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Dirty Weekend - Reviews

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If Oscar Wilde had written Death Wish, it would read like Dirty Weekend. This is a brave, brilliant and beautiful book. I wish I had written it - Julie Burchill

When I finished with this book, I threw it in the bin. This book deserves no other fate than to be trashed, for that is what it is. It has no redeeming literary features whatsoever - Melanie Phillips, author 'Londonistan'

Dirty Weekend is an act of writing that is avant-garde in the literal sense. A literary turning-point - Naomi Wolf, New Statesman & Society

This isn't liberated. This is sick rubbish - Edwina Currie, MP

Deadpan in style, shocking in content. Every moral and emotional preconception is subjected to a literary assault and battery. The polished rhythms and frightening finesse of the prose leave you stunned - The Daily Telegraph

Offensive and trite and tedious - Nicci Gerrard, The Observer


Taut prose, black humour and a confrontational style make this a challenging and terrifyingly funny first novel - Time Out

A black comedy, written with wit and savagery - Publishing News

A devastating critique of masculinity - Susie Orbach, author 'Fat is a Feminist Issue'

Spare and stylish - Literary Review

One of the funniest books I've ever read. Zahavi's deadpan humour transforms the most horrible situations into ironic reflections on the woman's lot - Helen West, Living Marxism

Explicit, obscene, repellent - Angela Lambert, The Independent

No novel of recent memory has altered me more profoundly. This is black comedy at its finest. The whole book takes place right on the ironic edge between madness and absolute enlightenment. If I had an extra hundred grand I'd buy the screen rights to this in a flash - Bill English, Santa Rosa Sun

As writing, beneath contempt - Kirkus Reviews

Above all, Dirty Weekend is a novel composed of language so gorgeous, so precise and witty, that I found myself laughing and thought, I should be crying instead. Nothing pleases me more than to be surprised into consciousness - Kathy Acker

Zahavi is disturbed - Private Eye

Don't come looking for Jane Austen, but if you can stand the ride you may enjoy Zahavi's free-skating wit on very thin ice - Nick Marston, GQ

Truly shocking. The horror is not in her action, but in the emotionless, remoreseless way Zahavi tells the tale - Carl Hindmarch, The Guardian

The literary sensation of the year - Alex Kershaw, City Limits

I can still remember the visceral shock I felt as a young single woman reading Helen Zahavi's first novel, which burst upon a rather staid UK literary scene like a firework - Louise Doughty, author 'Apple Tree Yard'

Disturbing because it is funny - John Lennard, Times Literary Supplement

A seething account of a slag with a bloodlust that has a dynamism all its own - David Hughes, Mail on Sunday

Whatever happened to love? Come to that, whatever happened to the once reputable house of Macmillan? - Daily Express

Though trailed as phallophobic dungaree polemic, the story is unexpectedly couched in a stripped-down version of Martin Amis at his most mannered, with its subliminal appeal to fascism - The Sunday Telegraph

Disorientating and powerful. There are no apologies here. Bella is not an oppressed housewife or a downtrodden working girl. She is not suffering from PMS or incest abuse or even semiotics. Bella is just Anywoman, any woman who has reached the limits - Bettina Berch, Belles Lettres

Dirty Weekend should carry a warning: this book contains violent passages which could easily offend. It is a shattering book, which demands a single, uninterrupted sitting in which to unfold its dirty tale - Bridget Frost, Writers' Monthly

Poor Martin Amis, poor D. M. Thomas, the game's over, boys -- literary terrorism and the fun on the streets. Read Dirty Weekend. It's good -- it may even be beautiful -- and it's true - Andrea Dworkin

From the opening lines the repetitive, hypnotic authority of the prose takes over. As a piece of stylised thuggery -- mordant humour run riot -- the effect is stunning - Sarah Edworthy, Marie Claire

Zahavi upset a lot of people when this book, her first, was published last year. Not surprisingly, really. You can't break taboos and expect people to like you for it -- but you can expect a bit of notoriety. Her story is one of sexual violence, perversion and murder, the details messily and lovingly elaborated -- and her killer is a woman. It sounds unpleasant, and it is. But it is also terribly funny, with some marvellous dialogue - The Sunday Times

Helen Zahavi's Dirty Weekend is everything that American Psycho wants to be but isn't. Provocative, confrontational, disturbing, challenging, enlightening and moving - Jon Wilde, Blitz

Death Wish meets American Psycho in the murderous hands of Bella, who carries out a number of horrifyingly entertaining slayings (by hammer, by suffocation, by luxury auto). Sensitive readers may decry this as yet another misandrist fantasy, but the author's high Brit wit and sense of fair play -- Bella only kills creeps -- get her off the hook - Esquire

Revel in this reactionary, radical feminist, splatterpunk rant. It's a good book, pun-laden, cold-blooded and chillingly hateful. It screams for a sequel - Steven Wells, New Musical Express

What saves the story from becoming a lurid feminist cartoon is the author's first-rate literary craft, her glinting, rapier wit and staccato delivery charged with menace. Zahavi writes rings around long-time practitioners of the psychological thriller - Publishers Weekly

Satirical black comedy that uses its shock tactics with skill and seriousness - Independent on Sunday

An exhilarating little homily. Not so much fin de siècle. More fin des hommes. Sally Feldman, The Bookseller

A feminist jihad. Zahavi's literary techniques come from de Sade, out of Angela Carter, by Monique Wittig: this is de Sade as feminist fable...Deeply, darkly comic - Peter Hutchings, Sydney Morning Herald

In the character of Bella, the humiliation of Everywoman has been condensed, compressed and let explode against the oppressive weight of Everyman - Sunday Tribune

One of the few books I've read this year that lives up to the extravagant claims of the publisher - FM 101 Brisbane

Truthful depictions of the bitter face of our lives are threatening, horrific and often closely followed by shouts of 'ban it'. Dirty Weekend has been attacked in the media for its explicit sexual and violent content, and everybody seems to have missed the ideological point behind Zahavi's book: a woman said NO! - Elorine Grant, Spare Rib

This is hardly a novel. It is a work of radical feminist propaganda - Sam Ashman, Socialist Worker Review

A lucid, angry polemic, in which the internal logic is clearly that of satire - James Runcie, The Daily Telegraph

A witty, wicked little book, well worth the occasional stomach churn - Rebecca Mead, New York Newsday

Dirty Weekend deliberately gets under your skin, up your nose, and anywhere else it can provoke reaction. Shot through with a wonderfully black humour and satirical edge that further distinguish it from much contemporary thriller fiction - Chris Foreham, Pulp!

Gleeful, mordant and fabulously violent. A black, beautiful revenge comedy of Jacobean proportions - Fiesta

Literary censorship is once again a hot and sexy topic. Every pisseur de copie in town is moaning about Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho and Helen Zahavi's Dirty Weekend. Ellis's book is the most repulsive ever written; Zahavi is pathologically disturbed; we must reassess the censorship laws. Where have these people been? As Jean Rhys wrote of the English: "They ask to be shocked, and long to be shocked, but when you really shock shocked they are!" - Elizabeth J. Young, New Statesman & Society

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