by Paul Doolan
Will Self. Liver: A Fictional Organ with a Surface Anatomy of Four Lobes. Viking, 2008
, contains a novella, Leberknodel that is set in Zurich and has a protagonist called Joyce Beddoes. Call me an obsessive Irishman, but put “Zurich” and “Joyce” together and you automatically come up with James Joyce, who wrote a number of chapters of Ulysses in Zurich, died and is buried here. The link seems obvious to me.
When you discover that Self’s Joyce eats a meal at the famous Kronenhalle (James Joyce’s favourite hangout and the place where he ate his last proper meal) and that she has reserved a plot in Fluntern Cemetery (the very same cemetery where James Joyce lies buried), then you know that the sequence of coincidences is not a sequence of coincidences. Strangely, in British reviews of Self’s book in the likes of The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent and the Times Literary Supplement, not one critic has picked up on this. Read the rest on Will Self's homepage