Monday, January 14, 2008

Lunchtime read: tough, tough toys for tough, tough boys

One of the resolutions made this year was to try to read more modern fiction but to do so without ending up getting frustrated. The inevitable consequence of treading carefully is that you stick to a well-beaten path. So the choice for this week on one level is daring for someone sometimes stuck in a 19th or early 20th century literary landscape but is also relatively safe.

Will Self is a well known writer and journalist and this collection of short stories looked like being perfect lunchtime reading. It was only half way through the first story it occurred to me that it might also have the sort of story content that will put you off your food.

The rock of crack as big as the Ritz
The first story about someone finding a natural seam of crack in their basement contains a few thoughts about the power of addiction and the wisdom of remaining aloof from its grip. Danny sells drugs but he never indulges in them providing him with a combination guaranteed to make him money. His brother on the other hand cannot resist and ends up at the end of the story sharing a desperate hit with one of his customers.

The references seem genuine and the language of drugs believable. Something else no doubt completely different coming from the collection tomorrow…

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