Steve's Reviews > Time's Arrow: or, The Nature of the Offence

Time's Arrow by Martin Amis
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's review
Apr 01, 2011

it was ok
Read in January, 1992

A novel with an innovative idea which falters at times in its execution. The concept concerns the life of a man. This life is presented to us by a conscious element of the man which sees the life in reverse. We begin the novel by finding the man has bad dreams which appear to presage something in the "future." We eventually find that these dreams are a result of the man having spent his young manhood as a concentration camp doctor. The conscience, of course, does not understand the horror of these dreams, because when the man's life reverses to the time of the camps, it seems that the man is creating life from ovens and ashes. The book is full of clever images, such as a crow "crashing" into the air from the ground, and romantic movies in which the couples get along at first and then argue and go their separate ways. The problems in the novel arise because Amis rightfully does not want to reveal too much of the man's "past" at once, so his foreshadowing is a bit vague at times and inneffective. A highly origional premise, and cleverly carried out in many places, but incomplete.

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