Dead Babies
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Dead Babies

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  2,714 ratings  ·  125 reviews
If the Marquis de Sade were to crash one of P. G. Wodehouse's house parties, the chaos might resemble the nightmarishly funny goings-on in this novel by the author of London Fields. The residents of Appleseed Rectory have primed themselves both for a visit from a triad of Americans and a weekend of copious drug taking and sexual gymnastics. There's even a heifer to be slug...more
Paperback, 206 pages
Published April 3rd 1991 by Vintage (first published 1975)
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Anthony Vacca
According to Martin Amis, 25 is the age at which I set aside childish things and become a wholly wretched person. I will move into a posh house in the country with my fratish friends and our pretty but willingly vapid chicks. Like all good-looking young people, we will leech off our nebbish but rich housemate, using his seemingly endless funds to maintain a continually bacchanal existence. When we are not rolling the next joint, snorting one more line, popping open one more bottle of champagne,...more
mark monday
Amis at his most cutting and shallow. he's never been too big a fan of homo sapiens. this depiction of a weekend house party is populated by less-than sympathetic assholes who never quite reach the status of real people; it also includes a mysterious figure who visits various torments on these ridiculous little twits. do they deserve it? well, who really cares - they are basically insects at play, if such a thing could be possible. overall: pithy commentary, lots of sex & drugs & violenc...more
Shovelmonkey1
A horribly well written book populated by horrible arseholes being unspeakably horrible to each other, in and out of the bedroom and in between times being horrible to neighbours, visitors and local wild life.
Jean-marcel
The subtitle for this one is "Dark Secrets". Doesn't that sound positively scandalous? Martin Amis is kind of a strange case: on the one hand he's incredibly witty, observant and has a style that could cut steel with its keen edge, but on the other reading his books sometimes feels like a guilty pleasure because he just loves to burrow deep into the minds of his characters and bring out the filth and degradation inside. Not only that, but he seems to revel in it: to delight in the fetishistic ex...more
Clint
This is the kind of book that later gave birth to more modern dirty, cruel writers like Will Self and Tibor Fischer. Really weird, really disgusting, pure Amis.
Evan Brown
Those books.

Martin Amis is a master of debauchery, depravity and douchebaggery. Amis’ second novel, Dead Babies, is well-written, dark and hysterical at times. That being said, his novels often contain characters that though wildly entertaining, elicit little or no sympathy from the reader. Dead Babies is no exception.

Perhaps Lucy Littlejohn, the “golden-hearted whore” as we are told even before the novel starts, is sympathetic. She at least has a heart as evidenced by her staying with Keith at...more
Justin Evans
Probably 3.5 stars actually. This is hilarious black comedy, which I suspect hasn't aged all that well. It was first published in 1975, so between publication and my reading of it we've had the immoral 80s, the high conceptualist 90s, and the more-immoral-still 00's; not to mention the internet and internet porn and designer drugs... the epigraph suggests that this is meant to be satire of the present by means of speculation on the future. But since almost everything that Amis speculates about i...more
Jonfaith
A number of the blase noted recently that 2010's The Pregnant Widow is similar to Marty's earlier novel Dead Babies. This observation is grounds for drug testing in my book. Dead Babies is a veering gonzo assault on the senses. Screams from the asylum compete with boozy sadism and a taunt of the bedroom farce which Iris Murdoch was accomplishing at the time (1975). Amis even makes snort in the direction of Iris, for the sake of form, mind you. Dead babies is Houellebecq on acid. The serrated sen...more
Rachel
Sep 25, 2007 Rachel rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: evil perverts
Shelves: read-part-of, fiction
This book is so disgusting and unfunny, I could not read it.
Chris
Dead Babies is Amis' second novel which takes his unique style of the grotesque - or as it was called 'the new unpleasantness' - to the nth degree. The novel focuses on a rabble of upper class drug users that convene at a country estate for a lost weekend - cue decadence, excessiveness and a lot of humour (albeit rather puerile humour). While Amis is still growing as a writer at this stage, this work comes across as his most free in terms of style and language - something that helps push the spo...more
Brittany Kubes
The GROTESQUE! Satire can be so uncomfortable, especially when it details deformities, drugs, and sex. If you like Chuck Palahniuk, Irvine Welsh, or Marquis de Sade, all of which I do, read this book. Can’t quite figure out the significance of the motto of “dead babies,” except that it’s crass & unfeeling, a la ‘dead baby jokes’ from grade school (What's funnier than a dead baby? A dead baby in a clown costume!).

Though likely published as a comment on the hippies/hedonists of the 1970s, it i...more
Suzanne Moore
It takes a lot for me not to like a book enough to say it was ok. This book was not even that. The characters’ behavior throughout was infantile and lacked conscious. I could excuse one, maybe two characters, but the whole cast! To me, the message gained from Amis’s story should be “just say NO,” otherwise you may fall into a similar trap. It is hard for me to believe that anyone would really act so extreme or carry things to such an excess. In this setting the weekend party seems a challenge fo...more
Lia
Feb 17, 2008 Lia rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lia by: an abecedarian impulse
Shelves: contemporary, novels
Brilliant opening. This is the first I've read of Martin Amis - his cruel, precise sketches of people remind me of Henry Miller or William S. Burroughs. I have to say I enjoyed the vocabulary after a week of nothing but young adult and children's fiction. And after Man Bites Dog, the characterisation in this seems especially imaginative: The characters are characters, by which I mean fuck ups, and while in a sense they're all caricatures I found them nevertheless engaging, and all the more impr...more
Jakey Gee
Pretty awful. This is the third Amis novel I've read in ten years. The man clearly hates people. Remember Keith Talent - a really contemptuous proto-'Chavs' portrait of working class people? Well, here's Keith Whitehead, a contemptuous portrait of... short, fat people. Characters don't have to be nice, I know - but here they're hateful and flat and they just don't exist anywhere. Reading about them is corrosive. The only thing I'm grateful for is the one-liner about people, which I've since hear...more
R. Burns
On the jacket cover of another book by Amis, I read that compared him to John Updike "but meaner." I would add a "whole lot meaner" for it's hard to find a sympathetic character in Dead Babies. Instead it's a menagerie of the self-absorbed with a few con-dependents thrown in. Nearly everyone is privileged, spoiled, self-absorbed and addicted to one thing or another. The "one thing" is in most cases many drugs and/or alcohol, but there's also some serious sexual addiction at play. Which was why I...more
Jennifer Barbee
Minor Amis work, if you ask me. Having started my Amis reading with London Fields and The Rachel Papers, I am pleased that I didn't read this first. I fear if I had, I'd never have read the (far superior) others. Though this novel is scathing and even darkly comedic in parts, it also feels a little surface, and very hyperbolic. The characters seemed more like sketches than like fully-formed human beings. Drugs, sex, and violence oozing off every page, yet still, I found it remarkably tedious rea...more
Sam Thomas
I enjoyed this book while I was reading it, but now that I've finished it I can't decide if I'd recommend it to anyone else ( Given the title, I would certainly avoid reading it on a plane next to parents with a newborn child. That was awkward). It's about a group of unsympathetic sociopaths who spend a weekend at a country house and binge on alcohol, harder drugs, sex, and violence. This was the first Amis book I read and I got the sense that he is the Quentin Tarantino (who I really don't like...more
Jane Ostler
I find it very hard to review this book in any other way than to look at its moral credentials. If the school bully was to write a book it might be something like this. Starting with the title, this book "Dead Babies" asks us to consider the seamier side of life, the one well off the straight and narrow. We are slowly and meanderingly introduced to a group of people mainly living for no real purpose other than to experiment with recreational drugs and loveless sex.

"Dead babies" refers both to th...more
Sheri
So this is gonna be a shitty review and for that, dear readers I apologize. I wrote a review this afternoon and before I could hit submit, my window crashed and I lost my text. And of course, I was rushing to finish prior to leaving to pick kids up. Now, I have the chaos of kids and dinner and needing to leave for work in 45 mins (!), but I want to get this off my to-do for the day so I can embark on Spooner guilt-free later this evening.

And so, here are the highlights:
I liked it. I felt like it...more
Drew
Pretty sophomoric throughout, at times funny and/or clever, but not particularly memorable or affecting. Has mostly caricatures, rather than characters. Grotesques, actually. However, one scene near the end was actually quite excellent and memorable and funny and illuminating and utterly unlike anything else in the book, and it will no doubt stick with me for a while. Thus the four stars.
José Vicente
Grotesca y magnética al mismo tiempo....Una fantástica alegoria disfrazada de cuento lisérgico sobre la vanalización de los conceptos "hippies" del pansexualismo y el uso de las drogas como medio de expansión de las fronteras del individuo...o lo que es lo mismo lo que pasa con ideas tan atractivas como estas con el paso del tiempo y tras hacer parada y fonda en malas manos ("mentes")...Por otro lado, una buena crítica a lo innecesario de introducir el extremismo y la escatología en el ansiado c...more
Saba.m
I am still not sure about my feelings for this book. This is the first work of Martin Amis that i have read and i found it a bit weird at times. But still there were parts that had me laughing and others that had me cringing. The characters are really well drawn out but those conversations leave a little more to be desired.
Melanie
Intense, weird, freakishly good characters and a plot that doesn't stop. Everything I usually love in a book...but this one haunted me in not such a good way. Not sure I could really "recommend" it-unless the possibility of Marquis de Sade on acid at a swingers club is your idea of a good time.
Agnieszka
Overwhelming, complete, sick, scary, splendid. Everithing is perfect about this book.
Sid Badguy
Great fun! A wonderful book to read aloud to the children!
Craig Anderson
Very entertaining and disgusting. Great stuff.
Matt
Drug novels don't get any better than this.
Mattox
Pissed myself laughing!!
Jerfus
Una manera de comenzar a describir este libro es calificaro de audaz, lo cual no necesariamente quiere decir que sea una audacia digna de elogios. La fórmula seguida para este libro parece la siguiente: Incapaz de escribir una historia decente se intenta con la siguiente opción, escribir personajes decentes, lo cual bien hecho puede dar resultado, en cambio, los personajes son completamente vacíos, salvo Giles quien resulta por momentos divertido, interesante y peculiar todos los demás son tedio...more
Hans Thyssen
I didn't like any of the characters and it seemed to be written by a writer on speed himself. I know about the writer's obsession with Nabokov and therefore I don't trust any of the characters. The novel is some topsy turvy version of an Agatha Christie story. God I sometimes hated it and the next moment I was still intrigued by it. There are moments of almost real laughter as with most Martin Amis novels, but most of the time the novel is just grotesquely disturbing. The ideals of the sixties h...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...more
More about Martin Amis...
Money Time's Arrow London Fields The Rachel Papers The Information

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“By 12.30, Giles had consumed five gin-rickies, four gin-and-tonics, three gin-and-its, two gin-and-bitters, and one gin.” 1 likes
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