It’s difficult to classify the works of British novelist and journalist Will Self. He explores the vanities of modern life and takes no prisoners. His latest, “Walking to Hollywood,” is no exception. The book jacket announces that the tale is a “trip through the unreality of our culture.” It provides a satirical view of Hollywood, the allure surrounding it and the droves of fake people who inhabit it.
David Swider of Square Books in Oxford found it to be a fascinating and quirky book. “It’s like a fake memoir. You can tell the author spent time there. It looks at the seedy side of Hollywood and the people who are there and will do anything to make it big. So many people go there with dreams and get crushed. Many of them end up poor, alcoholic or on drugs; it’s the sad side of Hollywood.”
More than only putting the spotlight on Tinseltown, Self takes aim at the culture of aesthetics and pokes fun at it. Swider, who’s been with Square Books for five years, says the main character is also named Will Self and is a British writer stuck in Hollywood. “He’s trying to solve a peculiar murder mystery: Who killed the movies? There are plenty of fantastical elements in the book as well as super human activities,” Swider said.
Anyone who’s wondered what happened to intelligent movies with interesting story lines that do not depend on special effects and crudity will agree that movies have been killed. “Self’s latest effort is hilarious and an excellent summer read,” Swider added.
In its review of this book, The Boston Globe writes, “From mad, marvelous, swirling bits of narrative disorder, Self fashions his scathing satirical denunciations of the eroded artistic, cultural and moral values of a solipsistic media-driven world. He uses language as rich as Vladimir Nabokov’s, rage as deep as Jonathan Swift’s and narrative as convoluted as Nathanael West’s.”
Other books by Self include “The Quantity Theory of Insanity,” “The Sweet Smell of Psychosis” and “Great Apes.” Swider also recommends Self’s collection of short stories, “Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys.”