Peter Hoskin

Kultural icon

You’ll know Kim Kardashian’s body better than your own lover’s after gawping at this collection of selfies

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Kim Kardashian

Universe Publishing, pp. 352, £

The almond eyes that rise towards their outer edges. The cheekbones that curve down to the corners of those upholstered lips. The dark strands of hair that fall wisplike on to her chest. The hourglass extremities that will exercise your ciliary muscles until they snap.

Dear me! After looking at this book, you’ll be more familiar with the particulars of Kim Kardashian’s body than with your own lover’s. For this is her hardback collection of selfies. It contains almost 500 photographs of Kim, by Kim. Six of them include her daughter; 60 of them feature at least one of her siblings; 100 have Kim in a bikini, in her underwear or completely naked. The book’s title, Selfish, might be the most knowing of all time.

But who is Kim Kardashian? If you need to ask that question, then I’m afraid you’re behind on your Kulture. Kim isn’t just a 21st-century celebrity, she is the 21st-century celebrity. She can tick every box on the checklist with a flourish. LA socialite? Yes. Sex tape? Yes. Reality TV show? Yes. Marriage to a sportsman, followed by divorce, followed by marriage to a rapper? Yes, yes, yes. And now this, I repeat, a hardback collection of selfies. It’s so now that everyone else is playing catch-up, stuck behind Kim’s voluminous behind.

There’s a test to determine whether you will enjoy this book. It comes on page 350. There, beside a photo of Kim — hair dampened, lips parted, breasts out — is a small quantity of text. ‘I don’t think I’ve ever taken as many selfies as I did in Thailand,’ it reads. ‘It’s one of the prettiest places I’ve ever travelled to!’ This must be the Kardashian philosophy in aphoristic form: pretty place, prettier face.

Does that make you laugh or cry? I chose laughter years ago. Keeping Up with the Kardashians, currently in its tenth series on television, is more entertaining than any number of Breaking Bads or Mad Men. Watch Kim and her extended family in high definition! The get-togethers! The break-ups! The houses! The dresses! The flesh! It certainly beats spending your day wading through the Daily Mail website for celebrity gossip. I get my fix in concentrated doses. There is no need for anything else.

Be warned, however: it reaches a point where you almost admire Kim and those other Kardashians. They may have selected fame as a career in itself, but at least they work hard at it. If the medium weren’t photo shoots and interviews and endorsements and tweets, people might even call it dedication to the craft. And Selfish would be the manual. It closes with a photograph of Kim Kardashian’s and Kanye West’s hands intertwined on the day of their wedding. That’s how you go from intimate to Instagram. That’s how you live your life, in the open for us all to gawp at.

Available from the Spectator Bookshop, £10.95 Tel: 08430 600033