The Butt

The Butt

3.5 24
by Will Self
     
 

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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

Overview

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. 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

From Self, the British master of the satirical fantasy, comes a loquacious and inventive farce about the demise of civilization. Tom Brodzinski, relaxing on vacation in the postcolonial Feltham Islands, sets off a string of unfortunate events when he flicks a cigarette butt off his hotel balcony. It lands on the scalp of tourist Reginald Lincoln III. Reggie's happy to laugh it off, but things slide from bad to worse when Reggie is hospitalized and Tom is charged with assault with "a projectile weapon with a toxic payload." After a chaotic trial, Tom is ordered to pay a restitution of two good hunting "riffles," a set "coking pots" and $10,000. The catch is that the restitution needs to take place in the tribal heartland. This launches Tom and Brian Prentice, another foreign transgressor (Tom suspects pedophilia), on an expedition of Conradian proportions during which Tom is tormented by Brian's "rotten, cloacal physicality." Self (The Book of Dave; How the Dead Live; etc.) confirms his reputation for pulling off cleverly modeled literary experiments. This one is at times exhausting, but if you can stick with him, Self successfully presents an ironic and timely metaphor for our post-9/11 Bigger Brother world. (Sept.)

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From the Publisher

“Horribly compelling…The Butt is a hideously engaged, overwritten, barking masterpiece.” —Independent

“An accomplished satirist…Polysyllabically perverse.” —New York Times Book Review

“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…[The] shocking conclusion amounts to a scathing indictment.” —Los Angeles Times

“An allegorical satire…Brilliantly chilling, damning.” —Observer (UK )

“The British master of the satirical fantasy…Self successfully presents an ironic and timely metaphor for our post-9/11 Bigger Brother world.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596915558
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
09/16/2008
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Will Self is the acclaimed author of such books as The Quantity Theory of Insanity, Great Apes, How the Dead Live, The Book of Dave, and Psychogeography. He won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the Whitbread.

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The Butt 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
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I felt like i was going crazy myself while reading this one - guess that's the point. An interesting punishment for passivism to be sure. I'll certainly be more careful while on vacation from now on! Writing is top notch - i look forward to reading more by will self. People @ starbucks can't help but ask why you're reading a book called the butt.
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