How the Dead Live

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Grove Press, 2001 - Fiction - 404 pages
13 Reviews
Will Self has one of literature's most astonishing imaginations, and in How the Dead Live his talent has come to full flower. Lily Bloom is an angry, aging American transplanted to England, now losing her battle with cancer. Attended by nurses and her two daughters -- lumpy Charlotte, a dour, successful businesswoman, and beautiful Natasha, a junkie -- Lily takes us on a surreal, opinionated trip through the stages of a lifetime of lust and rage. From '40s career girl to '50s tippling adulteress to '70s PR flak, Lily has seen America and England through most of a century of riotous and unreal change. And then it's over. Lily catches a cab with her death guide, Aboriginal wizard Phar Lap Jones, and enters the shockingly banal world of the dead: the suburbs. She discovers smoking without consequences and gets another PR job, where none of her coworkers notices that she's not alive. She gets to know her roommates: Rude Boy, her terminally furious son who died in a car accident at agenine; Lithy, a fetus that died before she ever knew it existed; the Fats, huge formless shapes composed of all the weight she's ever gained or lost. How the Dead Live is Will Self's most remarkable and expansively human book, an important, disturbing vision of our time.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - William345 - LibraryThing

Some thoughts on Will Self’s How The Dead Live. The first 280 or so pages deliver the constant narrative pleasure of some illicit drug. One is constantly buoyed along by the wonderful storytelling ... Read full review

HOW THE DEAD LIVE

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

There's a lot of abusive palaver and not much substance in this labored third novel from the punk-surrealist author of Cock and Bull (1993), Great Apes (1997), and other fetchingly deranged assaults ... Read full review

Contents

Chapter One
29
Chapter Two
53
Chapter Three
71
Chapter Four
93
Chapter Five
111
Chapter Six
133
Dead
153
Chapter Seven
155
Chapter Ten
221
Chapter Eleven
249
Deader
275
Chapter Twelve
277
Chapter Thirteen
297
Chapter Fourteen
315
Chapter Fifteen
351
Chapter Sixteen
379

Chapter Eight
183
Chapter Nine
203

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About the author (2001)

William Woodard "Will" Self was born on September 26, 1961. He is a British author, journalist and political commentator. He wrote ten novels, five collections of short fiction, three novellas and five collections of non-fiction writing. His novel Umbrella was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. His subject matter often includes mental illness, illegal drugs and psychiatry. Self is a regular contributor to publications including Playboy, The Guardian, Harpers, The New York Times and the London Review of Books. He also writes a column for New Statesman, and over the years he has been a columnist for The Observer, The Times and the Evening Standard. His columns for Building Design on the built environment, and for the Independent Magazine on the psychology of place brought him to prominence as a thinker concerned with the politics of urbanism. Will Self will deliver the closing address at the 2015 Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) 2015.

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