by day
they could be relied on to do as told: Rootaht vat rat coloni, grubbup
vis unnerwood, gé shottuv vat notweed. However, left to their
own devices, they'd soon be babyishly dry-humping, which could
well lead to motorage. Then they'd run amok, trampling down
the walls of their own wallows, or even crash into the Hamsters'
gaffs. Each year one or two of the friskier males would have to be

Carl stood watching as first one moto, then the next, was coaxed
up and eased over into a wallow, until all seven were occupied.
The other motos waited their turn, snuffling and licking each
other's buttocks and flanks. Each elevated pool of muddy water
was just broad enough to hold one of the creatures. Once in, they
used their webbed feet and hands to turn in a tight circle, ducking
their little mushers.

By now the bank of sea mist had pulled still further away from
the island, far enough for Carl to make out the outcropping of the
gull roost at Nimar, five clicks away at the very tip of the long spit
that extended from the northern island of Barn. It was around this
promontory that the Hack's pedalo would come with its load of
sick fares bound for Ham, the isle of the Driven-by-Dave.

Carl thought about the Beastlyman, the tongueless exile who
lived at Nimar. On summer days such as this, he could be seen
from the highest point of Ham, skipping among the rocks - or,
rather, the gulls he disturbed could be seen, flapping aloft and
eluding his clumsy, hungry grasp. Last summer Carl had been taken
for the first time on a fowling expedition over to Nimar, and, while
the other Hamstermen snared prettybeaks and grabbed oilgulls
from their nests, he'd guarded the pedalo at its mooring. It was
typical that the youngest birder should be left like this, to suffer the
repeated attacks of the bonkergulls, who, determined to protect
their nests, dived at Carl again and again, trying to plant their sharp
beaks in his head.

None of the dads had bothered to tell Carl from whom he was
guarding the pedalo, so when the Beastlyman crept up and Carl was
confronted by an emaciated figure, clad in a long filthy cloakyfing, its
beard and hair matted with dirt, its hands cracked and broken, he
was totally freaked out. They'd stared at one another for a long
time, with only a few feet separating them. Oilgulls that had escaped
the hands of Carl's mates screamed overhead. The Beastlyman
opened his mouth and tried to give voice as well, and Carl saw in
the dark cave the red root where his tongue had once been, uselessly
writhing in the gargling gale of the dad's madness. Carl said, Ware?,
guv, but the Beastlyman only flinched as if struck by the greeting,
then scrabbled round on the rocks and scrambled away.

When the dads returned to the pedalo, the corpses of many birds
stuck by the neck into their tight leather belts, their beards damp
with sweat, Carl told them what - or who - he had seen.

- So Uve clokked ve Beestlimun, av U, Carl, said his stepdad,
Fred. Eyem glad, yeah, coz thass wottul áppen 2 U if U go on
fukkinabaht in ve zön wiv Tonë!

Fukka Funch, never one to miss the opportunity for a crude jape,
thrust his bacon schnozz in Carl's face and did a Beastlyman shtick,
gargling and spitting until Fred snapped:

- Thass enuff!

His half-brother Bert broke in on Carl's reverie, asking:

- Djoo wan me 2 cumman gé Runti wiv U?

- Nah, nah, he stuttered, vis iss tween me an ím an Dave. U an
ve lads betta gé ve wallowin dun an pack ve uvvers orf. Runti - eez
mì mayt. Av U ló sed yer tartars 2 Runti? he called to the wallowing

- Goo-bì, Wunti, goo-bì! they lisped in response.

- Catch U lò bakkat ve manna, Carl called to the other lads, then
he started down off the crest of the hill and into the woodland.

The first few paces Carl took were between well-spaced, carefully
pruned apple trees, the turf beneath them moto mown. The warm
air was fruitylicious and butterfly rustled. As he went further down
into the Wess Wúd, the orchard gave way to smoothbark trees,
some of which had been allowed to grow straight and true, while
others were cut back to near their mossy green roots, so that they
erupted in a clatter of withies. He bore to the right, crashing through
the brack and keeping the winking jewels of Mutt Bä at a constant
distance below him.

Carl had a pretty good idea where Runti would be waiting for
him. The moto loved to graze in the deep thicket of rhodies and
whippystalk that choked the Perg, the long barrier of brick and
crete that divided the Wess Wúd from Norfend. There were odd
hollows and man-made terraces here, full of strange flowers and
shrubs that the Hamsters had no names for, since they were too
rare and peculiar to be of any use. However, the Perg was an
ancient name, and Effi, Carl's nan, had told him that it too had
once been regarded as a zone forbidden to the Hamsters. She had
cradled the little lad in her bony arms and said, Nó bì Dave, luv,
nah, ee wooden giv a toss abaht such fings, but ferbiddun bì olda
gods, yeah. Her fleshy nose twitched in his hair. Bì Jeebus an Ali.

Carl found Runti a little way inside the Perg. The big moto had
his front paws up on a lump of crete and was cropping on a plant
with glossy, serrated leaves. The fodder was caught up in his muzzle
as if he had a spiky beard, and Carl couldn't help but laugh at the
sight. Runti stopped munching and his mouth fell open, showing
his lolling pink tongue and his peg teeth braided with vegetative

- Cawl? he lisped. Ithatoo?

- Yeah, iss me, Runti. Iss me.

The boy struggled through the barbed boughs of a stunted tree
and came right up to the moto so that he could hug his head - a
head so large that, even pressing his tank against the jowls, Carl
could only just join his hands in the rough bristles at the back of
the moto's neck. They stood like that for some time, the moto's
blubbery eyes squished against the lad's chest, his veggie breath
rasping on Carl's shirt.

- Iss tym, Runti, Carl cooed, tym fer yer slorta, yeah? Ve Acks
partë ul B eer vis tariff or ve nex, an Eye gotta tayk yer bak 2 ve

- Slorwa, the moto said wonderingly, slorwa.

- Thass rì, Runti, slorta. Weel uze yaw meet 2 feed ve Ack an iz
dads, yer oyl fer vair woonz, an yul be wiv Dave á lars, yeah.

- In Nú Lundun.

- Yeah, thass rì, Carl said, kissing Runti delightedly, in Nú
Lundun. It mattered not what doubts the lad had, for, in this article
at least, the creature's simple faith and his own scepticism were at

They took all morning to get back to the manor. Carl led Runti
round the northern end of the Perg, then up and down the bumps
and dips of Sandi Wúd. He'd played here with Runti all of his life.
When he'd been a tiny boy, the moto had minded him - and when
he grew older, he had minded the moto. They revisited all of their
favourite haunts: the big hollow crinkleleaf that stood at the edge
of the curryings, the ridged bark of which was perfect for scratching
moto hide; the boggy slough in Turnas Wúd, where Runti could
wallow; the grove of silverbarks in the heart of the wood, where
they stopped so that Carl could tear off A4 strips and feed them to
Runti on the palm of his hand.


Excerpted from The Book of Dave
Copyright © 2006 by Will Self.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Will Self is the critically acclaimed author of Cock and Bull, The Quantity Theory of Insanity, Great Apes, Sweet Smell of Psychosis, Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys, My Idea of Fun,and the forthcoming The Undivided Self, among others. He lives in London.
Will Self is the author of The Quantity Theory of Insanity, winner of the 1993 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, Grey Area, Cock & Bull, My Idea of Fun, The Sweet Smell of Psychosis, Great Apes, Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys, Dorian, How the Dead Live, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year 2002, and The Book of Dave. He lives in London.

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Book of Dave 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KF5ETU More than 1 year ago
The Mockney dialect was a little hard to pick up on at first. After reading a few chapters I had no problem with it. By the end of the book I was blowing through the phonetic Mockney conversations. An entertaining read of Post Apocalyptic England (Ing).A great read For the Anglophile American audience. Think of it as a Rick Steve's guide to the UK and London on acid.This novel had hints of "A Canticle for Liebowitz". In lieu of Catholicism you have an entire religion built around the Knowledge of a 21st century London Hack driver.