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The Information

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  5,283 ratings  ·  282 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. T ...more
Hardcover, 374 pages
Published April 25th 1995 by Harmony (first published 1995)
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3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,283 ratings  ·  282 reviews

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Glenn Russell
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books

I distinctly recall reading The Information when first published back in 1995 – it was like being dragged through the rough street of London, forced to breathe secondhand tobacco smoke and smell the stale liquor breath of the novel’s main character, forty-year-old book reviewer and greatest novelist in the world wannabe Richard Tull. Also featured are a motley crew of other literary types and British lowlife at its lowest, a police lineup of mates and thugs taking street names such as Scozzy, Cr
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
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...

The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location cannot be given for Goodrea
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  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
W.D. Clarke
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read, favourites
I know that this is one of the most polarizing books from a very polarizing author, but it is one of my touchstones, and I consider it severely underrated. I first read it when it came out in '95, and it has stuck with me ever since. Re-reading it now, it has lost none of its power: on every single page there are at least five sentences that make me catch my breath. If you dislike the trope of hyperbole (Amis' chief weapon in his war on the cliches that our lives have turned into), look elsewher ...more
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: attuali
Quasi quattro stelle, ma non complete.
Volevo leggere un libro di Martin Amis, e, fidandomi dei consigli degli amici di libri ho iniziato da questo. Non volevo correre il rischio di partire da un libro sbagliato, visto gli altalenanti commenti che ritrovavo ovunque.
Dopo l’incipit fulminante ho faticato un po’ a prendere il ritmo: due compagni di camera all’università, amici per la pelle, sognano di diventare scrittori. Entrambi proveranno a scrivere romanzi, ma uno solo dei due, quello più scaden
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vil Coyote, Beep Beep e il giardino Merdadicane
Martin Amis racconta due tipi umani contrapposti, Gwyn il semplice al quale arride fortuna e successo e l’intellettuale Richard che annichila le sue doti in tormenti autoindotti. La verosimiglianza della rappresentazione al vetriolo è aumentata dal fatto che si tratta di scrittori. Sono due ex studenti e compagni di stanza che non si amano ma non sembrano capaci di separarsi: si dedicano entrambi alla scrittura, vanno al pub con le donne, giocano a
Kaung Myat Han
Sep 30, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
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
Apr 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk
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,
Jul 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2006
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
No stars as not completed.

Head most definitely not in the right place for this at the moment. Exceptionally well written but (at times) tedious in the extreme and I found my own thoughts (on other matters) becoming equally tedious. (Possibly the mark of outstanding technique...?)

Will make my return before the year is out....
Apr 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Martin Amis's novel, The Information, is about the malevolent affection that binds two Oxford chums, one a successful writer who doesn't deserve success and the other an unsuccessful writer who deserves his failure. So Richard (failed) goes to great lengths to mess with Gwyn (successful) and does more to upset his own world than he does Gwyn's.

Most of the novel takes place in London and features one of Amis's favorite devices--the upstairs/downstairs narratives involving thugs Richard hires to g
Mar 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 22, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Kasa Cotugno
Although I read this book almost 20 years ago, I remember it as being my favorite by Amis, truly laugh out loud hilarious.
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
He awoke at six, as usual. He needed no alarm clock. He was already comprehensively alarmed. (c)
Mar 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  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
Jan 15, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  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
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
G.R. Reader
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sara Mazzoni
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
“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
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.
Feb 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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
Brent Legault
Oct 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: red giants, yellow dwarves
Shelves: lovingly-reread
I wanted to quote something here, some line of particular wit or genius, but once I started that I wouldn't know where I'd be able to quit. One quote or quip would naturally lead to another and then another and before I could stop myself I'd be plagiarizing (kidnapping, seducing) the entire novel (not that it would fit in this cramped rectangle); every sentence, laid down in different order. Of course, it would still be bloody genius.
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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 reco
“He awoke at six, as usual. He needed no alarm clock. He was already comprehensively alarmed.” 69 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.” 37 likes
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