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Bigot Hall - Steve Aylett
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Jun 13, Lea rated it really liked it Shelves: In some ways this reminded me of The Wasp Factory -- which I didn't like. One of my biggest complaints about that book was its unrelentingly depressing tone. This book also deals with an eccentric, isolated family, but Bigot Hall leans toward the absurd, which I found far more enjoyable. I could almost see this as a Tim Burton film, and found myself wishing he'd taken the plunge and filmed it. About halfway through, though, I reached a plot point view spoiler [ sibling incest hide spoiler ] In some ways this reminded me of The Wasp Factory -- which I didn't like.
About halfway through, though, I reached a plot point view spoiler [ sibling incest hide spoiler ] that made me realize even Burton probably couldn't pull this one off. In spite of that, I liked all of the characters. There's a really wonderful British-ness to the writing -- I really don't know of an American who could utilize this type of humour effectively.
What is it about British humour that is so difficult for Americans to replicate? Here's a brief summary, for those who like that sort of thing: Told from the point of view of Laughing Boy -- difficult to tell if that's his name or simply a perjorative which everyone uses to refer to him most likely it's both -- the story concerns his family: They are joined by various other family members, as well as several boarders, and Laughing Boy's one friend, Billy Verlag, the only boy in the village "small and spherical enough for the other kids to boot over the perimeter wall.
Gabbling men in make-up riding round and round on bicycles which were evidently too small for them. Chap in a leotard, biffing along a high-tension wire. Bloke dressed as the Joker, telling us everything was dangerous and real.
As if I of all people didn't know. One fool struggled into a giant cannon -- it was clear he had a deathwish and wasn't waiting for the gods to deliver. Nevertheless he gave a yell of surprise as he flew through the air. Meanwhile someone stepped into a cage with a lion. For me a lion is like any other situation -- if you're going to whip it and push it away with a chair, why get involved in the first place?
In my opinion the bloke was just doing it for show.
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Ashen and demented, they shambled out of the wings like victims of an over-zealous bloodbank. Only the coldest of souls could watch their exploits without screaming. Car crashes, drownings, fires -- you name it. Even the laughter was exaggerated. Some of them were carried off on stretchers which collapsed. The entire affair was meaningless, the stuff of nightmares.
I had to get out. Go and read the book, already! Highly recommend, especially for fans of Aylett, fans of bizarro, fans of Tim Burton, or anyone breathing who has a decent sense of humour. Jan 26, Jay Green rated it it was amazing. This was the first book by Steve Aylett that I read and it is still one of my favourite works by any novelist. The use of language is sometimes quite startling, pulling you up abruptly and wondering why nobody else has ever had the wit to construct images and phrases in this way until now.
It just exudes originality. I must have read it four or five times now, partly to revel in its brilliance and partly in an attempt to identify the key to its creativity. It will make some writers jealous but i This was the first book by Steve Aylett that I read and it is still one of my favourite works by any novelist. It will make some writers jealous but inspire others to up their game in pursuit of the joy that must come from the production of something so pristine and perfect, a comedy unlike any other.
Jan 30, Robert Beveridge rated it really liked it Shelves: Steve Aylett, Bigot Hall Serif, I spent the first few pages of this book alternating between offense and amusement. After a while, it hit me that I hadn't laughed out loud this many times per page at any book in quite a while, so I dropped the offense. The narrator, a nameless adolescent called "laughing boy" by friends and family alike, turns his jaundiced eye upon most every family member and lodger at the family's country estate, a living or at the very least highly unstable, from a dimensional perspective mansion known as Bigot Hall.
Amidst the witty repartee and this would make a good handbook for those who like to find stultifyingly obtuse. I won't spoil them for you, you'll have to read it yourself, but let's just say Aylett pulled off a pretty nice chunk of real estate in making the Verger's predicament seem not only plausible, but completely in line with the rest of the doings about him. As with all books of the "selected glimpses of life" genre, there's no plot here, so the book must rely on nothing but character development to succeed, and it does so quite nicely.
It's also choke-on-your-manacles funny from beginning to end. Jan 25, Andrew S. I've always enjoyed Steve Aylett. Ever since I read his short story "If Armstrong Were Interesting," which is certifiably the funniest four pages in the history of English literature, I've hunted down and devoured every book of his I can find. Most of his longer works aside from the faux-biography Lint , itself a masterpiece are sort of comedic beatnik-noir-cyberpunk tales of improbable criminal organizations and their various doings.
Very hard to describe to someone who hasn't read them - Ayle I've always enjoyed Steve Aylett.
Very hard to describe to someone who hasn't read them - Aylett's style is unique, built as it is on the unexpected, the non sequitur, the artful defiance of logic at which he has a achieved a Zen-like mastery. Here, Aylett presents an imagined autobiography, told from the perspective of a young adolescent and his surreal, dysfunctional family. Hilarious and beautiful, and oddly haunting despite its rapid-fire humor and cartoonish narratives.
For some reason, this book seems to be available only as a British import. Nov 27, Adam rated it really liked it Shelves: A more accessible Aylett. Of course accessible is a relative term when concerning Mr. Written in the form of a childhood memoir but not really resembling that description. If the show or comic it is based on was scripted by Thomas Ligotti or Bruno Shultz and then you watched it while consuming real A more accessible Aylett. If the show or comic it is based on was scripted by Thomas Ligotti or Bruno Shultz and then you watched it while consuming really spicy chili and then you transcribed the dreams you had in between waking with extreme heart burn later that night, it resembles that.
Apr 21, Michael Norwitz rated it it was amazing. I've read a couple of other books by Aylett, but none come close in my affections to Bigot Hall, which paints a surrealistic portrait of a sort of modern, punk rock Addams Family. The book is more a series of pastiches than a novel with an overall plot, and the ending descends into a vortex quite literally of metafiction, but despite that his language and humor consistently delight.
It even has rare moments of beauty, as the poem the unnamed protagonist write for his incestually-involved siste I've read a couple of other books by Aylett, but none come close in my affections to Bigot Hall, which paints a surrealistic portrait of a sort of modern, punk rock Addams Family.
It even has rare moments of beauty, as the poem the unnamed protagonist write for his incestually-involved sister: If the sun which lights your eyes Were thirty-seven times its size Then you, and I, and all the world Would start to twitch and fry. Mar 30, Traummachine rated it really liked it. Bigot Hall is the story of an unbalanced, insane, and possibly supernatural family, where our hero repeatedly dodges murder by his uncle, is madly in love with his sister, and lives to torment the guests of the house.
I read Aylett's Slaughtermatic about 5 years ago, and the style of this reminded me why I liked it. This felt less stream-of-consciousness than the other book, and reads more like a series of short stories. But the loosely held together cohesion of the shorts brings the overall book Bigot Hall is the story of an unbalanced, insane, and possibly supernatural family, where our hero repeatedly dodges murder by his uncle, is madly in love with his sister, and lives to torment the guests of the house.
But the loosely held together cohesion of the shorts brings the overall book to life. The first few chapters seem largely self contained, but prior events begin to have an impact as the book progresses. Aylett is offensive but hysterical. If you can laugh at comedic horror movies or porn comedy, then you'll laugh at this.
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Despite this, there's an unexpected endearing quality as the family unites in kind of an "Only our family is allowed to treat him so bad! It's pretty dense writing, so despite the short length I have to recommend you only pick this up when you're in the mood for a book that requires focus, a book that can easily offend you, a book that's more of a themed collection than a novel, and a book that doesn't care about your expectations and just is. But when that mood hits you, this hits the spot. Mar 22, John Kenny rated it really liked it Shelves: I picked up Bigot Hall by Steve Aylett not knowing what to expect and it just blew me away.
It is anarchic black humour at its best, filled with witty observations and completely off the wall characters, whose volatile natures and violent dispositions I have never met the like of before. I never laughed so much at such outrageous brutality; I'm utterly ashamed of myself. There were many things I was reminded of during my journey through this book: