Books by Will Self

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


UMBRELLA by Will Self
Released: Jan. 8, 2013

"Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, this novel is uncompromising and relentless in the demands it makes upon the reader, yet there's a lyrical, rhapsodic element that continually pulls one into and through the narrative."
Brainy and outlandish, though still in the mainstream of modernist fiction, this book captures a number of eccentric voices and sends the reader running to the dictionary. Read full book review >
WALKING TO HOLLYWOOD by Will Self
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 2011

"An onslaught of invention, wit, mental-health consideration and caustic, often self-indulgent commentary—exhilarating and exhausting."
In a disturbing fictional memoir mixing hallucinatory travelogue with satire, British writer Self (Liver, 2009, etc.) riffs excessively on friendship, art, cinema, proportion and death while hiking across California and England. Read full book review >
THE UNDIVIDED SELF by Will Self
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 1, 2010

"A powerful argument against selflessness, a treat for fans and a grand introduction for those new to the author's curious view of the universe."
A welcome showcase of short (or shortish) fiction by quirky comic master Self (Liver: A Fictional Organ with a Surface Anatomy of Four Lobes, 2009, etc.). Read full book review >
PSYCHO TOO by Will Self
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: Jan. 1, 2010

"A journalistic feast best savored in small bites over several days."
The quirky follow-up to the author/illustrator duo's PscyhoGeography (2007). Read full book review >
LIVER by Will Self
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 1, 2009

"Brilliant and blistering, when not overinfatuated with addiction or in undisciplined pursuit of flights of fancy—an intermittently dazzling collection from a restless talent."
Scabrous Self (The Butt, 2007, etc.) devotes four stories to the four lobes of the eponymous organ, which by turns decays, regenerates, is fattened and eaten live. Read full book review >
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: Nov. 1, 2007

"An effulgent album of insubordinate, psychogeographical postage stamps: colorful, crowded and transporting."
Self (The Book of Dave, 2006, etc.) walks, and as he walks, he spins the shambling, freely associative web of a drunken spider. Read full book review >
THE BOOK OF DAVE by Will Self
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 14, 2006

"Thus, this is indeed divided: by turns acrid, funny and perversely moving, yet marred by sourness, shrillness and redundancy."
England in the future and (mostly) underwater is the post-apocalyptic setting for the brazen Brit author's ambitious dystopian satire. Read full book review >
DORIAN by Will Self
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 2003

"Works of art may overcome the living here, but artifice and insufferable blather do the job on its reader."
Reduced to a shadow of his former self in imitating Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, Self (How the Dead Live, 2000) vaults into life's viscera to lampoon England's upper crust while skipping across the art/drug/gay culture on both sides of the Atlantic. Read full book review >
HOW THE DEAD LIVE by Will Self
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

"Sentence by sentence, it's smooth, even vivid—but the grossly overextended whole adds up to good writing wasted on an underimagined and tiresome premise."
There's a lot of abusive palaver and not much substance in this labored third novel from the punk-surrealist author of Cock and Bull (1993), Great Apes (1997), and other fetchingly deranged assaults on good taste, convention, and stuff like that. Read full book review >
THE SWEET SMELL OF PSYCHOSIS by Will Self
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

The once-disquieting, ever-dependably crude Self seems content for the moment to chum out hackneyed, no-brainer fiction, judging by his last story collection (Tough. Read full book review >

TOUGH, TOUGH TOYS FOR TOUGH, TOUGH BOYS by Will Self
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1999

Slim pickings from London's wizard of the warped: seven stories (four published previously) and a novella that offer only an occasional glimmer of Self's former eerie greatness (Great Apes, 1997, etc.), as drug-dealing and hitchhiking scenarios offer little to transcend the purely conventional. Read full book review >

GREAT APES by Will Self
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 1997

Entering a Self fantasy (Grey Area, 1996, etc.) demands both a strong stomach and a readiness to experience narrative pyrotechnics, but in this second novel (after My Idea of Fun, 1994), in which an artist wakes up after a bender to discover that his entire world is now run by chimpanzees, these demands are amply rewarded. Not only is the world run by chimpanzees, but the painter Simon Dykes finds that his girlfriend has turned into a chimp. Read full book review >

GREY AREA by Will Self
Released: March 1, 1996

Self's celebrated perversity (My Idea of Fun, 1994, etc.) largely goes on holiday in this second collection (after The Quantity Theory of Insanity, 1995). Read full book review >

THE QUANTITY THEORY OF INSANITY by Will Self
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 1, 1995

This is Self's first book, an interconnected collection of stories published in England in 1991 but held back in the US until the moment Self attained trans-Atlantic culthood. Self (My Idea of Fun, p. 243, etc.) has previously proven his skill at phantasmagoria, but he's less impressive here. Read full book review >

MY IDEA OF FUN by Will Self
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1994

The first novel from Self (the novella, Cock and Bull, 1993), a British writer of considerable ingenuity and perversity. A dinner-party question (``What's your idea of fun?'') and Ian Wharton's shocking mental response occasion the memoir of a deranged (or perhaps superhuman) man in the moments before he aborts his wife's baby. Read full book review >

COCK AND BULL by Will Self
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1993

Two eerily fascinating, original novellas, delving into a nightmarish world of sexual ambiguity and moral ambivalence, from British writer Self. Cock (``A Novelette'') and Bull (``A Farce'') offer complementary views of the dark possibilities that emerge when sexual differences are miraculously overcome. Read full book review >