Walking to Hollywood
Memories of Before the Fall
By Will Self
(Grove Press, Hardcover, 9780802119728, 432pp.)
Publication Date: May 2011
List Price: $24.00*
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In a series of quests exploring his obsessions, Self first reconnects with his childhood friend Sherman Oaks, a man scarcely three-feet-tall. Thirty-five years after parting ways, Sherman has gained attention in the art world for his sculptures: replicas of his body in various proportions, some as tall as buildings and others tiny as a fingernail. With Will's obsessive-compulsive collection of items and Sherman's biting temper, they make an oddly endearing and increasingly bizarre pair as they walk in spurts through Canada, New York, and the west coast of the United States. Returning home briefly, Self entangles himself in a mystery and departs for Los Angeles to discover who murdered the movies. Convinced everyone he meets is played by a famous actor, he goes undercover into the dangerous world of celebrity with hilarious consequences. Eventually leaving the deceptive lights of Hollywood, he arrives in Spurn Head, a town on the English shore. When his memory starts to slip away, Self follows clues and notes left behind at more lucid moments leading him through encounters with a madman, a game of checkers with Death, and a meeting with one of Swift's immortal Struldbruggs.