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Como Vivem os Mortos
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Como Vivem os Mortos

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3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  1,793 ratings  ·  88 reviews
In April 1988, 65-year-old Lily Bloom quickly succumbs to cancer in the Royal Ear Hospital. ("Where do they keep the Royal Ear, I wonder? I think of it as very large--as big as a dinner tray--and very red, angrily red.") But after life there's death. Guided by an aborigine named Phar Lap Jones, she is transported by a Greek Cypriot minicab driver to the North London dead n...more
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Published 2007 by Objetiva (first published 2000)
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Shovelmonkey1
Dec 09, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who did not read The Quantity Theory of Insanity
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: The Quantity theory of Insanity where this appears as a short story
I always run at Will Self books a bit like one of those annoying small yappie dogs that bounces up and down like they're on an invisible bit of elastic... well the ones that aren't now ensconced in expensive handbags anyway.

I do this because my brain always tells me that I love Will Self... stupid brain. Why do you always forget? I like the idea of liking Will Self and I generally like most of the premises for his twisted tales (of course there is always the exception to the rule, this exception...more
William
Some thoughts on Will Self’s How The Dead Live. The first 280 or so pages deliver the constant narrative pleasure of some illicit drug. One is constantly buoyed along by the wonderful storytelling.

American Lily Bloom, twice-married, now a widow living in London, is dying of cancer--and then stone dead of it. We are there at her long deathbed scene after which she finds herself non-living in a London of the astral plane in her subtle body. We share her last days and the decade or so of her afterl...more
Becky
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 grippin...more
Nate D
Sep 28, 2011 Nate D rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lithopedia
Recommended to Nate D by: the deathocracy
Shelves: britain, read-in-2011
A vast ichor-black death exhalation across the latter 20th century. Self's patter, his puns and asides and alliteration and word transformations and endless allusions to everything from lit to pop songs, sets up a deceptive burble behind which his unyielding cynicism dances. In fact though, moreso than the Dantean story of the dull disappointment of life bleeding into the dull disappointment of death (and beyond all locked in an endless cycle of drudge, it seems), this patter, this banter, seems...more
MacDara Conroy
I thought they were kidding, but you really do need a thesaurus to read Will Self's writing. There's a great story in here somewhere, but it's lost amid his self-conscious effort to show you just how smart he is.
Lou Robinson
I think I'm a bit stupid for Will Self novels. I really liked the underlying concepts of the book, but this was a hard slog for me. The passages from Christmas 2001 in italics, I didn't really understand until at least two thirds of the way through. It felt like it was about 100 pages too long, I found myself skipping through the last few chapters as it didn't seem to be adding anything new to the story. But overall, the idea was an interesting and disturbing one, I'll never pass Dalston without...more
Vonnie
I love Will Self I really do, but this was absolutely unreadable. Phar Lap Jones irritated the shit out of me with his constant, "Yeh hey" and similar exclamations which were so distracting that I had to re-read the same page four or five times. I gave it two shots then consigned this book to the can.
V C
You're always going to have at least an unusual plot line setting or protagonist in a Self novel and this is no exception. You're told the story of Lily Bloom as she sees it in life death and rebirth. I often feel with Will Self that there is something brilliant he is working at but he just misses pulling it off flawlessly. That isn't to say he isn't worth reading. He definitely is and his use of language even when he stumbles a bit is beautiful. I couldn't put out of my mind how much this is ba...more
Victoria
Wow! I had never read Will Self before and this was certainly a mammoth of an induction! This book should come with a warning - "Not for the faint hearted". There are some gruesome concepts to grapple with and some very direct language, which won't be to everyone's taste, but I found I liked the bravery of this novel and the creativity blew me away. I'd been getting slightly bored with some of the predictable plots and writing of the books I've been reading recently, but this one kept me on my t...more
Tuck
recommended by a real scotsman!
if will self wrote a blockbuster like john grisham, some sort if insipid, edge of your seat court room morality play (who SAID usa diplomats can't be torturers too and who SAID usaid was there to only hand out sacks of corn and abstinence tracts?) the dead would always win, everybody would need a pocket dictionary and publishers would have grown some sort or warty integrity growth somewhere embarrassing. that said, Will Self probably won't be churning the blockbust...more
Sarah
This is the best WS novel (I did NOT like "Great Apes", for the record). He has a lavish and polished writing style, the pace and deep tone of this book are irresistable. It has been 5 years since I read this book and the imagery still floats in my mind.

It is a novel that blends the worlds of the living and the dead - in a way that I had never experienced before in book or film. Follows "Lily Blooms'" afterlife after she dies from cancer.
Andrew Gray
The first Will self book I have read. As I expected, it is very cleverly writing, with lots of words I didn't know the meaning of (I read it in paperback, but I should have got it on kindle so I could easily look up the meaning of all the unknown words). There were some real LOL passages of the book, particularly the early chapters about the main character's (Lily's) death and how her own thoughts contrasted with how she is seen by her family and by society in general. The passages about the peo...more
Leo Robertson
Not his best, by any stretch. The first 180 or so pages were amazing, where it might well have stopped and been named "How the Living Die." The whole book is undeniably well-written: unfortunately, Will was kicking the gear while he wrote this, and his delirious mind needed a focus. I'm glad he's over it, but I didn't need to read his ravings.
Wendy
5. How the Dead Live by Will Self 3/5 stars (02.01) 404 pgs

I'm not quite sure how I feel about this book. I didn't have to force myself to finish it, but I was eager to be done because I didn't like spending time with Lilly Bloom, alive or dead. The story is told by Lilly Bloom who is dying, then dead from breast cancer. Will Self said that the story is based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead and as a Buddhist I find the story believable. Lilly dies of cancer and after death is ushered into her li...more
Gareth Lewis
Eerily accurate. I grew up just down the road from Crouch End, and can confirm that now the Oxfam shops are selectively stocked and every pub has pork belly on the menu, it is indeed choc-full of the living dead.
Paul Greer
All misgivings of Self being a mini-Ballard were quashed with this deeply creepy exploration of the nature and effects of addiction.
Elisabeth Hagspiel
WOW!!!! I'll never, never want to gain or loose weight!!!
Jessica
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Gelsthorpe
This is the latest in a long line of Will Self novel's I've read 'My Idea of Fun', 'Book of Dave' and also the short story collections 'Liver' and 'Walking to Hollywood'.

For what it's worth, I think it's one of my favourite yet. Despite the bleakness of the tone, I think it works brilliantly as a black comedy, with some real insight into the human condition with regards to the subject of death.

As ever, Self's writing can be dense and somewhat cryptic, but this novel is soon an addictive pursuit...more
Kath
Great - The story follows Lily Bloom's encounter with the afterlife after dying from cancer. After being transported to new lodgings near Dalston accompanied by her Aboriginal spirit guide Phar Lap Jones, Rude Boy her dead 9 year old son and a lithopedion foetus she soon starts to adapt and learn the ways of the dead.

Um, yes, you get the picture?

Actually, on re-reading this review, I realise I don't know what a lithopedion foetus is.
Wikipaedia to the rescue: A lithopedion (Greek: λίθος = stone...more
Aara
Still not really sure what I thought of this book. I've read a couple of Self's books before and I've enjoyed some (Dorian) and disliked others (My Idea of Fun). The concept alone was enough to keep me reading - I wanted to see where he would take this. The dull, dystopian view of the afterlife doesn't seem too far fetched in this day and age. I found his narrative distracting at times, especially his desire to fit in too many clever little rhymes and puns. What really bothered me, however, was...more
Phil
Reading a Will Self novel is a bit like hearing the man give one of his current Radio 4 talks - an annoying drone which seems half-determined to bore you to death, half-anxious to bludgeon you into submission with overwrought wordplay and sententious allusion... until suddenly a flash of brilliance wipes away all the irritation that has gone before, and you begin to think that this man is not only very clever indeed, but also a deep and humane thinker. Rarely can a writer's habitual literary voi...more
Christina
Well... I'm not quite sure what to say about this book. I bought it several years ago but didn't get around to reading it before now. It's my first Will Self book. I must say that during some parts of the book, I didn't feel like I quite got it.
The story is about the life, death and especially after-life of one Lily Bloom, a not to nice elderly woman who after having succumbed to cancer, experiences afterlife - which takes place in a London suburb. Death seems like being very like life - except...more
Bob
A rather jaundiced world-view, which one suspects is the author's, but expressed by a cynically vulgar and amusingly angry part-Jewish American woman, born in the 1930s or so, who lives the latter part of her life in London, married and raising two impossible daughters (one a smug yuppie, the other a junkie), then dies of cancer there, and finds the afterlife consists of a shadowy and more threadbare version of the life she's already been living for two decades, albeit with an Australian aborigi...more
Sarah
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alison
May 20, 2014 Alison rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Martin Amis fans disillusioned with Martin Amis.
It seems like a lot of people really hate this book, but I thought it was kind of a weird, ugly delight. Sometimes the attempts at being capital L-Literature fall a bit flat and a couple of moments edge uncomfortably close to what the cool kids on the internet call "hipster racism." But still, more enjoyable than, say, most of what Martin Amis has put out since "The Information."
Mike
Kind of hard to explain this book, You die, and find yourself living in a little pokey basement flat, and you have get a job to "Live".


It is a few years since I've read this and it was my first and last Will Self book I've read, not because he was an awful writer, I found Will Self a remarkable writer and he places the images from the pages right into your mind.
Chris
I can't remember the last time I read a book with such a loathsome narrator. Will Self must be a gifted author to bring such a hateful (and self-hating) character to life, and death, as it were. The story, which bounces back and forth in time, follows the life, death, and eventual rebirth of Lily Bloom, a woman who seems to hate all things except for chain smoking. The writing is energetic, and despite the use of obscure, vocabulary stretching words on a regular basis (lithopedion, anyone?) the...more
Lynn
Even now I am struggling to clarify my thoughts on this book.

Yes... Lily Bloom is a very unpleasant, unlikeable protagonist. Yes... the vision that Self creates of the afterlife is more horrific (to me) than anything Dante threw together - I'd rather suffer being prodded by demons than the unrelenting banality of the world he describes (and as for the thought of the weight I've gained and lost over the years coming back to haunt me..!!!!).

I didn't really LIKE this book... but I couldn't put the...more
Tanis
Terrible. like other people have said I like the idea of Will Self based on his gameshow appearances so I think the books will be fantastic but they're just not. They're heavy going because the don't flow and he's too busy showing off his vocabulary to remember to make it readable. had to give up halfway through.
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William Self is an English novelist, reviewer and columnist. He received his education at University College School, Christ's College Finchley, and Exeter College, Oxford. He is married to journalist Deborah Orr.

Self is known for his satirical, grotesque and fantastic novels and short stories set in seemingly parallel universes.
More about Will Self...
Great Apes The Book of Dave: A Revelation of the Recent Past and the Distant Future The Quantity Theory of Insanity My Idea of Fun Cock & Bull

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“Lust was a positive high-tension cable, plugged into my core, activating a near-epileptic seizure of conviction that this was the one thing I had to do in life.” 4 likes
“If the seventies were bulbous, and the eighties sharp, the nineties were nothing but bogus.” 4 likes
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