Guts: A Comedy of Manners Paperback – Aug 1 2001
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In keeping with the genre's prime exemplars, plot is sacrificed at every turn to the joyously detailed gross-out, but the story goes something like this. Crackpot scientists get the idea that our intestines are not a part of us but in fact a symbiotic organism. In attempting to contact these independent organisms they inadvertently spark them into rebellion. Dragging themselves free of their host bodies, the hate-filled intestines go on the rampage, wreaking terrible vengeance on the human race.
Somehow relevant to all this are such items as a vast sentient cheese that must be placated by daily, doggerel-filled rites; a neo-Nazi desperate to find someone to persecute because, in dismay at falling membership, his movement has had to recruit members of every conceivably minority in attempt to bolster the numbers; a sexual encounter with the Sphinx; as many deliberately asinine pseudoscientific theories as can reasonably be fitted in among the gross-outs; an R2D2-style robot that is not only cuter than its movie counterpart but also a Biblical fundamentalist and a lesbian; a tabloid journalist trying despairingly to change the habits of a lifetime and tell the truth; and much more besides.
The jokes come fast and furious as the book races along. The inventiveness never flags. What more could you ask for?
I laughed until I was ready to burst -- which latter is exactly what, in the final cataclysmic scenes of this laugh riot, the giant cheese does. But that's another story.
(Guts, page 51)
Well, if this is the truth, I'd hate to hear about the unsaleable plotlines...
Guts is a spoof horror novel, and tasteless it most certainly is. The plot (if that's the right word!) runs a little something like this: a scientist hypothesizes that the human stomach is intelligent, finds a way to communicate with it, then the stomachs rebel (literally) and start killing people in various unpleasantly gory ways.
Still here? If so, Guts may well be your sort of book! The trouble with reviewing something like this is that, awful as much of the book is, it's all deliberate. So we can note the cardboard characters, the flour-and-water plot, the excessive amounts of bodily fluids, the howlers (`After the research paper on termites which had brought him his master's degree in etymology...'); but we can't criticise them because they're supposed to be bad.
So we're just left with the jokes then. And, luckily, the jokes are very good. No horror cliché is left untouched and the whole thing is just gloriously silly. The one downside is that, since the object of most of the satire here is a certain kind of book, there's a lot of reference to the fact that this is a novel, which can grate after a while. But there are enough other jokes to make up for it.
In short, if you can stomach gross-outs, there's a good read to be found in the bowels of this book. It will be at-tract-ive to some... okay, that's enough.
Another plus point is that the book is quite short. I wouldn't have the guts for any more!
Well now you can. Cosmos Books have taken the plunge and published it - thus proving yet again that there is no subject matter so vile that the book can't find a publisher somewhere.
The "plot" (for want of a better word) revolves around the exploits of the sentient intestines of the major characters. The intestines rather resent their interior functions. They want to break out into the world, to live and love in the open air. (It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "communicating with your inner being"). The bulk of the novel is made up of a series of set piece encounters between the rampant intestines and the populace at large.
Every intestinal joke you can think of and huge number that you can't think of and many that you wouldn't like to think of desecrate the text along with a lot of sly nudge, nudge, wink, wink digs at pseudo-scientific nut-cults, the reading room of the British Library and the sexual attractiveness of the Sphinx. I think there might be a kitchen sink in there as well.
That's not bad for a mere 173 pages! Langford's right - it's a rotten book. I loved it.