Phone

Phone

by Will Self

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

Published to rave reviews in the United Kingdom, Phone tells the story of two men: Zack Busner and Jonathan De’Ath. Busner is a psychiatrist who has made his name through his unorthodox treatment of psychological damage, such as giving the controversial drug L-DOPA to patients ravaged by encephalitis, or administering LSD to World War II PTSD-sufferers. But now Busner’s own mind is fraying: Alzheimer’s is shredding his memory and his newest possession is a shiny smartphone given to him by his introverted grandson Ben. Meanwhile, Jonathan De’Ath, aka “the Butcher,” is an MI6 man who remains a mystery even to those closest to him, be it his washed-up old university lecturer father, his jumbling-bumbling mother, his hippy-dippy brothers, his spooky colleagues or multitudinous lovers. All of De’Ath’s acquaintances apply the “Butcher” epithet to him, and perhaps there is only one person who thinks of him with tenderness, a man he keeps top secret, encrypted in the databanks of his steely mind: Colonel Gawain Thomas, husband, father, highly-trained tank commander, and Jonathan De’Ath’s long-time lover. As Busner’s mind totters and Jonathan and Gawain’s affair teeters, they come to face the interconnectedness of all lives, online and off, while an irritating phone continues to ring… ring… ring…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802129215
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 01/22/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 624
Sales rank: 1,196,600
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Will Self is the author of many novels and books of non-fiction, including How the Dead Live, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year 2002, The Butt, winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction 2008, and Umbrella, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2012.

Mike Grady's career spans more than forty years, including leading theater roles at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the English National Theatre. His television roles have included Minder, Citizen Smith, and Last of the Summer Wine, and his film credits include The Return of the Pink Panther and Carry On Loving.

Read an Excerpt

What does Ben call it when his screen doesn’t reload fast enough...? Lagging – that’s it. Annoying little spinning widget appears as well: Lagging – yeah, lagging – that’s it, I’m lagging …. ….! …. ….! I’m lagging and there’s a sorta circlet – or corona, more properly – spinning in the very dead-centre of my visual field …. ….! …. ….! Spinning and spinning and stimming and spinning and… stimming some more – a corona of precisely ruled lines, radiating round into and out of existence …. ….! …. ….! Rota tu volubilis – status malus… Just goes to show, whatever they may say there’s not much wrong with my memory – it’s only that I have to… sort of… download things …. ….! …. ….! while in the meantime there’s all this other… data – such a lot of it, it pours in, more and more – and the more there is, the more it reminds you …. ….! …. ….! you’re alone in here – while out there it’s a Snowden aviary of a dining area, full of trilling laughter and cheeping chatter, out of which emerges this pleasing Scouse whine: Don’t wanna jib youse, but shall we cummere fer oor tea t’night? …. ….! …. ….! Above them not Lennon’s only sky but only fire-resistant tiles – always a lot of fire-resistant tiles in hotels, even expensive ones …. ….! …. ….! But why – why does that old codger have a sweatshirt with Jack Jones written on it? Is it part of a series – an entire fashion line featuring seventies union leaders? If so, where’re Vic Feather and Clive Sinclair? …. ….! …. ….! This where their winter of discontent ended – in a summer city-break, complete with Hilton Honours points. There they are: queuing up in front of a wooden bench piled high with croissants and those muff-things, while their seriously overweight wives saw at the greasy meat on their plates with serrated knives – a mortuary sound …. ….! …. ….! Hang on to the phone – that’s the thing to do. It’s all in the phone: my itinerary, my train times, my medical information – the whole lot. Hang on to the phone – feel the smoothness of its bevelled screen …. ….! …. ….! place your thumb in the soft depression of its belly-button – turn it over-and-over… a five-hundred-quid worry bead – and all I worry about is losing the bloody thing …. ….!

Customer Reviews

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Phone 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
Phone by Will Self is a stream-of-conscious tome about two men, Alzheimer's, technology, disassociation, war, and affairs. Zack Busner "is a psychiatrist who has made his name through his unorthodox treatment of psychological damage, such as giving the controversial drug L-DOPA to patients ravaged by encephalitis, or administering LSD to World War II PTSD-sufferers. But now Busner’s own mind is fraying: Alzheimer’s is shredding his memory and his newest possession is a shiny smartphone given to him by his introverted grandson Ben." Jonathan De’Ath "aka 'the Butcher,' is an MI6 man who remains a mystery even to those closest to him, be it his washed-up old university lecturer father, his jumbling-bumbling mother, his hippy-dippy brothers, his spooky colleagues or multitudinous lovers. All of De’Ath’s acquaintances apply the “Butcher” epithet to him, and perhaps there is only one person who thinks of him with tenderness, a man he keeps top secret, encrypted in the databanks of his steely mind: Colonel Gawain Thomas, husband, father, highly-trained tank commander, and Jonathan De’Ath’s long-time lover." Written in a stream-of-consciousness style with no paragraph breaks or chapter breaks, Self is requiring a whole lot of concentration from his readers. In some ways he seems to be egging the reader on, deliberately trying to exasperate us and daring us to lose focus and interest. It is over 600 pages and includes an overabundance of ellipsis that can begin to annoy and distract even the most careful reader. Add to this the words and acronyms spelled phonetically (and thus must be sounded out) which, yeah, slows the reading down and began to grate on my nerves. The narration jumps from one character to the other with no break, no transition and mid-sentence. There is also a constantly ringing smart phone. This is a love it/hate it book. Even with some rather brilliant and insightful passages (to which 2 stars gives a nod), Phone was overwhelming to read and not necessarily in a good way for me. Die-hard fans of Self's modernist trilogy that began with Umbrella and Shark will want to tackle Phone. If you aren't a loyal reader of Self, you may want to consider skipping this one. Finally, quit frankly, this novel is dominated by men and phallic discussions so I was never the target audience for it and in some ways resent the time I spent carefully reading it. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Grove Atlantic.