'RIGHT HO SELF. For tonight's homework you will write a story that is full of generosity, good cheer and human variety, set anywhere except the suburbs of London, at any period except the present, in which no one has mental health problems, nobody uses words such as tmesis or cachinnate, syzygy or anaglypta, and everyone lives happily ever after.'
Wishful thinking, I'm afraid. Once again, Will Self displays as much involvement with his characters as a virologist with his specimens: he has put the human virus on the microscope slide, and found only 'puddles and smears of humanity'. Welcome to Self-world, where the characters, landscape and language are all