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Yellow Dog

2.76 of 5 stars 2.76  ·  rating details  ·  1,343 ratings  ·  95 reviews
Explores the complex lives of five very different men, including Xan Meo, a one-time familial paragon who suffers a personality change following a brutal assault, and King Henry IX of England, whose life is complicated by his incapacitated wife,
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 4th 2005 by Vintage (first published 2003)
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A Kaleidoscope of Colors
457th out of 799 books — 97 voters
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233rd out of 307 books — 171 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,106)
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D. Pow
Utter excretion. A pail full of vomit. Abortive, stutter-step sentences, a half-stab towards stylistic subtlety that is lame and listless. Vapid dialogue coming from lifeless characters, cardboard cut outs limping through dormant scene after scene. No over-arching world view or a sense of a moral vision tied to these drab and vacuous proceedings. The shit dabs of a dyslexic, perhaps sociopathic, monkey. He sure looks cool on his book jackets though.
Anthony Vacca
Yellow Dog gained more than its share of notoriety back in 2003 when its publication was met with a veritable assault from critics, the most renowned being from Tibor Fischer who wrote this thoroughly over-quoted quip about Amis's book: "This shit sucks...read my novel that came out on the same day instead." This is the book that you will hear the casual Amis admirers and deniers alike say must be avoided at all costs.

So it comes as no surprise that I loved the book. (In 2013 alone, I went head
...more
Manny
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

I just don't know what to say. It's like a friend has invited you around for dinner, and they put it down on the table, and somehow they don't seem to be aware that they left it too close to the cat's litter tray. One sniff is enough that you're quite certain you know what happened. What's wrong with them? Do they have a cold, which has temporarily removed their sense of smell? Is it a bizarre joke?

Well, if you thought that analogy was tasteless, it'
...more
Shane
My first Martin Amis, and I think, given his patriarchal theme, I will stick with his dad Kingsley in future.
Amis is bold - no question - dealing with subjects such as incest, gratuitious violence, rage, drug abuse, pornography, impotence, spousal rape. He even invents his own language for the character k8 (Kate) which is witty after you figure it out.He enters the world of porn with terms like Blackeye, Cockout, Redface, Boxback, Yellow tongue, Facial - some explained, others left to our imagin
...more
Tim
Why does the positively brilliant Martin Amis create such a furore (which began in 1995 with the publication of "The Information"? I copied this out of the Times about "Yellow Dog":

'' 'Yellow Dog' isn't bad as in not very good or slightly disappointing,'' Mr. [Tibor] Fischer wrote. ''It's not-knowing-where-to-look bad.'' Shimmering with fury at what he portrayed as betrayal by a literary hero he once idolized to the point of memorizing passages from his work, Mr. Fischer added that reading the b
...more
Bob
After Ian McEwan spent a year shadowing a brain surgeon while writing his rather Amis-like Saturday, Martin must have felt the bar was raised a bit and confesses in the afterword to doing "some light research" for this one (presumably something beyond the customary darts at the public house).
The research was on recovering from head injuries and what actually happens in the cockpit when a plane is in danger of crashing - both also quite congruent with Saturday. The medical angle allows Amis a li
...more
David
I really love a lot of Martin Amis' work. But sometimes, even your favorite authors will fall asleep with their head on the keyboard. Some editor will then turn all of that gibberish into real words. Not neccesarily words that belong together or anything, but there will be words. This book has words. I think. And an airplane.
The Super Moop
How does it come to be that a book which starts off being as gripping as they come can wind up fizzling out in an self-satisfied ramble that leaves you demanding the last two days of your life back?

I'd studiously avoided M.Amis through uni and beyond, on the strength of a not unjustifiable prejudice sparked and fuelled by a pompous Eng Lit type who used to carry on about Time's Arrow and how clever it was because it ran backwards, which had struck me at the time as being exactly the sort of tech
...more
Ron
Yellow Dog begins with great promise and Amis seems to be in top form with his use of language and a very interesting plot structure, but it all falls apart in the second act. The story promises to be about Xan Meo and a head injury he suffers, but instead turns into a meditation on and critique of violence, gangsterism, pornography and the subtle changes currently going on in the relationship between the genders. While that critique is welcome and has validity, Amis rarely dazzles us with great ...more
Molly
I haven't thought about this book in a long time. But now and then, some images & dialogues in it haunt me. This happened this weekend, so I thought it worth a short note/review. Much of the writing is brilliant -- so perhaps it deserves a higher rating for style & language. But I didn't like this book at all, and yet felt compelled to read the whole damn thing. And now it continues to appear in my waking life, and who knows, maybe my dream life too. Vivid & grotesque, troubling, off ...more
Craig
Reminds me of his father's work, not in style or subject matter, but in audacity and brilliance of prose. Three quarters of the way into this book I'd've written that it was the best thing--not written by his father or Evelyn Waugh--that I've read in the last few years. The ending--endings are hard, Elmore Leonard told me that personally-- fell down enough so that I an't honestly say that. But still a very funny, rude, book about the obscenifaction of western culture.
William1
I could not stay with this one. I found the comedy much too broad for my taste, and the idiom too cryptically British. And I am one of Amis's most devoted readers, too. I love Money and London Fields. I wish I could say why the britishisms in those novels did not prove as off-putting as the ones here. Oh well, I will give it another shake someday. Let me also cast a vote here for House of Meetings. Quite wonderful.
Bas v/d Bogaard
This book tries to be a black comedy but it fails. If fails because the terrible things that happen to the main characters are only funny if you have no sympathy for them at all.

However, all characters are at least somewhat likeable, even if you're glad you never have to meet them in real life.

What remains is a book that hovers on the brink of slapstick. It is my opinion that you are probably better off reading another book.
Taylor Bright
In reviewing his friend's book, Yellow Dog, Tibor Fischer said, “The way British publishing works is you go from not being published no matter how good you are, to being published no matter how bad you are."

I'll leave it at that.
Bayloralyosha
Apr 14, 2011 Bayloralyosha rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one.
If not the worst book I've ever read, certainly in the top ten. I could find no redeeming quality about the book. I wish there was a "absolutely hated it" button instead of just a "didn't like it."
Gisela
The amount of time it took me to finish this novel says enough.
John Yeoman
What can be said, except that the book is unreadable and its author a pretentious ass? I have tried - very sincerely - to like Amis's novels but have always flung them hard at the wall. Amis simply cannot write. He is incompetent, a poseur, a charlatan. He lacks craft skills. I'm not surprised that, in a recent interview in The Times, he confessed that he now found his early novels unreadable. Candid readers, their minds unwarped by the Emperor's clothes syndrome, have been thinking that for 30 ...more
Philipc
This book is rather famous - it attracted one of the most vitriolic reviews in recent British literary history. Luckily I read the book before I read the review.

Yellow Dog follows Xan Meo on his journey from exemplary husband to brain injury victim (via an apparently unprovoked and unmotivated assault) through porn, child molestation (not really) and pure evil in the person of a nasty but thoroughly realistic London crim, back to where he began.

On the way we get to meet the royal family, a sleaz
...more
Dan
I remember working in Blackwell's when this book first came out, seeing the distinctive jacket amongst the new books but not knowing who Amis was at the time - or his literary stature, to be more precise. Having read three of his other books first, I came to this one with full knowledge of the damning reviews, particularly that of Tibor Fischer who declared it "not-knowing-where-to-look bad"; but as an already firm admirer of Amis' writing, I decided to give it a go anyway.

"Yellow Dog" is certai
...more
Patrick McCoy
I have to admit I was a bit leery about whether I’d like Yellow Dog by Martin Amis or not, since I haven’t been impressed with any of his fiction since London Fields. (Time’s Arrow structurally was interesting, but he holocaust has been so overdone really/ The Information-in terminal and really not all that engaging, a bit of navel gazing novel since it’s bout two writers/ Night Train-dreadful American pulp fiction, which shows that you should really stick to what you know). That being said, it ...more
Jenny
When I started reading Yellow Dog you wouldn't have been able to prise the book from my cold, dead hands. Martin Amis on form is like nothing else, and the first few chapters of Yellow Dog, which open with Xan Meo (shades of the author?)'s brain injury, would merit 5 stars. A second plot line which satirises gutter journalism has real moments of greatness, balanced out by some complete dirge (Amis's own version of txt spk? No thank you). As we get onto threads 3+ his writing gets lazier and the ...more
Lucian McMahon
That was...disappointing. Some gem sentences that make you look up and whisper "oh, shit" but also a lot of garbage. It reads like Amis's publisher kept pestering him to write a new novel so he took the tropes of London Fields and beat them into a bloody pulp and scribbled off a quick draft and sent it to the presses as is.
Chay Allen
I know this is one of his first "poor" novels. But as a first foray into Amis (perverse you might think) I found it an incredibly funny read. Maybe a bit two dimensional, but it worked as a very light read.
Jer McS
I read and read and read, disliking virtually every sentence on every page, not to mention the pointless plot and supposed characters.
Not a masochist, I eventually said "Enough."
Olivia
When you are reading this you are highly confused and remain so long after you have finished. That is not to say that the process of reading is not an enjoyable one. I find Amis to be very much a style over substance writer, but do not mean this in a negative way. It is easy to engage with each of the four stories, their characters and the imagery have a way of drawing you in even when you have no idea what is going on. However, I find it difficult to establish how much I like the book as I was ...more
James
Meh, put-downable repeatedly. This will be going to charity shop. May have to leave it outside the door overnight so they can't refuse to take it. Shame.
Paul
The first half of this book is quite good but then it gets a bit Bret Easton-Ellis and falls apart. Disappointing but entertaining in parts.
Dana
One of the better Amis novels IMHO. Extra points for his comprehensive analysis of porn. Takes balls.
Meglet
Weird. Uncomfortable weird. Strange weird. Weird weird. Not topics I like to read about. Essentially about the victim of a criminally inflicted head injury. I did a background check on the book after I read it and came across the infamously damming review by Tibor Fischer. Whilst the topics were uncomfortable, there were some genuine laugh out loud moments and I really appreciated the style and language. Some parts of the plot structure seemed redundant, i couldn't figure out what the plane to d ...more
Yolande
I abandoned this book. Tried too hard to be clever at the expense of the narrative. Looking at other reviews here, it seems I chose the wrong book as my first Martin Amis.
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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
...more
More about Martin Amis...
Money Time's Arrow London Fields The Rachel Papers The Information

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“If you can fight, you don’t have to fight. And you don’t have to cower. And girls like that, whatever they say.” 1 likes
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