Jonathan's Reviews > London Fields

London Fields by Martin Amis
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it was ok
Recommended for: Misanthropes

This incoherent tale oozes malignant intent and world weary cynicism. None of the main characters have any positive traits whatsoever. They are variously weak, selfish, greedy, naive, manipulative and violent. The story is punctuated by the self-conscious musings of a narrator who is both seperate from, and part of, the story. These interruptions become grating after a while and are superflous to the narrative.

Amis's representation of Keith Talent serves as a crude representation of the tabloid reading, darts playing, wife beating, working class male. Nicola Six, the book's anti-heroine, is scheming, femme fatale who curiously has no sense of self worth or any ounce of compassion. Apparently she embraces the prospect of her own death, as from the outset the reader is told that she is a willing "murderee". Not only does she have no self worth she only seems to serve purpose when sexually manipulating the male characters and apparently desires her own violent demise. Guy Clinch, the other central character in the book is lampooned throughout for his naive and incredulous pandering to Nicola's lies and deceptions. The virtues of trust, compassion and affection are in his case a fatal flaw and sign of weakness and gullibility.

The key question which drives the plot forward and which the whole book hinges on, with Amis taking over 400 pages to actually address, is who is Nicola's murderer? Unable to deliver a twist which has impact he opts instead for an obscure and incoherent conclusion, which is both unsatisfying and denies the text any sort of finality.

Ultimately, this book ambles along inconclusively for far too long. The occassional bright or well crafted passage can illuminate but more often than not this book is drawn out, dull and lacking any real sense of purpose.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 25, 2008 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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Jesse I was wondering what you thought about the deliberateness of the writing? I'm interested to see if you think the incoherancy at the end was representative (as previously the book was so concrete as to sometimes drive me batty) or do you think that it has little to do with meaning and more to do with "running out of steam"?


Jonathan Jesse wrote: "I was wondering what you thought about the deliberateness of the writing? I'm interested to see if you think the incoherancy at the end was representative (as previously the book was so concrete as..."

To me it felt like he had run out of steam and was unable to bring the book to any sort of satisfying end.


Murray Braun Wish I had read your review before embarking on this frustrating journey of a book. Perhaps I don't like British or Amis' writing, but found the prose much too wordy and repetititive. As an American reader I'd have preferred less Britishisms. Won't read Martin Amis again.


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