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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Shark by Will Self

Shark by Will Self follows Umbrella and is the second in the trilogy.  Self takes starting in the middle of things to an extreme; as this novel begins with a lower case letter and in the middle of a sentence and ends pretty much the same way. Then the roller coaster ride, nurse sharks, through prose forests, verbal valleys, rhyming rivers, and subtle and blatant innuendos very reminiscent of Virginia Wolff begins. Just as in life, there are no stops, here, we just keep on going, The reader rests at self chosen points and picks up by overlapping and then getting back in the race. She came in through the bathroom window; in the outskirts of Northern London we encounter drugs, whores, misfits, and Dickensian folk in all their glory. I love the rawness of the writing. The vivid images are, loan sharks, tantalizingly voyeuristic, sadistic, bizarre, outlandish, impish, compelling, seductive. The transitions from one addled brain to the next is murky at best in this Tourette’s ravaged novel. An LSD induced kaleidoscope of contrary images, similar images, images dripping, flowing, blending into the next and then morphing into another until finally my eyes are tired and I keep going because there aren’t natural stops, paragraphs, chapters, parts to this one long sentence, circling sharks, of 466 pages. It’s magical. God is within me and therefore I am my own master. A Hellerian treatment of World War II on one hand and then a Carlinian acid trip exposé of a day in the life of.  Chores be damned. Eating? Not now. I can’t put this book down. Claude, a spotter for the Enola Gay crew when the bomb was dropped is suffering from that event. His anguish spills over into today: “Pouting a small cloud, Michael thinks, The most substantial thing about me is the smoke… And then: It doesn’t matter whether the lunatic American was on the A-bomb mission or not, the coincidence of the two of us, here, now is …paralyzing.” (page 308) Jump the Shark. The vets sit around Lincoln Houses waiting for the next meal watching Jaws and reliving the war. Always in search of that next smoke.

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