Umbrella by Will Self

Umbrella

Will Self

A long, original and complex novel. The themes are mental illness and its treatment and WW1, but that's only scraping the surface, there is so much more. The style could be described as 'stream of consciousness' and a dictionary close to hand will help. But it's well worth the effort and becomes much easier as you progress and begin to empathise with the characters; most of whom are unforgettable creations. A really special read - I loved it.

Extract

That first day Audrey and Gracie come straight in by No. 1 Gate, under the indifferent gaze of the gunners cast in iron - one of the police sentries ... 'e only takes my green ticket and salutes me! What larks! A male-bloody-biped kowtowing to me! Not so the Lady Superintendent a Vesta Victoria - to put it mildly, with a Unionist glint in her 'ow-now-brown-cow eyes and probably a Man of Steel somewhere inside of her.

Parallels
  • The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian
  • Oh What a Lovely War - the film