Cover image for Tough, tough toys for tough, tough boys
Tough, tough toys for tough, tough boys
Self, Will.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Grove Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
244 pages ; 22 cm
The rock of crack as big as the Ritz -- Flytopia -- A story for Europe -- Dave too -- Caring, sharing -- Tough, tough toys for tough, tough boys -- Design faults in the Volvo 760 Turbo -- The Nonce Prize.
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Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys is a new collection of cork-screwed 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.

Author Notes

William Woodard "Will" Self was born on September 26, 1961. He is a British author, journalist and political commentator. He wrote ten novels, five collections of short fiction, three novellas and five collections of non-fiction writing. His novel Umbrella was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. His subject matter often includes mental illness, illegal drugs and psychiatry.

Self is a regular contributor to publications including Playboy, The Guardian, Harpers, The New York Times and the London Review of Books. He also writes a column for New Statesman, and over the years he has been a columnist for The Observer, The Times and the Evening Standard. His columns for Building Design on the built environment, and for the Independent Magazine on the psychology of place brought him to prominence as a thinker concerned with the politics of urbanism.

Will Self will deliver the closing address at the 2015 Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) 2015.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This is a tough, tough collection of essays to evaluate. It confounds any effort to form a firm opinion about it. Each story bombards the mind with myriad stimuli and leads it as well down many dead ends. And there are Self's misanthropic quirks to boot. Still, he is a fine creative writer and in his search for truth does not hesitate to challenge a reader's sense of self-worth. One finds proof of that by reading his last work, the well-conceived and executed Great Apes (1997). As a whole Tough, Tough Toys reflects a view of the modern world as a world culture where drugs, mind games, and the raw impulses of the human species hold sway. All that may be well and good, but it's a tough collection to read. --Bonnie Smothers

Publisher's Weekly Review

Although the title piece in this collection of eight stories by the ever-inventive Self (Great Apes, etc.) is uncharacteristically realistic, in many others Self's signature surreality, inventive wordplay and altered states of consciousness conspire to give contemporary English satire a good Swiftian kick. Often Self's imaginative extravagances, with their obvious, satisfying hooks, serve as odd contrasts to the brash, merciless critiques of drug addiction that frame the collection. The opening story, entitled "The Rock of Crack as Big as the Ritz," introduces readers to a pair of London brothers who discover that the foundation of their house is made of crack cocaine and who embark on an infinitely profitable drug-dealing enterprise. Danny, who won't smoke the stuff, puts his addicted younger brother, Tembe, to work for him. The arrogant rise and desperate fall of each brother is fluidly documented as their story continues in "The Nonce Prize," where Danny is framed for a vicious crime of pedophilia. A gritty snapshot of the British prison system unexpectedly gives way to a twisted satire on creative writing courses and literary prizes. Other stories feature terra firma settings with winningly uncanny characters, such as an English toddler who speaks only Gessh„ft Deutsch in "A Story for Europe"; the 12-foot-tall empathic na‹fs wealthy Manhattanites depend on for infantile human comfort in "Caring, Sharing"; or the human-insect housemates in "Flytopia." In the tense title story, about a psychiatrist in mid-burnout driving manically across Great Britain, Self cleverly meshes this character's misanthropic alienation with the skank of a doppelg„nger hitchhiker. But of course Self's cleverness is already familiar to his readers; this collection demonstrates that his prowess with the distinctly nonfantastic can be as gripping as his most disturbing hallucinogenic visions. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The title, taken from a Tonka toys slogan, aptly describes the characters in these eight stories. British novelist Self (Great Apes, LJ 10/1/97) reveals a reality that combines the darker side of human nature with the surreal. A pair of stories, "The Rock of Crack as Big as the Ritz" and "The Nonce Prize," centers around how two crack-dealing brothers face the temptations of their product. In the title story, a drive down the center of the British Isles results in an analyst's analyzing himself through the hitchhiker he picks up, and we learn more about this character in "The Design Faults in the Volvo 760 Turbo: A Manual." "Caring, Sharing" involves two people who find safety in a surrogate relationship. In "Flytopia" a symbiotic relationship between man and insect is formed. The narrative offers a variety of verbal tricks, and the stories highlight alternative visions of tough boys. Recommended for public libraries.ÄJoshua Cohen, Mid-Hudson Lib. System, Poughkeepsie, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

The Rock of Crack As Big As the Ritzp. 1
Flytopiap. 23
A Story for Europep. 43
Dave Toop. 69
Caring, Sharingp. 83
Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boysp. 109
Design Faults in the Volvo 760 Turbo: A Manualp. 155
The Nonce Prizep. 175