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The Information

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  3,977 ratings  ·  216 reviews
Fame, envy, lust, violence, intrigues literary and criminal--they're all here in The Information. How does one writer hurt another writer? This is the question novelist Richard Tull mills over, for his friend Gwyn Barry has become a darling of book buyers, award committees, and TV interviewers, even as Tull himself sinks deeper into the sub-basement of literary failure. Th ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 494 pages
Published 1995 by Flamingo
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The great thing about Goodreads is that it lets all us bibliophiles share our common love of books. It's so wonderful to meet someone else who's appreciated the book the same way as you have. You thought you were the only person in the world who'd seen it that way, and now there are two of you. And they even gave you a new angle on that character, and recommended a similar book that you didn't know existed...

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I need to force myself to take a break from Martin Amis. I'm pretty sure I've never felt so thoroughly repelled by yet drawn to a man I haven't slept with. This creepily eroticized, one-way relationship with a writer (especially one with such an uncomplicatedly obnoxious public persona) is embarrassing, and I shouldn't feed into it. I also probably shouldn't broadcast it on the Internet, but what can I do? Is this a common response to this particular author? Based on talks with a few people, I t ...more
Aug 30, 2014 Brian rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brian by: Anthony Vacca
As a species we are daily bombarded – assaulted, really – by data. An amorphous amalgamation of facts, bon-mots, “things of interest”, learnings: these events are provided in an unending stream of noise, provided to us regardless of whether we’ve invited this data or no. Along this continuum of static our brains run a filter program to winnow nuggets of relevance to our beings and discard the rest. This is The Information. This is what Martin Amis shows us, in lurid satire, that try as we might, ...more
MJ Nicholls
Original Review:

This scathing and outrageously eloquent satire on literary envy is clearly Mr. Amis’s magnum opus. Amis probes with excruciating minutiae every nook and cranny of the writer’s psyche, leaving no area of the literary life unflamed with his blowtorch of masterful prose, hilarious wit, and Nabokovian wordplay. Even when Amis “does the proles” his writing is still at its mesmerising peak. This is a book writers everywhere will adore: hopefully blasting a few scribes from their ego-cl
October 18, 2006

Martin Amis
c/oJonathan Cape Ltd
Random House UK Ltd
20 Vauxhall Bridge Road
London SW1V 2SA

Dear Mr. Amis,

I had the pleasure of reading The Information this past August while living in a motel room in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh. Reading, and wandering the parking lot of Star City, an abandoned movie theater, were my sole diversions while waiting for a replacement windshield wiper to arrive at the local auto parts store. Your book was a sanity-saver a
You really have to go back to Nabokov to find writing this exuberant:

Richard sat in Coach. His seat was non-aisle, non-window and above all non-smoking. It was also non-wide and non-comfortable. Hundreds of yards and hundreds of passengers away, Gywn Barry, practically horizontal on his crimson barge, shod in prestige stockings and celebrity slippers, assenting with a smile to the coaxing refills of Alpine creekwater and saguinary burgundy with which his various hostesses strove to enhance his c
Ho iniziato la lettura di questo libro con grandi aspettative, viste le recensioni entusiastiche. In particolare l’incipit mi ha folgorato:

"Le città di notte contengono uomini che piangono nel sonno, poi dicono Niente. Non è niente. Solo un sogno triste. O qualcosa del genere… Passa rasente la nave del pianto, con i radar dlle lacrime e le sonde dei singhiozzi, e li scoprirai. Le donne – e possono essere amanti, muse macilente, pingui nutrici, ossessioni, divoratrici, ex, nemesi – si svegliano,
Kaung Myat Han
What a let down! Painful, it's just painful to read. I hugely liked his other book, "The Rachel Papers" but this one "The Information" seems to have no plot, none at all and Martin Amis seemed to be trying to amuse himself by writing such extraordinarily arranged and crafted passages of English vocabulary and words. I must admit he writes beautifully. But there needs to be a plot! Otherwise, it's just plain boring. Books, unlike movies, take up a lot of your time and time is a commodity that peo ...more
The Information is a really good book that I can picture myself liking a lot better under different circumstances. Like, say, if it had been the first (Martin) Amis book I'd read.

Amis does a good job describing a lot of the stuff that's arguably wrong with the sort of fiction that tends to become wildly successful these days. And, helpfully, he does an even better job of self-deprecatingly describing "real" "literary" fiction--the sort of fiction that strives to be difficult, the sort that Franz
Sep 26, 2009 El rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to El by: Clovis brought it home.
Writers, apparently, are a curmudgeonly and vindictive lot. Richard Tull is the protagonist of Amis's 1995 novel, a once-promising hot new writer. But the real success story lies in his former roommate, Gwyn Barry, who has written a phenomenal novel. Tull, reduced to writing book reviews, is obsessed with his previous friend's success and can hardly understand it. This obsession leads Tull to try and bring Gwyn down, going about it in quite some impressive ways.

Amis is one of those writers I lov
May 15, 2011 Lobstergirl rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Rahm Emanuel
Shelves: own, fiction
The first half of this was a slog. Things began to remind me of Ian McEwen's Saturday, which I loathed, and which also post-dates The Information, of course. Did McEwen borrow a bunch of ideas from The Information? Both books share low-class thugs bursting with violent impulses, games involving rackets played by friends/rivals, and end with a thug terrorizing the protagonist's family.

Frankly this was a 1 or 2 star book for me, until we departed for the book tour in America. Maybe Amis should co
Mar 19, 2010 Trane rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dark clever hipsters with well-trimmed facial hair
Shelves: fiction
This is one of the darkest, most consistently funny novels that I've read for a long time, but there's something about it that just doesn't ultimately all add up for me. On the plus side, you've got Amis's exuberantly baroque writing style, bloated full of alarming and disarming wit that's always as entertaining as it is clever. There's also Amis's absolutely cutting satire of the cult of the celebrity writer, and an equally damning take on the self-important seriousness of co-protagonist Richar ...more
G.R. Reader
I must have asked Martin a dozen times what real novel Untitled is inspired by. He gave me that usual composite crap - who does he think he is, Marcel Proust? - but one night I got him drunk on absinthe and he finally spilled the beans.

Well! It's always the least likely candidate, and I promised not to tell, and it's probably actionable too. But every time I see it on someone's shelf, I can't stop myself from grinning like an idiot.
Carmen Daza Márquez
Llevo años renegando de Martin Amis como novelista, pero después de leer "Yellow Dog" y esta novela he tenido que cambiar de opinión. Cuando el señor Amis jr. deja a un lado el postureo y se implica de verdad con lo que escribe, el resultado es demoledor. Como sátira es inigualable, creo que no voy a olvidar nunca esa imagen de una novela postmoderna tan difícil y complicada que provoca problemas cerebrales a todo el que lee cuatro o cinco páginas de la misma. Pero lo mejor es la profunda verdad ...more
A great and greatly flawed book. Every sentence is written to perfection and beyond, Amis constantly challenges, delights, and exasperates the reader with his downbeat wit and intermittent bolts of insight and astrophysical philosophy. Five stars, six stars, a starry galaxy to Amis's intellectual and creative commitment, to his gutty persistence, to his never letting a sentence or a thought fade away without coming to a satisfying or at least unchallengable conclusion. Kudos. Martin Amis rules. ...more
Mar 24, 2008 Stacey rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stacey by: Mark
This is one of Mark's favourite books, so i thought i would give it a try. Almost three months of trying to get into it (it has a very stylized prose and be prepared to have at the ready; Amis's use of an extensive vocabulary is fantastic) i finally got through it in about 3 days.

It's mean, the characters aren't just flawed- they're downright unlikeable-, and it's pretty damn funny. But be careful, because if you don't have a VERY dark sense of humor (or you can't appreciate a da
I truly cannot remember the last time I was so disappointed by a novel. This was my second time reading Martin Amis, the first being London Fields. From that novel, I was left with the impression that though all of the characters are loathsome, the plot would all come together in a clever way at the end. So I slogged through almost four hundred pages dominated by descriptions of how unattractively the main character is aging, as well as his sexual failures. I trusted Amis to bring all this miser ...more
Hallowed be thy Amis. The Information is a Great work; a tremendous meditation on mortality, brim with panache, acidic wit, and lyrical exuberance; at once cynical, cruel, pathetic, ruminative; our protagonist (and yes, he is our protagonist) Richard Tull recalls Nietzsche's man of ressentiment, but is chiefly a midlife gentry unable to cope with his level of success vis-à-vis his "maggot-brained" rival Gwyn; unable to cope with his impotence, his addictions, his ugliness, his incongruity with h ...more
I have tried several times to read this. I've never managed to read every word of it. And each time I pick it up, I think 'This must be better than I remember it'. It never is. Style over substance. Maybe this latest skirmish will teach me not to be fooled into picking this up again.
Michael Shilling
The Amis book with an ending. Really funny and well-plotted and exuberantly languaged like Nabokov. So many American writers (the ones I know) over-value a simple style, are afraid of fat, passionate, in-your-face baroque. This is a good entray into that style.
Ashish Chakravarty
Amis is a master of style. Every sentence sparkles with wit, and the urge to go back and reread whole sections, is great. That said, the wafer thin plot about a writer, green with envy at the literary success of a close friend, who allegedly cannot 'write for toffee', makes for a rather slow read.

What works for me is Amis' virtuoso performance with words, and his assured ease at doing aerobatics with the language. I don't know of too many writers who can spin such a tale with so little yarn. Th
Martin Amis is a wizard. As an observer and a chronicler of human conditions - the conditions in which they find and put themselves - I have not read much better. He is cynical, masochistic, but ultimately a truth-teller. Consider a passage from this edition, from Richard Tull, his narrator: "Americans were martyrs to the motors; autos were their autos-da-fe. Never mind what cars have in store for us globally, biospherically; cars - our cars - hate us and humiliate us, at every turn, they humili ...more
Have you ever read a book that you WISH one single person you knew could appreciate the same way you do? Loved a book so much that you wanted to climb into bed with said book and other people, simultaneously reading it, knowing that the act of doing so might be better than other things you could be doing in bed? Well, THAT is how much I love this book.
Before I go any further, let me explain that this book is brilliant and bad. It is perhaps shite, even. Brilliant, delicious, experimental shite.
Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
la fortuna può anche essere cieca, ma la sfiga ha il tuo indirizzo di casa

Richard è uno sfigato, senza speranza e pure invidioso, di quell'invidia biliosa che gli impedisce di fregarsene, così semplicemente
Gwyn è uno che si è giocato in una sola vita tutta la fortuna cosmica di intere generazioni, senza per questo riuscire a giustificare la sua esistenza sul pianeta
nessuno dei due è particolarmente simpatico, ma Amis riesce a farci appassionare alle loro vicende di competizione e odio secolare
Aug 02, 2007 Mel rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
After reading "Time's Arrow", I thought I would surely enjoy other Martin Amis books. Man, was I wrong!

This story has a less than successful writer out to sabatoge the carreer of his very successful fellow writer/friend. I didn't make it even half way through, but felt I was reading a work of some one either insane or a genius. The story is jumping between two story lines - the day to day life of the main character, Richard, and his plans to destroy Gwyn, and the day to day life of some crimina
k e
The book contains some truly inspired writing however to find it one must navigate some rather pretentious writing. Why do authors feel that if they make heady use of their thesaurus they are then writing "literature?" In my opinion all it does is interrupt the flow of the story and can be perplexing as sometimes the word usage makes no sense at all. While the story of a personal and professional rivalry between two friend/authors was well fleshed out the ending seemed a bit hurried and abrupt. ...more
Russell Bittner
“…(F)anatically difficult modern prose wasn’t her thing” (p. 87)

Nor mine – I don’t mind saying for the record, right up front, here and now (and before you waste another second on this review if “fanatically difficult modern prose” is, in fact, your thing.

I’m clearly behind the times on what constitutes “literature” these days – and I’ll be the first to admit it. I suppose The Information is just another example of what’s called “postmodern.” If so, I hope it’s the last I stumble upon. Or into
On the surface I love the premise, we all hate our successful mates for what they lucked into, not them, but their fortune. Richard broods and never comes to terms with it. "the journey from Narcissus to Philoctetes" (p. 145), the Greek warrior whose wound would not heal, is what he claims. His own creative essense is not appreciated or understood. Richard is humiliated completely with the loss of his potency but manages to maintain his family status by allowing his wife her freedom. Numerous ti ...more
“Questa è una biografia letteraria, in un certo senso”: sono le parole con cui Richard Tull descrive il proprio ennesimo romanzo astruso e fallimentare. Anche L’informazione è – in un certo senso – la biografia letteraria che racconta l’impossibile gratificazione artistica del suo protagonista, frustrato dall’insuccesso fino all’annichilimento. Richard sbarca il lunario scrivendo recensioni (di biografie letterarie, tomi polverosi tutti identici tra loro) e facendo penare l’ormai esausta moglie ...more
Re-read for possibly the fourth time over ten years. I have yet to read a greater book about the literary mid-life crisis - although I appreciate that quantatively, that's rather a small genre. Also shows that Amis is much underrated as a humourist. On the downside, the book does have some basic realism problems when it comes to the success and fame enjoyed by its protagonist's bete noir. There were also bits of prosedy in there I recognised from the output of the author's dad.
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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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“He awoke at six, as usual. He needed no alarm clock. He was already comprehensively alarmed.” 53 likes
“Cities at night, I feel, contain men who cry in their sleep and then say Nothing. It's nothing. Just sad dreams. Or something like that...Swing low in your weep ship, with your tear scans and sob probes, and you would mark them. Women--and they can be wives, lovers, gaunt muses, fat nurses, obsessions, devourers, exes, nemeses--will wake and turn to these men and ask, with female need-to-know, "What is it?" And the men will say, "Nothing. No it isn't anything really. Just sad dreams.” 35 likes
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