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Time's Arrow by Martin Amis
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M_50x66
's review
Mar 20, 08

Read in March, 2008

The premise of this book is well-recorded in earlier reviews: We start with the death of a doctor named Tod Friendly, and then move backwards through his life (much life hitting the Rewind button on a VCR while the tape was still playing). In reverse, the doctors take healthy patients and leave them sick and injured, while love affairs begin with arguments and end with shy flirtation. The key here is the defining period of Tod's life, towards which we are carried, our suspicions growing along the way. To me, though, the strongest parts are the minor details. For instance, Tod appreciates the game of chess, the point of which seems to be to take widely scattered figures and gradually arrange them all in neat rows, and to do so no faster or slower than the person sitting across from you. The constant rewind does create a sort of seasickness at times, most notably in the (mercifully few) pieces of dialogue, which force the reader to rearrange how the lines follow each other as you read. In less capable hands, this could have been a pointless grad school writing exercise, but Amis manages to give it a point, and an air of literary credibility.
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message 1: by Joy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joy Wells I agree with you that the genius is in the details.


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