A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
Before I heard Samuel L. Jackson read this post-modern self-help book in his deep, authoritative, GOD-like voice, I had: restless leg syndrome, sleep apnoea, delayed sleep phase syndrome, parasomnias, night terrors, nocturia, caffeine induced insomnia and somniphobia. After listening to this self-help book, I turned over, told my leg to "chill out motherf--ker" and went the f--k to sleep.
This was my first experience reading Edward St. Aubyn, and I quite enjoyed the ride. Lost for Words is a send-up of the British literary scene--in particular, the Man Booker Prize and all the hubbub surrounding it. St. Aubyn clearly took his inspiration from the controversy of a few years back, when a semi-qualified panel decided to invoke popularity over literary quality. Several of the judges for the Elysian Prize for Literature have spurious qualifications; others unabashedly admit to not planning to read all the submitted books, and each is promoting a particular book because of preference (e.g., one likes nothing better than Scottish historical novels). The hopeful authors have their quirks as well. (My favorite was an Indian writer whose publisher mistakenly submits his aunt's cookbook instead of his own novel, The Mulberry Elephant.) St. Aubyn provides subtle humor in the behind-the-scenes rivalries and passions as well as the public debates. I saw the ending coming, but it was still fun getting there.