Will Self is one of Britain's most famous and infamous contemporary writers, a public intellectual known for his sardonic worldview, his logophilia, and his wide-ranging interests, from psychogeography to socialism to hard drugs. His novels have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and been translated into over twenty languages. In Will, his first ever memoir, he turns his attention fully to his own self. A brilliant literary work, Will echoes the best of Self's fiction, reminding us how the personal is always historical, and reflecting that personal history through a psychedelic prism. Will spins the reader from Self's childhood in a North London suburb to his mind-expanding education at Oxford, to a Burroughsian trip to Morocco, an outback vision in Australia, and, finally, a nightmarish turn in rehab. From an attempt to score as a teenager by buying a pastry breakfast for a user-dealer friend in lieu of payment (Self also considers buying a banana to rob a chemist's to get his fix), to his university years, fueled with literature but also with "heroin, hashish, cocaine, grass and amphetamine"; to his experiments in sex, identity, and his first relationships, Self takes us on a tour of his young life, letting us inside one of the best minds of our generation. Whether discussing pharmacology: "there's nothing remotely euphoric about methadone: it just makes you feel as if you're buried up to your waist"; religion: "God is great . . . Gear is great . . . Therefore: gear is God . . ."; or economics: "the best things in life are free--while the worst retail at a tenner a bag," Self's mordant humor and vivid writing make this book one of the most powerful depictions of the allure and power of hard drugs ever written. It is also a technicolor portrait of the strangenesses of family, the transcendence of art, and the defiant quest for self-expression in a rule-filled world. Will is an addiction memoir like none before, powerfully bringing to the page the peerless euphoria of getting high, and simultaneously offering a pitiless examination of the lows that follow, a karmic cycle that leads back to the author's own lack of . . . will.
Both kunstlerroman and confessional, Will is a tale of excess and degradation, an exploration of the wild experiences that have formed the basis of Self's incandescent fictions.
This is a used copy in good condition with some cracking to the bottom of the back dust jacket.
By Will Self. Hardcover. 272 pages. Published by Grove Press, 2020.