Ten years after the cult hit Donjong Heights, Ben Borek is back with another brilliantly surreal and darkly comic satire, SISSY.
Sissy is an hilarious, epic romp of a novel encompassing, in its burlesque scope, our modern crisis of masculinity, the banality of City work, our retreat into virtual lives and the alienating effects of modern technology, with plenty of variegated sexing in-between. Sissy is an anti-hero antidote to Don Juans; a modern masculine counterweight to, and sad manifestation of, the internet-induced fright of the real: a thirty-something wimp by day – surreally re-born of his long-suffering mother each morning – and a would-be-gangsta by virtual night. The novel is a virtuosic attack on the notion of the male Romantic Hero written in a language that is rich and flamboyant; enjoyably, hilariously, baroque, while at the same time an extraordinary reclamation of the narrative epic form for the woker ‘now’.
"SISSY is a funny, exquisite, appalling, unprecedented, masterpiece." – Toby Litt
The novel's cast of characters includes a household of progressive eastern EU migrants, a violently activist feminist performance artist, and, in various disguises, a self-consciously Nabakovian and deeply sinister narrator who manipulates and duels with Sissy throughout, making observations via remote-controlled Gecko-cam, while distracted by a foot fettish. Its intricate subplots include a quest for and repatriation of thirteen magical feet, a reminder of the role of the non-British in the Battle of Britain, a disastrous wedding in Eastern Europe and a final, terrible revelation. Ben Borek is unique: no-one else writes like this, or can write like this. His vision is dark but also, almost inexplicably, obscurely warm and deeply humane.
Ben Borek grew up in South London. His previous novel in verse, Donjong Heights, published by Egg Box, was a cult hit back in 2008 and his poetry has been published in City State (Penned in the Margins), London, A History in Verse (Harvard University Press), and Dear World and Everyone in it (Bloodaxe). He has read his work at festivals throughout the UK and Europe and audio of his work is available at the Archive of the Now (archiveofthenow.org). He lives in Warsaw with his partner and son and is employed variously as a copywriter, editor, translator and voiceover artist.
Sissy by Ben Borek