Five words from the blurb: people, victims, patient, truth, dense
Will Self is an author I’ve wanted to try for a long time and so I was quite pleased that the Booker Prize encouraged me to pick up one of his books. Unfortunately Umbrella didn’t work for me and I wonder if I’d have been better off starting with another one of his books?
Umbrella spans an entire century – following a feminist in 1918, her treatment with a psychiatrist in 1971, and the reflections of the psychiatrist in 2010.
The book is written in a stream of consciousness writing style (something I often struggle with) but I found this book particularly difficult to engage with. The thoughts meandered all over the place and I failed to find a hook to keep me interested.
The writing was outstanding, with beautiful phrases sprinkled throughout the text, but finding them was hard work. There were also a substantial number of obscure words – something made all the more infuriating by the fact that half of them appear to have been invented by the author. It took extreme concentration to make it through each page and after 2 hours of this torture (75 pages) I decided I couldn’t endure any more and abandoned it.
If you enjoy a stream of consciousness writing style and like to concentrate on symbolism and the beauty of individual phrases then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this, but I prefer books that are more engaging.
Have you read anything written by Will Self?
Are all his books written in a steam-of-consciousness writing style?
Do you think I’d enjoy any of his other books?