Cock & Bull – Will Self

I have tried Will Self twice before firstly when I tried and failed to read Dorian his reworking of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Grey’ which like its rewriting is another book I didn’t finish for whatever reason. That will of course be changing this year as I re-read both of these books. The other was ‘The Book of Dave’ which again is no easy read as you need to learn another language (‘Mockney’) in order to be able to understand some of the characters, however it was completely worth it and I though it was great. So when I saw this for 49p at Oxfam I simply couldn’t say no.

Will Self is renowned for having a massive intellect or of being accused of being attention grabbing and indeed with this slightly controversial pair of novellas that create the book. The tales ‘cock’ and ‘bull’ both tell tales of people gaining sexual organs of the opposite sex. In ‘Cock’ Carol is miserable, her marriage is horrific and she has finally realised that Dan is not the man for her. Dan has joined Alcoholics Anonymous yet it doesn’t seem to be working. One night when he is out on the lash Carol finds out she has gained something, something that will change her life and her relationship forever.In ‘Bull’ we meet John Bull, he is a real mans man; he drinks (not to excess) and plays rugby. One day he wakes up to find something new has appeared on the back of his leg. He goes to the doctor and finds his doctor takes more than just a patient-to-doctor relationship, he gains a new admirer. Both of these tales have extremely comic if slightly eye opening consequences and take us into the minds of people who have just had the shocks of their lives.

So why is this in the Great Gay Reads? Because on many levels it is dealing with the issues of sexuality and indeed its fluidity as well as gender and indeed (I hope I can use this term without causing offence) gender bending. The doctor who deals with John Bull isn’t gay to start with, I was going to say after all he has a wife but that doesn’t say everything, but because of his obsession with the divine ‘gift’ John has he becomes besotted with the whole situation. Looking at how both men and women react to gaining something of the opposite sex is also a brilliant idea for two opposing novellas.

People will slate this book as being trash and filth, they will be missing out. These tell how daft, crazy, naughty, dirty and enthralling sex can be. Will Self is refreshing in his no holes barred description of the sexuality have, this is funny not filthy. It’s also very clever and asks the question of would women become more male and vice versa and these questions are answered as the stories go on. This is not your run of the mill novel and I absolutely loved it. I am hoping to see ‘Dorian’ with new eyes when I read that again in a few weeks time and this time around I refuse to fail.

Advertisements

~ by greatgayreads on July 3, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: