Umbrella – Will Self

I think I will stop and rest when Umbrella comes to my mind in the future. While reading, I took a lot of breaks because it is not a book that is easy to read. The problem is that when you come back, you need to reread a few pages to remember where you were. It was nominated for the Man Booker Prize in 2012, and I’m sure it divided the jury.


Will Self starts the book with the following sentence, and it’ll give you goosebumps if you have siblings: “Man forgets his brother as easily as an umbrella.” While reading it, you will get lost in places, sometimes you will feel like drowning, and sometimes you will get stuck. I can say very clearly that Umbrella is not a book everyone can read with pleasure. As I was reading the book, instead of reading it with joy, I found myself getting a little bit frustrated.

Umbrella - Will Self

One reason for this is that the book was written with the stream of consciousness style, and another reason is that the characters intertwine in sentences. It would not be right not to mention the style because it determines your reading experience.

Unfortunately, I could not feel very close to the characters because of the language of the book, so I cannot comment too much about them. However, just because I do not like the stream of consciousness, it seemed like I missed a good book. In summary, if you do not have a problem with the stream of consciousness style, definitely read this book. If you haven’t read a book written this way before, be sure to read a few pages in the bookstore before buying it. Enjoy!

Umbrella - Will Self


For half a century Audrey Death has been in a state of semi-consciousness. Severed from the world of the living after falling victim to Encephalitis lethargica, she has languished in Friern Barnet Mental Hospital. Then, in 1971, maverick psychiatrist Dr Zack Busner arrives.

Audrey’s experiences of a bygone Edwardian London: her socialist lover, her involvement with the Suffragists, and her work in a munitions factory during the First World War, alternate with Dr Busner’s attempts to bring her back to life with a new and powerful drug. His investigations lead to revelations that are both shocking and tragic, and which will return to haunt him decades later.

Will Self

William Woodard Self is an English author, journalist, political commentator and television personality. He has written eleven novels, five collections of shorter fiction, three novellas, and five collections of non-fiction writing.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

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