x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

The Upgrade: the ego-driven tale of a 'pathological fantasist'

Paul Carr attempts to live in hotels for a year for no more than it costs to live off takeaway pizzas in a tiny flat in London and write about it.

The Upgrade: A Cautionary Tale of a Life Without Reservations
Paul Carr
Weidenfeld & Nicolson 
Dh85
The Upgrade: A Cautionary Tale of a Life Without Reservations Paul Carr Weidenfeld & Nicolson Dh85

According to Paul Carr, The Upgrade: A Cautionary Tale of a Life Without Reservations is a true story. According to an email received by his publisher shortly before publication of his previous work, Bringing Nothing to the Party (his book about trying and failing to become a dot-com billionaire), "Paul Carr is a pathological fantasist."

Whatever the relationship between the story as the author tells it, and life as it happened, this is a hugely entertaining book.

Carr begins with a simple plan. Live in hotels for a year for no more than it costs to live off takeaway pizzas in a tiny flat in London and write about it. He then veers off this plan spectacularly.

This is an ego-driven tale told with self-deprecating humour. Carr offends the very people he needs to keep on side. He misses meetings, deadlines and, often, the point. He barrels through disasters, waking in situations whose explanation is lost in the previous night's excess.

In fact, this is such a regular occurrence that if this book is a true story, Carr probably had to make it up.