Recoils like snails shot with vinegar: Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre



It’s not the first time I’ve quoted Vernon God Little, and since I’m only part way in ( and being a fan of DBC Pierre I’ve also quoted from Lights out in Wonderland ) I don’t think this will be the last time you see me quoting from this book. He really does have a way with words to be envious of.


On mothers. (I am one, I can quote it. ):


Between you and me, it’s like she planted a knife in my back when I was born, and now every fucken noise she makes just gives it a turn. P7


One for the writers:


When the rubbing of her thighs has faded, I crane my nostrils for any vague comfort; a whiff of warm toast, a spearmint breath. But all I whiff, over the sweat and the barbecue sauce, is school – the kind of pulse bullyboys give off when they spot a quiet one, a wordsmith, in a corner. The scent of lumber being cut for a fucken cross. P11


Describing the weather without  putting yourself and readers to sleep can be a challenge, no fear here:


Outside a jungle of clouds has grown over the sun. They kindle a whiff of damp dog that always blows around here before a storm, burping lightening without a sound. Fate clouds. They mean get the fuck out of town, go visit Nana or something, until things quiet down, until the truth seeps out. Get rid of the drugs from home, then take a road trip. P13


One I wish I’d thought of first:


Gurie’s chin recoils like snails shot with vinegar. P26



Passages of Writing: Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre.

Book: Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre. First Pub: 2003, Faber and Faber. This Edition: 2004 Faber and Faber.

Why: Often a few words, on their own unrelated to the image they create, together create a precise picture.

‘She’s slow, she’s sweaty, her features huddle in the middle of her face…’

p. 4 Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre

Passages of Writing: Lights Out in Wonderland by DBC Pierre.



Book: Lights Out in Wonderland, DBC Pierre. This ed. Faber 2010.


Why?:  Gabriel comes out of the text to speak to the reader, telling me to pay attention, so I do, and I’m possibly with him more than I might normally have been, because he asked me to. And I can hear it, smell it feel it more than I might have done had he not asked me to. It’s post-modern, meta-fiction again, but I have a fondness for it so it’s allowed.

The master Limbo is in charge of all our lives, so you can take it as meaning not even the author is in charge here, anything could happen. It’s one of my favourite books at the moment. These two paragraphs are poetic, like grand speeches that escalate to a final conclusion. It’s just a lot of fun to read. Make sure you don’t miss this bit in the second paragraph:

…I watch a tourist liner glide past the window leaking mercury and gold across the gelatinous whorls of the Spree…


In fact most of the book is a wonderful, poetic escape.



…and in the burning of a cigarette his Mercedes appears flashing through the traffic.

Only Bettina is inside, hair drawn up inside a chauffeur’s cap, a vision so ravishing, so bold and modern, that I must pause at the door, my friend and call you in close: step up with me, hear the throaty hiss of a perfect turbine, smell leather mix with musk see this spotless maiden masquerade as a man, as a servant, toying with it, with us, flashing dimples and teeth and clear eyes, and admit with me:

The Master Limbo gets some things rather right.


p 211, ‘Lights Out in Wonderland’, DBC Pierre


…we’re quickly assigned a table with a prime view. I watch a tourist liner glide past the window leaking mercury and gold across the gelatinous whorls of the Spree, and here, under flattering light, over linen and silver, I find a plane of well-being where I must pause, my friend, and call you in. Step close to these glowing linens, this sparkling glassware, snuffle this scent of hot food and vaporous wine, turn your ear to this elegant chatter between pleasant minds, and admit with me:

The Master Limbo gets some things rather right.


P167, ‘Lights Out in Wonderland’, DBC Pierre.

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