SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2012 MAN BOOKER PRIZE
"A work of throwback modernism . . . an erudite yet barking mad novel about barking madness. . . . You give yourself over to "Umbrella" in flashes, as if it were a radio station you're unable to tune in that you suspect is playing the most beautiful song you will ever hear. . . this novel locks into moments of ungodly beauty and radiant moral sympathy. . . . a bitter critique of how society has viewed (and cared for) those with mental illnesses. It's about myriad other things too: class, the changing nature of British society, trench warfare in World War I, how technology can be counted on to upend everything. At heart it's a novel about seeing. . . . Mr. Self often enough writes with such vividness it's as if he is the first person to see anything at all."--"The New York Times"
"A savage and deeply humane novel. . . . . "Umbrella" is an old-fashioned modernist tale with retrofitted ambitions to boot. . . . Self has always been a fabulous writer. . . . The result is page after page of gorgeously musical prose. Self's sentences bounce and weave, and like poetry, they refract. The result is mesmerizing. . . . In its best moments, "Umbrella" compels a reader to the heights of vertigo Woolf excelled at creating.. . . . a triumph of form. With this magnificent novel Will Self reminds that he is Britain's reigning poet of the night."--"Boston Globe"
"A virtuosic performance . . . narrated in the allusive, sensory-overloaded style associated with Joyce's "Ulysses." . . . A heady mixture of closely observed (and deeply researched) period details, colorful imagery, surrealistic juxtapositions, and italicized interjections . . . Self's wildly nonlinear narrative offers other delights: richly detailed settings that bring the Edwardian era and mental hospitals sensuously alive, kaleidoscopic patterns of symbolism (umbrellas assume all sorts of forms and functions), and loads of mordant satire."--"The Washington Postshow more