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Endland Reviews

Endland by Tim Etchells, Jarvis Cocker

Endland

Tim Etchells, Jarvis Cocker

3.71 out of 5

4 reviews

Imprint: And Other Stories
Publisher: And Other Stories
Publication date: 8 Nov 2019
ISBN: 9781911508700

Screwed-up England and its characters channelled in strange, twisted, funny, cartoon-like innovative fiction that grasps our times better than straight realism.

  • The GuardianBook of the Day
4 stars out of 5
Ian Sansom
8 Dec 2019

"There are no happy endings in this nastily funny phantasmagoria set in a warped version of England"

The stories are nastily funny – sick jokes – and Etchells is a latter-day Menippean satirist. The biggest influence on his early stories, he notes in an afterword, was Mark E Smith of the band the Fall, whose lyrics were glorious, ferocious rages. “Some persons have accused that these writings are full of narrational gaps and sudden perplexing changes of topic brought abt by my total failure to appreciate that the reader does not share important vital background information which I possess. However it is my intention to continue regardless.” The book is horrible, brilliant, deliberately provoking. At times I wished it was over; now I wish it had never stopped.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
3 Jan 2020

"The orality of these morality tales is absolutely thrilling"

The orality of these morality tales is absolutely thrilling: the conversational tone (“Anyway”), the textspeak-style abbreviations and liberal use of expletives; the poetic malapropisms (“flesh of lightning”, “of curse”) and frequent phonetic spelling conjure up a dialect that seems to be in the process of becoming – one that is close to the “morning of language”, to quote Anne Carson. Our dystopian times are estranged through the childlike innocence of this narrative voice – with its flashes of tender whimsy that recall Richard Brautigan – as though the chronicles of Endland were being told by the BFG.

4 stars out of 5
1 Dec 2019

"Etchells’s punchy collection has appeared at the right moment"

Etchells’s punchy collection has appeared at the right moment, offering an incisive commentary on the current social and political omnishambles. This essential book is just what we need right now, and more than we deserve.

3 stars out of 5
17 Nov 2019

"Funny and fantastical, this collection of urban fables turns a broken mirror on broken Britain"

Etchells adopts a vernacular grammar (“things was going alright”) and homophonic misspellings (hole for whole, nite for night), and a direct, reported style. It’s a cracklingly original voice, and the stories are very funny. Plenty of fun is had with classical allusions: a woman falls so far through the welfare safety net that she ends up in Plato’s cave, while Greek taxi driver Antagonistes is chained behind a Ladbrokes so eagles can nightly feast on his liver. Dipping into Endland provides a delightful dose of nastiness. Taken as a whole, however, the collection can seem a little one-note.