Allycks's Reviews > Time’s Arrow

Time’s Arrow by Martin Amis
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's review
May 11, 2011

it was amazing

Normally when I sense that a writer is going to pull a stunt with the entire conceit of his or her novel, I end up with a slow disdainful Billy Idol-style grimace developing on my face before thudding against the glass ceiling of disgust and shutting the book for good.

Don't do it, Martin. You don't have to dazzle us with a technical feat like this. You're too good for that. And it's called "trying too hard..."

Still, Martin must've been kicking around novel ideas when, probably a little buzzed, gazing at the sunset during a vacation in Portugal or Maiorca, he must've thought: "Hey, I can write anything I want... Isn't it my DUTY to push the limits of fiction? I mean, I could even try to write a freaking book about a Nazi war criminal BACKWARDS!!!"

Sure, go for it, Martin. Then burn the manuscript after twenty pages because it's going to suck, it's gonna be just you showing off your crafty technical brilliance and we're all going to end up feeling seasick, singing White Wedding.

But he went for it (there had to be many moments when he thought "this isn't working") and sure enough, not only does he dazzle with the brilliance of the technical high-wire act, he makes damn thing work.

Amis makes the time-moving-backward conceit neccessary. You understand the development of the character in a way that would be, obviously, impossible by any other means. The character opens up in reverse.

Not only does it work, it ends up breaking your fucking heart.
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02/03 marked as: read

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