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Dandy in the Underworld


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'One of the funniest, strangest and most revolting memoirs ever written' Sunday Times

About the Author

Sebastian Horsley has done just about everything you could ever think of. Incredibly, he is still alive.


Eccentric British artist Horsley has written an autobiography that reads like fiction. Horsley, who lives in London's Soho, has done and seen everything in the world. He grew up at High Hall in Hull with his alcoholic mother; his stepfather, a cult leader dressed in orange; and his father, a crippled millionaire. The book's opening pages indicate what readers can expect; notes Horsley, "Mother had been drunk during her entire pregnancy." Searching for happiness, meaning, and a good outfit, Horsley got married, engaged in numerous affairs, and eventually descended into heroin and crack addiction. In the end, he declares to his readers, "I've suffered for my art, now it's your turn." Horsley's book is unabashedly unashamed and brutally honest. Each page is exciting to read, full of thought-provoking avowals like this one: "It was hard for Satan alone to mislead the whole world, so he appointed priests and prostitutes in different locations." Strongly recommended for all public libraries.-Bob T. Ivey, Univ. of Memphis Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

'The fabulous and fascinating story of the flamboyant artist/writer/poet growing up in a family of chaos, alcohol and insanity. Beautifully written and unflinchingly honest, this is a mind-blowing tale of a life out of control.' -- Elle 'Consistently witty...Dandy in the Underworld" is not for everyone but it is also funny, moving and the best book of its type since Lorna Sage's Bad Blood". If you can stand it, it is likely to be one of the most compelling reads of the year.' -- New Statesman 'Like Salvador Dali's confessions, only far funnier and more self-deprecating, Dandy in the Underworld entertains as much as it revolts, is as tender as it is shocking, and as genuine as it is false.' -- Independent 'A flat-out demented and compelling account of a life gone wrong...hilarious, sometimes beautiful' -- Time Out '[he] charts his diabolical decline and fall in rip-roaring style...a devilishly charming companion as he describes his wilfully deviant journey on the road to rack and ruin -- Metro 'it is his family that make this eye-popping memoir compelling...incredibly funny' -- London Paper 'Dandy in the Underworld" is a compulsive autobiography that tells the blackest truths in the jauntiest tone.' -- Independent on Sunday 'It's great. For although very, very funny at times, it is also useful, and possibly important; which is all the more remarkable considering that the subject, while full of a self-love that makes Narcissus look like a wallflower, would scoff at the idea of his being useful and important.' -- Guardian 20080627 'one of the funniest, strangest, most revolting memoirs you're ever likely to read.' -- Sunday Times - Summer Reads 20080628

British artist Horsley's biggest claim to fame is the crucifixion ceremony he underwent in the Philippines in 2000, an attempt to "break the limits of life" and make an artistic statement. The feat is the apex of Horsley's "unauthorized autobiography," which chronicles his life as an artist, a junkie and a self-professed dandy. Pithy and engaging, Horsley bares all, painting himself as a misogynist, a sexual deviant and a narcissist. While the memoir starts slow-drawn out accounts of childhood travails, tawdry family history and boarding-school miseries-Horsley's writing picks up when he's describing his cyclical addiction to and withdrawal from drugs. A crack high is a "whole-body orgasm" and "heartbreaking ecstasy"; heroin is "molten sunshine." By the time he is on a raft in the Philippines, paddling to the site of his crucifixion, he's been in and out of exclusive rehab clinics and self-imposed bouts of "cold turkey time," not to mention a stint as a prostitute. By the time a 50-something Horsley winds down his life history-wealthy and privileged from birth (his family owned a food empire), he was also uncannily successful in the stock market-he is nearly bankrupt. He ran through, by his own estimation, #100,000 on his drug addictions and the same amount of money each on his other addiction, prostitutes, and tailored clothing befitting his stature as a dandy. (Mar. 11) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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