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Preview — London Fields by Martin Amis
Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh! Gosh!
I haven’t read a book this good in really, *really* long time.
And we’re not talking about oh-I-ca ...more
At the top there is the Monarchy and the aristocracy. They're all still there, no one has gone away. The 14th Duke of Banffshire and all the scurvy crew. The only good news is - they're not allowed to hunt foxes any more ! Yay - one and a half cheers for democracy! So that's the Upper Class.
Next step down is the complicated Middle Class which is divided into three :
Upper middle : these are your professions, of course. Judges, lawyers, bankers, etc. There was a radio inter ...more
What a gift. ...more
Character-driven is a term you often hear applied to fiction. It applies here more than usual, and in a different sense. The characters are stock types that Amis has elevated to the realm of literary internality without really changing their status as stock types. They're familiar to anyone familiar with crime stori ...more
Um. That's not very specific. I suppose I'd better say what "it" is. Well... off the top of my head: an engaging femme fatale, an equally engaging anti-hero - Keith Talent is an asshole's asshole - a dangerous baby, psychic powers, explicit descriptions of sex and competitive darts (though not both at the same time), references to nuclear and climate-related apocalypses, witty and stylish writing. Pause for breath. I know I'm missing a bunch of things.
A plot? An endin ...more
Initially, there is plenty to like. The narrator – a failed American writer on a house-swap in London – has an engaging line in self-doubt, a brooding sense of millennial disaster, and a neat turn of phrase. The traffic-clogged, grimy street ...more
Amis's representation of Keith Talent serves as a crude representation of the tabloid ...more
Martin's novels are renowned for their "composite" qualities, i.e. he writes three separate books and mashes them together. London Fields is a "profound" murder mystery, a scathing satire on hack writers (no surprises there), and a "state of Britain" epic all at once.
The end result is as uneven, stylistically overindulgent and frustratingly dense as you could expect from Amis. But his characters are very entert ...more
Your author is, according to the jacket copy, "a force unto himself".
I imagine your author looks in the mirror, flashes his teeth and nods, "I am a force unto myself!" before going about his day, drawling in American to his American wife, "I think I'd really like to hit America--no, no, ...more
Nicola Six's machinations were as uncomfortable for t ...more
The scenario here i ...more
While written in the late 80s, it still feels highly relevant today. Perhaps it would have seemed less so in the middle of Blair's premiership, but the new age of austerity suits book just fine. The dread of imminent apocalypse (a touch of JG Ballard the ...more
This book was little more than a bumbling, mumbling jumble of words. And not very many words, at that. Because within the first twenty pages he uses ...more
Here's the shtick: It's per-apocalypse London and femme fatale Nicola knows she's going to be murdered... but will it be by straight ...more
In response to criticism of a perceived over-complexity of his 2003 novel Yellow Dog Amis countered with these words: “No one wants to read a difficult literary novel or deal with a prose style which reminds them how thick they are…”, and then goes on to casually mention what he deems to be his own “higher voice”. Much has been made over the years of Martin Amis’s ego – so much so, in fact, that perhaps his loudness and conviction at his own higher cal...more
Amis trots off his usual British class stuff with the aid of some two-dimensional characters he found in a trash can somewhere. My strongest memory of it is the narrator saying "Darts, Keith". Oh, and a bit where Amis attempts so ...more
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 ...more