Excerpt from The Book of Dave by Will Self, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Book of Dave

A Novel

by Will Self

The Book of Dave by Will Self
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Nov 2006, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2007, 512 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


‘Well, we aim to please, sir. Most London cabbies see themselves as ambassadors for the city, part driver, part tour guide.’ Dave slowed the cab before the junction with Sussex Gardens, allowing a Hispanic woman wearing a fur-trimmed denim jacket to shepherd her great shelf of bosom across the road. He sensed the fare’s approbation like a sunlamp on his bald spot. ‘Now to the right here, sir, almost all the property between here and Baker Street is owned by the Portman family; not a lot of people realize how much of London is concentrated in the hands of a very few, very rich people.’

‘That’s very inner-resting.’

‘I’m glad you think so, sir, and this road we’re driving up, you may’ve noticed that it’s very straight for a London road, that’s because it’s the old Roman Watling Street.’

‘You don’t say.’ I do fucking say. I fucking know. I know it all – I hold it all. If all of this were swamped, taken out by a huge fucking flood, who’d be able to tell you what it was like? Not the fucking Mayor or the Prime Minister – that’s for sure. But me, an ’umble cabbie.

‘Yes, if we were here seventeen hundred years ago, we might’ve seen a legion marching off to Chester, on its way up north to duff up a bunch of blue-painted savages.’

The cab, its wipers ‘eek-eeking’, pulled away from the lights and scraped by the concrete barnacles of the Hilton tucked beneath the Marylebone Flyover. It was late lunchtime on a wet December day, so the shop windows were lighting up. Dave tried to imagine who – who he knew – might be the type to have pitched up in a room there, for no other reason but to smoke crack with brasses from the Bayswater Road and rape the minibar. From some dark rank in his memory a recollection pulled away: Superb Sid, Sid Gold . . . picked ’im up last year outside the Old Curiosity Shop . . . He was looking pretty fucking flush, pretty pleased with ’imself. Bespoke fucking whistle, cashmere overcoat, the whole bit. He wouldn’t’ve done me any favours if I’d reminded ’im of the perm he used to sport at school. He became a brief, didn’t ’e, criminal fucking brief – in both senses. Gave me his card. Ponce. Still, he’s the type I’m gonna need because that Cohen cow ain’t gonna come through. If I’m gonna see the boy again, I’m gonna have to get some dirt on that cunt Devenish. There has to be some . . . there always is . . .all you gotta do is dig.

‘My oldest son would be fascinated by this stuff,’ said the fare, who’d relaxed now they were trundling past Little Venice and up through Maida Vale. ‘He’s a history geek . . . gets it from his dad, I guess.’ The fare looked about him at the five-storey Tudorbethan apartment blocks, and, as if taking comfort in their solidity, unglued his hands from the handles and at last eased himself back in the seat.

Dave hit the intercom button – a plastic nubbin incised with a hieroglyphic head: ‘Yeah, I always think of Watling Street as a sorta time tunnel, connecting the past with the present.’ What’s the point in knowing there’s a time tunnel there if you’ve got no one to go down it with? Now I understand that I learned this city to hold in my mind for a while – then lose it to my boy. Without him it’s starting to disappear – like a fucking mirage.

Excerpted from The Book of Dave by Will Self Copyright © 2006 by Will Self. Excerpted by permission of Bloomsbury Press (USA). All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Caught in the Revolution
    Caught in the Revolution
    by Helen Rappaport
    So taken were BookBrowse's First Impression reviewers by the inside look at the start of the Russian...
  • Book Jacket: Hillbilly Elegy
    Hillbilly Elegy
    by J.D. Vance
    In this illuminating memoir, Vance recounts his trajectory from growing up a "hillbilly" in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dark Flood Rises
    The Dark Flood Rises
    by Margaret Drabble
    Margaret Drabble, the award-winning novelist and literary critic who is approaching eighty and ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Our Short History
    by Lauren Grodstein

    Lauren Grodstein breaks your heart, then miraculously pieces it back together so it's stronger, than before.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Mercies in Disguise
    by Gina Kolata

    A story of hope, a family's genetic destiny, and the science that rescued them.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

A library is thought in cold storage

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -