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Success

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,001 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
In Success Amis pens a mismatched pair of foster brothers--one "a quivering condom of neurosis and ineptitude," the other a "bundle of contempt, vanity and stock-response"--in a single London flat. He binds them with ties of class hatred, sexual rivalry, and disappointed love, and throws in a disloyal girlfriend and a spectacularly unstable sister to create a modern-day Ja ...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published February 16th 2011 by Vintage (first published 1978)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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William1
Nov 13, 2015 William1 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, 20-ce, uk
A powerful and very affecting novel. Very funny. When the debauched Gregory Riding undertakes the profound sexual humiliation of his step-brother, Terence Service, he turns him from shy wallflower suffering low self-esteem to a wily aggressor seeking revenge. Martin Amis once said at a New York Public Library talk that this book was in part modeled on Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, and you can see echoes of Humbert Humbert's enormous vanity in Gregory. The narrative moves gradually and convincingly ...more
Anthony Vacca
Aug 07, 2014 Anthony Vacca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While Success may be young Martin Amis at his vilest, it also stands as his first fully realized work as a writer, introducing several themes, narrative tricks and character types which he would go on to develop until they fully flourished in the triptych of masterpieces he wrote from the mid-80’s to the mid-90’s: Money, London Fields, and The Information. Spanning the course of a year, this third novel from everyone’s favorite author who kind of looks like Mick Jagger tells the story of two rep ...more
James
Aug 26, 2014 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
This is a gorgeously written satire about vile people. As other reviewers have mentioned, the fingerprint of Nabokov is all over this work. Lolita springs clearest to mind as a suitably salacious analogue-exemplar which might’ve yoked Amis’ writerly rudder during composition. In this book, however, the horridly eloquent Humbert Humbert voice is transferred onto a pair of foster-brothers, Gregory and Terence, who couldn’t be greater opposites. Gregory is a good-looking, wealthy, entitled snob, co ...more
Manny
Feb 05, 2013 Manny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

An extremely clever and elegant novel about the subjective nature of success and failure. For once, Amis wraps up the story properly and has a satisfying conclusion.

The sex scene near the end (view spoiler) must rank as both one of the most distasteful and one of the most memorable in recent literature.
Tony
Apr 12, 2015 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
SUCCESS. (1975). Martin Amis. ****.
When I began this novel, I forecast that it would get a five-star rating. Turned out that I was wrong. Why? Towards the end of this novel, the characters began to get boring. It’s the story of two foster brothers: Terry and Greg. Terry was brought into Greg’s family from an orphanage, and joined Greg and his sister, Ursula. Greg and Terry are about the same age – late teenagers, but they are as different as night and day. Terry is short and dumpy and bereft of
...more
Jonfaith
Oct 07, 2012 Jonfaith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Success is a possum of a novel. Let me be specific, I don't mean a cute animated creature hamming along with a William Shatner voiceover: Rosebud. I mean the feral variety. Years ago I was leaving a cafe with some friends and turning on the headlights I was startled by a snarling possum glaring at me, threatening me with an ever painful and likely lethal gnawing. I am often bothered by that memory.

Amis bares his teeth in this one, a fifty-fifty approach to diverting fortunes. The narrative begi
...more
Tfitoby
Mar 04, 2012 Tfitoby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit
The Terrys of you out there may not appreciate that the portrayal of the working class yob is a painfully accurate caricature (who am I kidding, the Terrys of the world wouldn't read something as intelligent as this) and all you wonderful narcissus types may not see the funny side of watching the positively divine Gregory fall apart but I don't think that should detract from your overall enjoyment.

Martin Amis really is quite the writer, eloquent in the extreme, ever so witty when he chooses to b
...more
Chris
Sep 05, 2008 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Who does a bullshitter bullshit when he is alone?” Had the Sphinx asked this of Oedipus it wouldn’t probably wouldn’t have ended up eating itself. Now, millennia later, Martin Amis provides an answer for this ages-old quandary: a bullshitter alone will bullshit the reader, at least when he’s narrating a story. While there have been many exercises in showcasing the importance of reliability in point of view and narration, Amis pulls out all the stops and adds a twist to this tale by having not j ...more
Alexander
Mar 27, 2015 Alexander rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
Delicious. Vivifyingly vile. High-powered cozening narcissism delivered in gulps of lurid, exuberant prose. Amis is at his most decadent and tender in Success, an examination of diametrically stationed yet equally depraved voices; of vanity, misogyny, squalid impotence, all the male vices; at once cheerfully sordid and painfully funny. You get the feel, reading this novel, that Amis took two ordinary creatures (in their respective 'yob' and 'posh' stratospheres), bequeathed them with the ferocio ...more
Simon Hollway
Dec 19, 2014 Simon Hollway rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Dozens of laugh out loud moments - not so much incidents per se; more the beguiling virtuosity of Amis' metaphors. Includes one of the greatest sentences ever published: 'He said "hello" like a resolute halitotic sounding out a new friendship.' Certain passages in the novel, particularly Geoffrey at his most arch, stand shoulder to shoulder with Nabokov.
David Corvine
Smoking carriages on the underground and casual racism... must be London in the seventies. I read The Rachael Papers and Dead Babies some years ago and seem to remember that I found them more impressive than this offering.
Pierce
Oct 08, 2007 Pierce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like black, black humour.
I bought this secondhand about 6 months ago; there seems to be a pretty much unending library of Martin Amis books to read, every time I think I've got the measure of them I find another one I haven't heard of.

Then I lost it in the house and just found it again before reading it. I think it's my favourite Martin Amis book. (!). The point-of-view story of two foster brothers, polar opposites and each one equally unpleasant. They start to go through a series of experiences that begin to tip their
...more
Ensiform
Dec 21, 2011 Ensiform rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Two foster brothers --- Terry, a neurotic, balding foundling taken in by a rich family, grown bitter and desperate for sex; and Gregory, the lithe, graceful, snobby, louche aristocratic natural son --- live together in a small flat. Alternating the narration between the two, Amis paints a picture of conflict and depression, which only increases after Terry’s would-be girlfriend is lost, apparently, to Gregory. Midway through the book, Amis begins to twist the reader’s sympathies, so that Gregory ...more
Marco Kaye
Nov 05, 2011 Marco Kaye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nyu-craft-course
Success is tonto! Amis uses this word as a refrain, practically a mantra. It means loony, crazy, and cracked. It means this book is funny as all get out.

Structurally it’s not tonto at all. Rather, it’s a tightly wound double helix. Over the course of one year, each chapter representing a month, we follow two brothers, Terry Service and Gregory Riding. At an early age and after extreme familial circumstances, Terry was adopted into Gregory’s lavish household. Now the brothers live uncomfortably t
...more
christa
Jul 05, 2009 christa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In one corner, we have Terry, a tragic character who is convinced that the universe has conspired to make sure no woman will ever sleep with him. His teeth are bad, he's shedding hair, and he is in constant fear of losing his job in sales. In the other corner is his foster brother Gregory, beautiful and bisexual, a gallery worker who flounces around London living the high life and wearing a cape.

"Success," Martin Amis' third novel, follows a year of their lives as roommates in a flat better sui
...more
Paul Wilner
Sep 27, 2014 Paul Wilner rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Why do people like this guy? His characters are almost uniformly unsympathetic, particularly the boorish "Gregory"" who seems most identified with the author's persona. Poorly written, cheap shots, misogynistic - apart from that, it's great. For some reason people seem to identify sheer nastiness - particularly true of British authors (and sometimes filmmakers, rockers) with literary quality, a symptom of deep cultural insecurity. I actually far prefer his father's work, particularly "Lucky Jim, ...more
Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
cinismo

Gregory e Terence sono due fratelli adottivi, la famiglia del primo ha generosamente cresciuto il secondo rimasto orfano, e non potrebbero essere più diversi, peccato che il primo sembri quel che non è e il secondo diventerà quel che non era...
prove generali per l'Informazione, due coglioni di cui si farebbe volentieri a meno, uno mitomane e megalomane, l'altro sfigato e ambiguo...che si incartano nel cinismo dell'autore, prove generali anche di quello, successivamente affinato e decisame
...more
Magid
Jul 12, 2007 Magid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Ha Ha Ha! This book is great. It makes me wish I had been born twenty years earlier, so that I could enjoy the kind of London it describes.
Leora Bersohn
Jul 15, 2012 Leora Bersohn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing how annoying and unpleasant this was when London Fields and Money were so funny.
Lucian McMahon
Mar 18, 2016 Lucian McMahon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you gave me this book to read without revealing the author, I'd have recognized Amis's mark by page two, when he writes "You bet. I'm desperate. I'm tortured by need. Hardly anyone seems to want to fuck me any more. I don't know why. Gita won't fuck me any more."

Amisian.

While the characters in this book accomplish the impressive feat of being even more vulgar, disgusting, conceited, and substance-dependent than those poor souls populating London Fields or Money, it's also, in a way, a more el
...more
Will Lock
Dec 17, 2014 Will Lock rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read Martin Amis's Success immediately after Edward St. Aubyn's Patrick Melrose Novels. None of St. Aubyn’s fireworks here (maybe an IED or two), but overall a richer, balanced blend of character, plot and the creative use of point-of-view that is one of Amis’s trademarks. What was interesting about reading the two books in parallel is the contrast between Patrick Melrose and Gregory. Patrick is a pure product of the upper class, albeit a very damaged one. St. Aubyn draws him out in page after ...more
Erica
Nov 21, 2014 Erica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pomo, sick
Whenever I'm reading a book, I like to have a stock rehearsed answer for when someone asks, "What's it about?" (generally the question that follows, "whatcha reading?"). I didn't really have a good explanation for "Success", but according to the Goodreads summary it is "a modern-day Jacobean revenge comedy". OK, that's a start. So I IM'ed my husband to ask him what this means:

Me:
what is a "jacobean revenge" plot?

Husband:
Haha

Me:
?

Husband:
Funny question

You remember the movie titus?

It's Elizabethan,
...more
Isaac Cooper
Jul 24, 2014 Isaac Cooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hate this daily ten-minute walk, along the outlines of cold squares, past dark shopfronts where cats claw at the window panes, then into the tingling strip of Queensway, through shuddering traffic and the sweet smell of yesterday’s trash. I look at girls, of course, watch aeroplanes (take me to America), buy a paper and lots more cigarettes on the way, but I don’t think I’m convincing anyone by all this.

Success! I found a good book! What a rare occurrence that seems to be nowadays. Success is
...more
Steve
Apr 09, 2010 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: acerbic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jean-marcel
Amis's novels are often a bit like swimming around in a cesspool and finding yourself stuck with a problem....turns out you have a bit of an affinity for cesspools; maybe they're your natural habitat after all? I wouldn't call this book a masterwork along the lines of Money: A Suicide Note, but on the other hand its focus exclusively on the two brothers allows for stark contrast and an interesting examination of the same pictures and events viewed through sharply differing lenses. The story's ri ...more
Mike Hart
May 09, 2012 Mike Hart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was afraid to continue reading Success after I finished the first two chapters. I was afraid of when I would eventually see myself in Gregory, and much, much more frightened of when I would see a piece of Mike Hart stretching out in Terry’s pasty monochromatic skin. Not only were my fears realized, they came out at the most inopportune time. I found myself in Greg as his slide hit the slipperiest slope and began its downhill tumble at an alarming pace: “I used to love the man I would become. I ...more
Simon Crowe
May 17, 2016 Simon Crowe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Certainly amusing – he paints a lurid picture of the Thatcherite social changes that were taking place at the time – a satirical synecdoche: the fall of the fop and the rise of the yob. I enjoyed the subtle (and not so subtle) plays between the two protagonists with the subjectivity of description and recollection as they relate to self confidence, 'socio-sexual wellbeing' and – perhaps a preoccupation of Amis', emphasised to the the point of excess – financial success.

Despite the crass mysonge
...more
Alex
Feb 12, 2015 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maria
Jan 01, 2009 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Both sinister and witty, Martin Amis delivers characters provocative and repulsive, foster brothers in this novel. It is the emphasis on realizing a few characters which allows him to reach great heights and explore depths of human experience, putting Amis in a select group of novelists.

Terry, born a pauper, is slovenly, drunk and undersexed, perpetually suffering his early childhood and the ongoing adult rivalry with his aristocratic, self-serving and shallow brother Gregory. Their lives run d
...more
Diane
Apr 08, 2016 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anti-heroes
I think Martin Amis is becoming one of my favorite writers.

He creates these characters that come across as totally unlikable. Completely irredeemable. It's difficult for a character to come back from a scene that apparently has him aggressively and bloodily anally raping some poor girl, for instance. And yet, he manages to do that. He makes us despise these characters only to find out that was the plan all along and that we won't be able to continue despising once we reach the end.

He captures wh
...more
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Martin Amis is an English novelist, essayist and short story writer. His works include the novels Money, London Fields and The Information.

The Guardian writes that "all his critics have noted what Kingsley Amis [his father] complained of as a 'terrible compulsive vividness in his style... that constant demonstrating of his command of English'; and it's true that the Amis-ness of Amis will be recog
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“I think I'm losing my bottle. I think I'm going tonto.” 1 likes
“The night was electric - The night was in italics.” 0 likes
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