What is "Metaliterature"? It is literature about literature, in this case, views, reviews, and thoughts provoked by stuff I've read. I'm hoping this might be a chronicle of the brain of a life-long reader as guided by intertextual coincidence. If you like what you read, read what I like.
Currently domiciled in the Vale of Glamorgan.
The Unbearable Lightness Of Being A Prawn Cracker by Will Self
I do love Penguin. Or, rather, Penguin
Random House. No, actually, it’s more accurate to say I love Penguin. I love Penguin Classics (even the dubious
honour bestowed upon Mr Morrissey’s black cover classic), I love the Great Ideas
series, of which I had nearly all before the Purge of 2012 (I kept Hazlitt’s On The Pleasure Of Hating and Russell’s In Praise of Idleness of course), and I
love the new Penguin Shorts/Specials to which Self’s parodically titled …Prawn Cracker belongs. Great writing,
quickly read, easily stored, lovingly recalled. It doesn’t get much better or
easier than that, eh?
BUT… Is it just me, or is it hard to believe that Will Self eats at
In reaction perhaps to the glut of restaurant reviews, dialling themselves
up to 11 with tales of repasts of baby octopus in Pimentón de la Vera paprika
smoke chez El Celler de Can Roca,
Self took it upon himself to chronicle the eateries of Common Men, disclaiming
a lack of olfactory discrimination (due to the excesses of youth) and instead
regarding the experiences of eating in such places as KFC among others. The
reviews, whilst fantastically well written as is to be expected – sensuous and
gluttonous – are often somewhat formulaic, probably a virtue in a regular
column (from which these have been collected) but obvious and frown-worthy to
someone reading all of them in succession. And, sycophant that I am, I just can’t
agree with his claim that Café Nero espresso is the best there is even on the ubiquitous
high street. Italian roast is often just… so… acidic and phenolic.
Disagreement aside, and it’s not important that one agrees with an
author after all, it’s hard not to enjoy the dry satire, the malevolent wit,
the tallying up of square feet of pizzas eaten over a lifetime, even if it
shocks to the core that Self might be caught eating somewhere I might eat, that
his inner sophisticate wouldn’t naturally shun anything not worthy of his
intellect, and that his hard won sobriety still permits the self-abuse (pun
unintentional) of junk food. It’s classic Will Self and is a great read. Just
perhaps not at lunch time.