Here Goes Nothing by Steve Toltz - review by John Phipps

John Phipps

Baggy Dog Story

Here Goes Nothing


Sceptre 384pp £18.99

Angus Mooney, the narrator of Here Goes Nothing, is dead. He regrets his time on earth: ‘How I often made life choices to avoid the disapproval of those who hadn’t even noticed me standing there; how I longed to be liked by the very people I disliked.’ He wonders why he didn’t make more of things. ‘Why exactly was I so uninterested in touching a dick? So what if I was heterosexual? Don’t most vegetarians eat fish?’ He was status-obsessed and selfish, incurious, sceptical, afraid of mannequins and steep slopes but never of darkness and never of death. All this we learn on the novel’s first page.

The Australian novelist Steve Toltz specialises in existential comedies. His plotting mainstay is the ironic reversal of fate and his characters tend to be tellers of painful truths. The keynote of his style is comic enumeration: he writes long paragraphs of questions, associated thoughts and scathing complaints. He made

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