Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Life and War with Mikey Fatboy Delgado £7.99, includes free delivery in the UK

The Book Depository £7.99, includes free delivery worldwide


Reviews of
Life and War with Mikey Fatboy Delgado

From Ogden Gnash
Coming at the same time as Tony Blair's fictive self-hagiography, this much more
factual journal covering the period of the Iraq war is very welcome. It is also
extremely funny and I have translated the title of this review from a rather more
amusing version noted in the text. The author has a way with description. When
we learn that somebody on the Heath is munching on a knob the size of a rolled-up
Willesden Herald, the scene is conjured instantly and characteristically. Against the background of the daily developments during the second Iraq war, a constant battle
of wits with the Old Bill and business enterprises that involve a lot of night moves,
there is also the human story of a typical family trying to carry on its daily life and
loves against the backdrop of seemingly universal depravity. I'm not just puffing this
up because Mikey is one of the lads from round this way and because I'm in fear of
some of his mates - it really is an excellent read.


An extract from the review at
Kitchen Poet

You’ll be happy to know, as I was, that it’s not a leaflet send out to further the education of the masses concerning matters unknown, not Michael Moore in drag chomping on a carrot stick in front of thousands in sold-out hockey rinks, but instead, a rather calmly meditative and character driven story about little things. The little lives and little wars of everyday life.

Funny too. I was cracking up by page 13 and a half (and the book doesn’t even start until page 5) when Mr. Delgado and his missus engages in a bit of dress-up, and if that doesn’t at least make you smile your funny-bone must not be screwed on right.

The war in Iraq offers a background story to the more personal account of Mikey Delgado running errands in and around London, going to “the football”, hustling small crime and less small crime, hustling small time and less small time family matters, hanging out in an internet cafĂ© called "The Inbox" run by the late absurd theater mastermind Eugene Ionesco, trying his hand at poetry, talking shit.

It’s a story told as a diary in snaps and shots over maybe a hundred days, sometime after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The writing is crisp, clean, relentless, favoring pace over lingering descriptions. A kind of pulp noir, but one filled with analogies and miniature stories as told and related between the different characters. This web of stories within the main story keeps it from going flat-after-reading as contemporary mainstream fiction often does.

It’s not empty of political phrase-turning though, but these are expressed through Delgado's diary accounts, either through the various characters or in “Mikey Delgado’s Dream”, a series of small vignettes punctuating the story throughout, where all the major political players of the War (with big W) make an appearance as bickering adolescents stuck in a surrealist play, fighting over top-bunk.

It never became “satirical”, to me, as that seems not the main attraction in this story. Nevertheless, it is a story that dresses and undressed these current times we live in (2003 still feels like yesterday, doesn’t it?) on just about every page with a humor, intensity and casual bluntness I haven’t read since Michel Houellebecq’s treatment of sex tourism in his novel, Platform. Where the Frenchman is about as cold as basket of chilled plums in February though and you never quite can figure out if he’s “taking the piss” or is a secret subscriber to Le Pen, Delgado can’t help to let his humanity seep through the pages.