Sunday 14 September 2008

Great Apes by Will Self.
Listen up, you yahoos, there's nothing here Jonathan Swift hasn't already said. But Self's tale of a man who wakes up one morning to find himself a chimp in a world of sentient chimps is certainly the coked-up, post-Beat version of the old satirical trope for our times. Lovingly scatalogical depictions of chimp social behaviour hold a funhouse mirror up to our own human foibles, all sorts of linguistic virtuosity and detailed research is aired and several nice satirical barbs fired. The sheer depth and pungency of Self's thorough imagining of a rather more interesting planet of the apes and his often manic prose style make up for the fact that it all peters out to a rather weak end.