Review from a Transgressive Fiction Fan
Wow. That was horrible. Visceral, cruel, obnoxious. But somehow utterly compelling, hilarious and life affirming. My previous contact with Will Self was from TV, and I guess I expected something more Amis like, and less enthralling. How the Dead Live is about Lily Bloom – a chronicle of her late life, her death, and her afterlife. Her major accomplishments in a rather average life are her two daughters, who’s lives she follows from death as they spiral in and out of control. The story is gripping enough alone, but it’s raised above that by the detail, the witticisms, the spots of satire. It’s absolutely devastating witnessing Lily come to terms with the limits of her life, and even more limiting death, and things don’t really improve from there. But by being so bleak, it helps to highlight the little things we should be thankful for, the fact that boring isn’t always a disaster for humanity, and that time wasted on things that matter little, tends to come back to haunt you.
“Insightful” Review from a Mainstream Reader
Thank God this book is over. I didn’t think I could dislike a book this much. If you value your sanity and time, don’t bother.