By (author) Will Self

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  • Publisher: Grove Press
  • Format: Hardback | 397 pages
  • Dimensions: 157mm x 229mm x 38mm | 635g
  • Publication date: 8 January 2013
  • ISBN 10: 0802120725
  • ISBN 13: 9780802120724
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Sales rank: 1,185,726

Product description

"A brother is as easily forgotten as an umbrella."?James Joyce, UlyssesRadical and uncompromising, Umbrella is a tour de force from one of England’s most acclaimed contemporary writers, and Self’s most ambitious novel to date. Moving between Edwardian London and a suburban mental hospital in 1971, Umbrella exposes the twentieth century’s technological searchlight as refracted through the dark glass of a long term mental institution. While making his first tours of the hospital at which he has just begun working, maverick psychiatrist Zachary Busner notices that many of the patients exhibit a strange physical tic: rapid, precise movements that they repeat over and over. One of these patients is Audrey Dearth, an elderly woman born in the slums of West London in 1890. Audrey’s memories of a bygone Edwardian London, her lovers, involvement with early feminist and socialist movements, and, in particular, her time working in an umbrella shop, alternate with Busner’s attempts to treat her condition and bring light to her clouded world. Busner’s investigations into Audrey’s illness lead to discoveries about her family that are shocking and tragic.

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Author information

Will Self is the author of six short-story collections, a book of novellas, eight novels, and six collections of journalism. He lives in London.

Review quote

Shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize "In these culturally straitened times few writers would have the artistic effrontery to offer us a novel as daring, exuberant and richly dense as "Umbrella." Will Self has carried the Modernist challenge into the twenty-first century, and worked a wonder."--John Banville ""Umbrella" is his best book yet. . . . It makes new for today the lessons taught by the morals of "Catch-22," "Slaughterhouse-Five," "The Tin Drum," also Garcia Marquez's "Chronicle of a Death Foretold.""--Alasdair Gray "In prose uninterrupted by chapters or line breaks, a twisted version of the 20th century is woven and unpicked again. It is a postmodern vivisection of Modernism, analyzing the dream and the machine, war as the old lie and a new liberation, and rituals sacred, profane and banal. . . . a linguistically adept, emotionally subtle and ethically complex novel."--"The Guardian" "An ambitiously conceived and brilliantly executed novel in the high modernist tradition of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf . . . Its scope is dazzling . . . The switches between perspective and chronology are demanding (there are no chapters), but Self handles them with bravura skill, setting up imagery and phrases that echo suggestively between different episodes . . . "Umbrella" is an immense achievement."--"Financial Times" "A hot tip for the Booker prize, Will Self's Joycean tribute is a stream of consciousness tour de force. . . . [It] builds into a heartbreaking mosaic, a sardonic critique of the woefully misdirected treatment of the mentally ill and the futility of war and, above all, a summation of the human condition. Despite the bleakness of the message, by the end you are filled with elation at the author's exuberant ambition and the swaggering way he carries it all off, and then a huge sense of deflation at the realization that whatever book you read next, it won't be anything like this."-"Daily Mail" ""Umbrella" is old