House of Meetings
In 1946, two brothers and a Jewish girl fall into alignment in pogrom-poised Moscow. The fraternal conflict then marinates in Norlag, a slave-labor camp above the Arctic Circle, where a tryst in the coveted House of Meetings will haunt all three lovers long after the brothers are released. And...more
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Five Things Regarding the Writing of House of Meetings:
1. "I'm very reliant on the unconscious mind to write, but it wouldn't do a damn thing for me. The book was imploring me to write it. I don't think I could suffer the Gulag. Instead, I suffered the study."
2. "I was gratified when a Russian lady expressed incredulity that I hadn't been (to Russia)."
3. "It was murder getting to the point where I felt I h...more
When I refer to House of Meetings as a pretty book I am not referring to the subject matter, plot or style of the book. I am instead referring to the lovely way that Martin Amis can string words together to make beautiful lyrical sentences, succinct and inventive turns of phrase and amazing descriptive passages.
Now on to the plot, which is one of the oldest, about two brothers and their love (or lust) of the same woman. Set in a Russian prison, both brothers are se...more
That was a mistake - the book is a masterpiece.
A Russian slave-labourer, one of the Stakhanovites of the post war era, writes a memoir, in the form of a confessional, to his daughter in America recollecting a love triangle between the narrator, his younger brother and a beautiful woman, Zoya, who hypnotises...more
Amis regains footing
'House' is engrossing tale of an ill-fated love triangle, set in the Soviet gulag
Jenny Shank, Special to the News
Published January 26, 2007 at midnight
Martin Amis' brief, deft new novel House of Meetings, features a love triangle involving brothers who are political prisoners in the Soviet Union after World War II. Each evening as I took up the book again, I would think, "back to the gulag." It's to Amis' credit that I looked forward to...more
In 2002, Amis published a slim non-fiction volume, Koba the Dread, in which he took liberal intellectuals to task for mostly downplaying Stalin’s tyranny in comparison to Hitler’s. It’s a comparison that still weighs on Amis’ mind in his new novel.
The narrator, a Russian gulag survivor, re...more
Martin Amis has long been frustrated by the lack of outrage at the atrocities committed by the Stalinist regime, which he equates with the Third Reich. (He explored Soviet Communism in 2002's Koba the Dread.) Building on extensive research, Amis attempts to bring the era to light in this ambitious tale of one man's life, in his own words, as a representation of the suffering of millions. Most reviewers found the story engrossing, but, according to the Boston Globe, "Amis has taken on more than h...more
The story runs fast and cuts deep with little recourse to clean cut resolution or apology. Horrific tragedy and the facelessness of state power are sh...more
I do not recommend this book to those who are sensitive to violence against women. Martin's intent was clearly to show the heinousness of such violence. The protagonist is somewhat i...more
However, I find myself missing the Dostoevsky style (which the narrator dislikes) of pain-loving characters or Solzhenit...more
Nel caso di Lev e Zoya, per i quali quell'incontro coincide con la luna di miele, la casa degli incontri però ha u...more
What is it about? Who cares. Whether writing about amnesiac women, porn moguls, talentless writers, or life in a Gulag, the end product is always Martin Amis. The protagonist (a sixty-four-year-old Russian) is Martin Amis. Amis, Amis, fucking Amis.
I give up. Dude cannot write anymore. I give up, I give up, I give up. The Information is the...more
There were conjugal visits in the slave camps of the USSR. Valiant women would travel continental distances, over weeks and months, in the hope of spending a night, with their particular enemy of the people, in the House of Meetings. The consequences of these liaisons were almost invariably tragic. House of Meetings is about one such liaison. It is a triangular romance: two brothers fall in love with the same girl, a nineteen-year-old Jewess, in Moscow, which is poised for pogrom in th...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