The Tongues of Men

A novel in redraft by Gabriel Smy

Hilary Mantel falling down the stairs

My friend reminds me that to prove the readability of Umbrella, Will Self also promised to the Arts Theatre audience that readers who didn't like it could phone him for a free carpet cleaning. He would personally come round and shampoo their stairs.

Later in the evening, reluctant to criticise his rival's writing, he suggested instead that Hilary Mantel was no match for his carpet scouring skills.

"She doesn't even remove the plastic before applying the soap," he said. "And now you've got the image in your head of Hilary Mantel falling arse over tit down a soapy flight of stairs because she forgot to remove the plastic tread first".

Indeed I have. Man Booker trophy in hand.


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