Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys is a new collection of corkscrewed tales from the author of Great Apes.
The Guardian (London) describes Will Self as "a wayward genius", and you can find out why when you observe the author's pitiless dissection of the foibles of men, women, and the Volvo 760 Turbo.
Self's world is a no-funhouse of warped mirrors. A man is seduced into a misanthropically charged symbiosis with the insects infesting his cottage; he has entered "Flytopia".
In "A Story for Europe", a two-year-old English child utters his first halting words...in business German.
In "Caring, Sharing", status-conscious New Yorkers navigate the perils of dating along with their very literal inner children.
In "The Rock of Crack as Big as the Ritz", a black Londoner discovers an enormous rock of crack cocaine underpinning his house and quickly turns it into an efficient little empire.
In the title story, a psychoanalyst strips away all the sangfroid of his professionalism to find beneath...precisely nothing.
And in the short novella The Nonce Prize, a man framed for a sex crime he didn't commit finds that his only way out is to win a short-story competition.
Sharp, funny, and packed with verbal fireworks, Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys confirms yet again Will Self's stature as one of the most accomplished and original writers of his generation.