Will Self The Sweet Smell of Psychosis

ISBN 13: 9780747531111

The Sweet Smell of Psychosis

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9780747531111: The Sweet Smell of Psychosis
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Trapped in the most venal media clique in London, Richard is losing it on all fronts. Most of all, he's losing his soul to Bell, a television personality, and his heart to the nubile Ursula Bentley. He is lured on by the fragrance of her perfume and by another, more sinister smell.

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Review:

The Sweet Smell of Psychosis (very loosely based on Alexander Mackendrick's searing '50s movie Sweet Smell of Success) is the kind of mordant fable that Will Self could toss off in his sleep. But although it doesn't stretch Self's considerable talents, it is still a wonderfully poisonous entertainment.

Richard Hermes is a tiny cog in the London media machine, a hack whose only distinction is a tenuous position at the edge of the most powerful clique in town. At its heart is the loathsome Bell, a sort of malevolent anti-Oprah whose media omnipresence has given him enormous power.

...one of Bell's most sycophantic acolytes had established--through certain arcane statistical computations--that there must, logically, be at least two hundred thousand people in Britain who did nothing else but listen to Bell's voice, watch Bell's face, or read his words, for every waking hour of their lives.
Richard is drawn deeper into Bell's web in pursuit of the gorgeous Ursula Bentley, but he can't keep up with the clique's colossal appetite for controlled substances. He soon begins to slide into drug-addled madness, and Self once again demonstrates his uncanny ability to render altered states in perfectly crafted prose. In fact, much of the pleasure that The Sweet Smell of Psychosis has to offer comes not from the story of Richard's inevitable fall, but from Self's deft and playful way with words. Few writers in English are able to use such beautiful language to describe the most revolting things. Whether he's writing about an excruciating hangover or Bell's naked body ("each pap sporting a twistle of black, black hair",) Self's decadent language begs to be savored, even read out loud. Martin Rowson, the Hogarth to Self's Swift, provides some remarkable illustrations to accompany the text. Rowson's work (most recently showcased in his comic-book version of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman) is grim and shadowy, but filled with detail and twisted humor. Together, he and Self have created an elegant billet-aigre to London's dark underbelly, a cautionary tale that takes pleasure in its own unpleasantness. --Simon Leake

About the Author:

Will Self is the author of THE QUANTITY THEORY OF INSANITY, shortlisted for the 1992 John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize and winner of the 1993 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, GREY AREA, COCK & BULL, MY IDEA OF FUN, JUNK MAIL, THE SWEET SMELL OF PSYCHOSIS, GREAT APES, TOUGH, TOUGH TOYS FOR TOUGH, TOUGH BOYS, DORIAN, and HOW THE DEAD LIVE, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year 2002. He lives in London.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781408827390: The Sweet Smell of Psychosis

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  1408827395 ISBN 13:  9781408827390
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 2011
Softcover

9780802136473: The Sweet Smell of Psychosis: A Novella

Grove ..., 1999
Softcover

9780747531548: Sweet Smell of Psychosis

Trafal..., 1997
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9780788167362: The Sweet Smell of Psychosis

Blooms..., 1999
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