Design Faults of Human Nature

This collection of short stories published in 2005 by Penguin marks the 70th anniversary of Pocket Penguin line of books---"intelligent books at low price" as the founder Allen Lane described it. This book by Will Self (Penguin sees him as the bad boy of English literature) is one of the 70 books highlighting the best of the short story genre since 1935.

The compilation itself is composed of two independent stories but tackles the same theme or topic. Though initial phase of reading wont show it, you have to finish the whole book first but don't worry, the book is just 55 pages in total. The first story (the title carrier of the book) is titled "Design Faults in the Volvo 760 Turbo: A Manual" and the second is titled "A Story of Europe."

Both stories are complete on their own and the plots are well-executed, hinting some snippets of postmodern technique in literature. Present day readers will surely find this book relevant since it showcases the present sport in the popular media---"snogging," as the first story's main character Bill Bywater proudly calls it. Adulterous activities depicted were highlighted by Will Self's usage of industrial/political puns and erotic  word plays like "Park up a Volvo--and grab a vulva," "Serena used to be an 'it' girl--now she's 'that' woman," and "A socialite - she went to a finishing school in Switzerland where they taught her to fellate." What's not to like? You can ask Cornholio for he's the only one who knows how to properly use the TP!

The second story is an interesting depiction on how nature defeats man through age, and how the youthful stage is the best stage in life. I thought I saw magic, but later I could only sense minute traces of surrealism and now it's better to identify them wholly as pure irony and sarcasm instead. Maybe, there really is no magic in this book, only basic techniques of postmodern narrative but you cannot blame the author, not even human nature for we are all designed with unavoidable faults.

Genre: Postmodern Fiction, Short Fiction
Rating: 3 cathartic orgasms out of 5  

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