Wednesday 30 December 2015

Billy and the Devil - Dean Lilleyman

Resonant of Irvine Welsh and Charles Bukowski, but unique in its style, voice and addictive central character. Billy and the Devil is a shocking, compelling and intimate portrayal of isolation, sexual misadventure, and addiction. Told in a series of brilliantly rendered observations and episodes from Billy's life, this controversial story charts an all-too real descent into alcoholism. It is an unflinchingly vivid journey to a place of no return, where love is lost in the darkest of woods - a boy, who becomes a man, who becomes his own worst devil. But ultimately, what choice does Billy have? Raw, poetic, with moments of pure imaginative visceral genius, Billy and the Devil is by turns funny and sad, brutal and tender, horrific and uplifting. You will be both challenged and moved by this astonishing debut novel from author Dean Lilleyman.

What did I think?

This is such an astonishing debut that I read this book in one sitting; it was so addictive that I couldn't bear to put it down.  I have never read a book like it - it is so poetic and beautifully dark.  The subject matter of an alcoholic spiralling into self-destruction was at times difficult to read but I was completely entranced by the devil in my inability to stop reading.  

From the moment that his father left his mother pregnant, Billy's path was mapped out for him.  It was a path he happily followed as long as there were bottles of Bells along the way.  Billy travelled through life like a tornado, leaving damage and destruction in his wake, not caring who he hurt or what he did as long as he could drink himself into oblivion.

As dark as this book was, there are some really funny moments in it.  The book is so realistic, emotive and raw that Billy's actions caused me to both laugh and cry.  There are incidents in the social club and in Burtons that made me cry with laughter but also to question the effect of alcohol to make Billy do these things in the first place.

This is a book that should be given to all alcoholics on their road to recovery - highlighting the damage caused by excessive alcohol consumption to your life and your body.  It is an absolutely amazing debut novel that shows the effects of alcoholism in a sobering light.

I received this book from the publisher, Urbane, in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:

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