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Cock and Bull

3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  1,566 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
Will Self has been praised by The New York Times Book Review as "a high-powered satirical weapon" and Cock & Bull is one of his most outrageous works of fiction
"Cock: A Novelette" is the story of a woman who grows a fully functional penis. "Bull: A Farce" is the story of a man who acquires a vagina and all its companion parts. There are, however, complications. Cock &
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ebook, 320 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Grove Press (first published October 15th 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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MJ Nicholls
For those seeking a pass into the perverse otherworld of Britain’s one-man imaginarium Will Self, these polymorphous novellas are a fine beginning. In ‘Cock’ a provincial wifey sprouts a string-bean male appendage that envelops her femininity, turning her into a masculine beast seeking to part the bald hillocks of her hubbie’s buttocks for some anal adventure. In ‘Bull,’ sports hack John Bull acquires a set of fleshy she-lips on his backleg and starts a strange affair with a vaginally fixated, p ...more
Shovelmonkey1
Jun 27, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who instantly want to hate Will Self
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: Will Selfs other books (liars)
Chapter One - a woman grows a cock
Chapter Two - a man grows a vagina

Finis.

Wilf Self shudders, heaves a replete sigh of onanistic literary release and puts down his pen(is).
Trin
Jan 15, 2008 Trin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Will Self really needs to shut up about vaginas. If I have to read another highly-pretentious, “literary”-crude, half-lustful and half-petrified description of the female genitalia—of which this book contains, oh, dozens—I may have to do something…unladylike. I mean, bloody hell! It’s a vagina. Get over it.

This book intrigued me as all (all? There is so little. Sigh) published genderfuck intrigues me. It’s broken into two parts: the first involving a woman who grows a penis, the second involving
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Ben
Oct 20, 2007 Ben rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Cock" surprised me in the bad way. It wasn't what I was expecting, in the bad way, and it kind of horrified me, in the bad way. It turned out to be something I probably wouldn't like, in the bad way, even if I'd been expecting to read it in the first place.

"Bull" is amazing. I love it a lot. It's actually pretty hot, and an interesting read.

I hope my preference for the story about the man who grows a vagina and has an uberqueer affair with his male doctor over the story about the woman who grow
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James
Nov 03, 2015 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cock and Bull is two independent stories back to back; connected through their core theme of an person who develops secondary genitalia, of the opposite gender. I didn't read them back to back – instead I read the first story, Cock, during a slow period in a non-fiction book on English grammar and then picked up the second story, Bull, a week (and two further books) after that. Both are typically Selfian; brutal tales of abuse, gender stereotype and role reversal. Both are set against tales of ...more
Dan
Nov 09, 2007 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: spoonbenders and freaks
If Kafka and Wilde decided to collaborate over a bottle of absinthe they'd twist words into a story like this. A sincerely bizarre look into the nature of the sexes from the other's point of view.
Taylor
Nov 04, 2014 Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Modern & open-minded ladies and gentlemen. People into weird shit.
Cock & Bull was recommended to me by a friend of a friend, and I found it in a thrift store not long after, so I picked it up, figuring why not. The description leaves plenty to be intrigued about - a story about a woman who grows a penis and story about a man who grows a vagina.

Cock leads us into the life of a not-so-happily-but-also-not-so-unhappily married couple. Carol & Dan get together one drunken evening and end up marrying. The couple slowly descends into alcoholism (especially D
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Bandit
Sep 24, 2011 Bandit rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book could have been good, possibly great, the premise is interesting enough (gender reversal, etc.) and the writer is obviously talented, but instead to me it was an unpleasant non-engaging couple of stories about unpleasant uninteresting (with possible exception of Bull) characters and their sad lives ranging from insignificant to appalling and back. Altogether too precious, too pretentiously self-aware and too shocking for the sake of empty shock value of a book. Maybe I just really real ...more
Tara
Jan 01, 2008 Tara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have often said that if I were to have 3 wishes, one of them would be to have a penis for a day. This book takes that entire concept and just runs with it. The writing isn't the best, but the concept is amazing.
Bellish
Feb 22, 2016 Bellish rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, london
Objectionable on many levels. Given the premise and Self's undeniable talent as a writer it could have been much much better. I wouldn't have bothered finishing it if it weren't for book club.
Kavita Ramesh
Feb 20, 2016 Kavita Ramesh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are a lot of negative reviews for this one, but I liked it. It was like nothing else I have ever read. (I even read it twice!)
Renzo
Feb 24, 2011 Renzo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A bit funny, a bit pretentious.
charta
Jul 26, 2012 charta rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: narrativa, europa
Non è cattivo, non è malsano, non è volgare e, soprattutto, non è comico.
Il narratore onnisciente tratta con disprezzo le sue ibride creature, come se la loro insignificanza e la loro labilità emotiva e mentale fossero autonome e non sue precise scelta, prodotto e portato.
In più ritiene deficiente il lettore, che gratifica con un linguaggio sciatto, in cui le parole pene e vagina, declinate altresì in sinonimi che vanno dall'alto all'imo, ricorrono con frequenza maggiore della punteggiatura.
Frit
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Angela
I no longer recommend this to people cause they just look at like I'm insane. One for hardcore Self fans, this is a disturbing yet funny two novellas. 'Cock' is about a woman who grows a penis and rapes her husband (as you do); 'Bull' is about a man named 'Bull' who grows a vagina on the back of his leg, vagina leg is then raped by his doctor, vagina leg gets pregnant and Bull emigrates to bring his child up. Utterly bizarre but I loved them.
Andrew
It's nice to find another exception to my "Fuck Britain" rule. Will Self manages to pair technical writing chops with a fundamental sense of humor, which is a rare gift indeed. He also manages to be in-your-face about it without having any of the obnoxiousness of a Tom Robbins or a Chuck Palahniuk. I think this is because he knows how to use archetypes well, and knows how to provoke thought with them. Kudos.
RedL.
I gotta re-read this. I'm sure I won't find it as engaging as I did back then, it was a bit pretentions already. What I remember the most is the clarity of my desire to embody, fully, both genders in my flesh and psyche.
Dennis
Mar 31, 2011 Dennis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This wasn't a very entertaining book. There's a type of British humor which is pure cynicism but this book was more misanthropic than anything, in a juvenile sort of way. There was an idea here that was valid but poorly developed, more immature than provocative. Good thing it was so short.
Glynn Lavender
Nov 20, 2007 Glynn Lavender rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can be said of Will Self's writings other than be prepared for a journey you may not want to take, be prepared to be confronted with things you may not want to confront. Be prepared to be amazed by an incredible, if twisted, author.
Julianne (Outlandish Lit)
Lazy, self indulgent attempt at satire.
Kirsten
Oct 06, 2016 Kirsten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
F*cked up; disturbing and very interesting.
Nikoline
Oct 05, 2016 Nikoline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book was really good. Liked Bull (A farce) the best
Evelyn
Cock and Bull are two back to back novellas that portray a narrator's satirical point of view in a most bizarre situation, and explores what could happen if they one day grew the opposite sexes' genitalia on their own bodies. In this sense, Cock features an abused woman who appears trapped in a dismal marriage. The lady grows a fully functional penis, enabling her to become more physically masculine than her waste of space husband as she proceeds to rape and dominate him. Bull on the other hand, ...more
Nina
Feb 05, 2016 Nina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, lgbt
This is definitely one of the strangest books I've read in a long time. There were several cringeworthy moments where I wondered why I was still reading. Either I'm too curious for my own good or I wasn't strong enough to make the decision to really not finish a book. (1 star for strangeness)

The first part - Cock - started out interesting enough with Carol, who marries young and starts to figure out who she really is. To keep it short: I didn't like what she had in mind and who she became...
The
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Marcus Hobson
Two short novels in one book. The first about a woman who grows a penis and the second about a man who grows a vagina. Quite separate tales, that do not overlap, but provide the reader with a contrasting approach to the changing bodies.
The great thing about Will Self is the language that he uses, turns of phrase that will make you laugh out loud with their bizarreness. Sometime the words will have you reaching for the dictionary, but I prefer to keep reading and enjoy the flow of the narrative.
A
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Adriana Scarpin
Aug 05, 2016 Adriana Scarpin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inglesa, glbt
Tendo em vista as influências de Self como Ballard e Burroughs e a premissa das novelas, eu esperava bem mais. A primeira novela é absolutamente intolerável de chata, embora existam algumas frases esparsas beirando a genialidade, a segunda é bem melhor, mas Self comete o erro de utilizar o sexismo clássico e rasteiro para delinear as bases do seu estilo. O que não quer dizer que eu vá desistir do autor, quem sabe em obras de sua maturidade ele não tenha aprendido a refinar melhor a sua ironia.

P.
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Michael Vint
Fantastic ideas juxtaposed with turgid, sardonic writing which either exhausts, overwhelms, bores, or excites depending on the context you read. Contrary to popular opinion, I much prefer the second story to the first, but enjoyed the literal deconstruction of gender in each story through unexpected abnormal physiological growth spurts which in their own way remove the main characters from their laborious, frustrating and pleasure free lifestyle by making them challenge fundamental things. Hilar ...more
Nick Davies
Jan 31, 2016 Nick Davies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, 2014
This pair of novellas - one about a woman who develops a penis and rapes her husband, one about a man who develops a vagina and is seduced by his doctor - was challenging, amusing, thought-provoking, compelling and intelligent. The former story was IMHO wittier and more beautifully written than the latter, but both left me feeling fulfilled and intellectually stimulated.

Whenever I read Will Self, I feel so many other books fade into mediocrity - his use of English and his ideas are both wonderfu
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Geoff Horsfield
I thought it was funny. It made me laugh aloud which is what a comic novel should do. The positives are that it is genuinely witty and relevant. His verbosity is intriguing and his love of language shines through with a passion that is disarming and touching.
The negatives are that Self's arrogance and snobbery shine through more visibly. Why use one word when seven synonyms will do? Why write one sentence when writing a few paragraphs in order to crowbar in some affected perceived-witticism will
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Amylaurab
Jan 31, 2012 Amylaurab rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If the storyline had not been completely spelt out on the back I might have a different opinion, but I really didn't enjoy this book and didn't get past Cock. I'm not prudish (I know that normally leads to saying something prudish, but I really enjoyed Cows, which is another "shock" book, for example),however I thought the writing in this book was boring, the storyline desperately strung out, and the characters cliché to the point of mundane. I appreciate that might be the back set for the extra ...more
Ben O'mara
May 30, 2013 Ben O'mara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Often hilarious, innovative and weirdly touching. As a piece of fiction I found them to be fantastic.

However, If I am reading Self's theoretical assertions regarding embodied gender correctly; gendered subjectivity is entirely dictated by the individual's having a penis or vagina, I think a deeper reading of these pieces may run into some interesting problems. Also, I found his characterisation of Ramona the transgender prostitute that Bull encounters in the final tale to be crude and insulting
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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...

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“Don't try it," he said. The mutant was reading my mind. "You, boy, you're a literary trainspotter...” 4 likes
“....with the morbid realisation that his sexual being was a dull thing, a lifeless thing, a mass-produced marionette with chipped paint and fraying strings” 1 likes
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