Walking to Hollywood by Will Self
Memories of Before the Fall

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Synopsis

One of the most remarkably inventive voices of his generation, author Will Self delivers a new and stunning work of fiction. In Walking to Hollywood, a British writer named Will Self goes on a quest through L.A. freeways and eroding English cliffs, skewering celebrity as he attempts to solve a crime: who killed the movies.

When Will reconnects with his childhood friend, the world suddenly seems disproportionate. Sherman Oaks, scarcely three feet tall at forty-five, and his ironically sized sculptures—replicas of his body varying from the gargantuan to the miniscule—spark in Will a flurry of obsessive-compulsive thoughts and a nagging desire to experience the world by foot. Ignoring his therapist and nemesis Zack Busner, Self travels to Hollywood on a mission to discover who—or what—killed the movies. Convinced that everyone from his agent, friends, and bums on the street are portrayed by famous actors, Self goes undercover into the dangerous world of celebrity culture. He circumambulates the metropolitan area in hallucinating and wild episodes, eventually arriving on the English cliffs of East Yorkshire where he comes face to face with one of Jonathan Swift’s immortal Struldbruggs. A satirical novel of otherworldly proportion and literary brilliance, Walking to Hollywood is a fantastical and unforgettable trip through the unreality of our culture.
 

About Will Self

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Will Self is the author of numerous books of fiction and nonfiction. He also writes for newspapers and magazines, and appears regularly on television and radio. He lives in London.
 
Published May 3, 2011 by Grove Press. 448 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Walking to Hollywood

Kirkus Reviews

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Walking to London airport and then from LAX, played by actors Pete Postlethwaite and David Thewlis and filmed by a crew of Jeffs, he meets other figures played by actors and enters cinematic scenarios such as CGI action.

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The Guardian

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When the narrator learns that air traffic controllers were flown to Pinewood Studios "to play the parts of the air traffic controllers" in the film United 93, he can't help thinking of the "air traffic controllers who had ensured those air traffic controllers landed safely, so that they could pr...

Sep 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Walking to Hollywood: Memorie...

The Guardian

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Strange, foggy black and white photographs haunt the text of Will Self's latest walkabout, a fictionalised memoir in three linked pieces, in which almost everyone, including Self himself, is played by, or plays, someone else.

Sep 18 2010 | Read Full Review of Walking to Hollywood: Memorie...

New York Journal of Books

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But here in the United States, he has yet to leave his mark, either on “Seinfeld,” “Everyone Loves Raymond,” or “Modern Family”—meaning that here he is pretty much unknown, which is perhaps a sad thing, given how very much he seems to want to be noticed by us Americans.In his new book, Walking to...

May 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Walking to Hollywood: Memorie...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Perelman, and Jean Baudrillard, starring Scooby Doo, the Marx Brothers, Laura Harring, and the ghost of Orson Welles, the result might very well have approximated Will Self's latest offering, Walking to Hollywood, which the author bills in a footnote as an "implausibly reconstructed memoir."

May 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Walking to Hollywood: Memorie...

City Book Review

and finally, a Self with perhaps Alzheimer’s – each Self (self) seeking metaphysical truth—each Self loquacious and contemptible, as usual.

Nov 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Walking to Hollywood: Memorie...

The New Yorker

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Jul 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Walking to Hollywood: Memorie...

Time Out New York

A self-styled literary conundrum, Will Self has an inarguable facility for rendering beautiful prose that is nearly always mitigated by a maddening, yet admirable, experimental impulse that dares his audience to lose interest midstream.

Jul 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Walking to Hollywood: Memorie...

Book Forum

Once-roguish writer Will Self has come a long way from his days of bragging about snorting smack in the toilet of Tony Blair's jet.

May 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Walking to Hollywood: Memorie...

Full Stop

In the first section, Self (who, of course, is not the real Will Self, but a writer sharing the author’s biography who is also named Will Self) recounts his relationship with Sherman Oaks.

May 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Walking to Hollywood: Memorie...

Metro

Book review: Walking To Hollywood by Will Self (Bloomsbury, £17.99) is as droll and wordy as you’d expect, but at heart it’s a salute to the indomitability of humankind in the face of its own ridiculousness.

Sep 08 2010 | Read Full Review of Walking to Hollywood: Memorie...

The Jewish Chronicle

At the beginning of the titular section of this book, the narrator - who shares many of Will Self's vital statistics - tells his psychiatrist Zack Busner (a regular congregant in Self's fiction) that he is going to walk to Hollywood to investigate "who killed film".

Oct 26 2010 | Read Full Review of Walking to Hollywood: Memorie...

Artswrap

"Walking to Hollywood" is a dazzling triptych - obsessive, satirical, elegiac - in which Will Self burrows down through the intersections of time, place and psyche to explore some of our deepest fears and anxieties with characteristic fearlessness and jagged humour.

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The Paris Review

You also talk about Scientology— It’s designed to satirize the ephemerality of film, of course, because all of the out-of-body and psychotic experiences that afflict the protagonist in the course of the walk are drawn from the films that were opening that week.

Jun 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Walking to Hollywood: Memorie...

Spectator Book Club

Writing in an afterword, Self — the real Will Self, that is, not a fictionalised doppelgänger — describes a murder, one of a series of teen stabbings, near his home in South London.

Oct 02 2010 | Read Full Review of Walking to Hollywood: Memorie...

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