Lionel Asbo — a very violent but not very successful young criminal — is going about his morning duties in a London prison when he learns that he has just won £139,999,999.50 on the National Lottery. This is not necessarily good news for his ward and nephew, the orphaned Des Pepperdine, who still has reason to fear his uncle's implacable vengeance.
Savage, funny, and mysteriously poignant, is a modern fairytale from one of the world's great writers.
What happens when we discover who we really are? And how do we come to terms with it? Fearless and original, is a violently dark love story set against a backdrop of unadulterated evil, and a vivid journey into the depths and contradictions of the human soul.
An extraordinary novel that ratifies Martin Amis's standing as "a force unto himself," as "The Washington Post" has attested: "There is, quite simply, no one else like him."
"House of Meetings" is a love story, gothic in timbre and triangular in shape. In 1946, two brothers and a Jewish girl fall into alignment in pogrom-poised Moscow. The fraternal conflict then marinates in Norlag, a slave-labor camp above the Arctic Circle, where a tryst in the coveted House of Meetings will haunt all three lovers long after the brothers are released. And for the narrator, the sole survivor, the reverberations continue into the new century.
Harrowing, endlessly surprising, epic in breadth yet intensely intimate, "House of Meetings" reveals once again that "Amis is a stone-solid genius. . a dazzling star of wit and insight" ("The Wall Street Journal").
When 'dream husband' Xan Meo is vengefully assaulted in the garden of a London pub, he suffers head-injury, and personality-change. Like a spiritual convert, the familial paragon becomes an anti-husband, an anti-father. He submits to an alien moral system — one among many to be found in these pages.
We are introduced to the inverted worlds of the 'yellow' journalist, Clint Smoker; the high priest of hardmen, Joseph Andrews; the porno tycoon, Cora Susan; and Royce Traynor, the corpse in the hold of the stricken airliner, apparently determined, even in death, to bring down the plane that carries his spouse. Meanwhile, we explore the entanglements of Henry England: his incapacitated wife, Pamela; his Chinese mistress, He Zizhen; his fifteen-year-old daughter, Victoria, the victim of a filmed 'intrusion' which rivets the world — because she is the future Queen of England, and her father, Henry IX, is its King.
Genre: Science, Education
A brilliant weave of personal involvement, vivid biography and political insight, is the successor to Martin Amis’s award-winning memoir, .
The author’s father, Kingsley Amis, though later reactionary in tendency, was a “Comintern dogsbody” (as he would come to put it) from 1941 to 1956. His second-closest, and then his closest friend (after the death of the poet Philip Larkin), was Robert Conquest, our leading Sovietologist whose book of 1968, , was second only to Solzhenitsyn’s in undermining the USSR. The present memoir explores these connections.
Stalin said that the death of one person was tragic, the death of a million a mere “statistic.” , during whose course the author absorbs a particular, a familial death, is a rebuttal of Stalin’s aphorism.
In this wickedly delightful collection of stories, Martin Amis once again demonstrates why he is a modern master of the form. In “Career Move,” screenwriters struggle for their art, while poets are the darlings of Hollywood. In “Straight Fiction,” the love that dare not speak its name calls out to the hero when he encounters a forbidden object of desire—the opposite sex. And in “State of England,” Mal, a former “minder to the superstars,” discovers how to live in a country where “class and race and gender were supposedly gone.”
In , Amis astonishes us with the vast range of his talent, establishing that he is one of the most versatile and gifted writers of his generation.
MARTIN AMIS hates nuclear weapons, and he doesn't care who knows it. In fact, he wants everyone to know it. At mid-career, he has virtually ceased to be a writer of fiction-from 1974 to 1984, he published five comic novels, including the hugely successful Money-and has metamorphosed instead into a kind of anti-nuclear polemicist. Einstein's Monsters, his most recent work, is a collection of stories based on the theme of nuclear holocaust. Lest anyone think this is a chance engagement, Amis has followed up Einstein's Monsters with an article in the October Esquire railing against the insanity of American nuclear planning. The article, a rehash of the Introduction to the present volume, is most notable not for its politics but for the warning it includes to those of us waiting for the return of a depoliticized Martin Amis: "When nuclear weapons become real to you,' he tells us, "hardly an hour passes without some throb or flash, some heavy pulse of imagined super-catastrophe.' The hydrogen bomb has claimed its first English target, and it is the career of Martin Amis.
In his new role, Amis runs around like the sheriff in Jaws, as if he's the only person who knows there's a shark in town and everyone else is trying to keep the beaches open. The Esquire article gives a good sense of the fundamental cheesiness of his political thinking. The members of the Washington nuclear establishment, he says, don't mind talking about "X-ray lasers and hard-kill capabilities,' but they "go green' when the author tries to light up a cigarette. When the author interviews an attache from the Soviet embassy, on the other hand, things go differently; the two "drink a lot of coffee and smoke up a storm.' "Sergi and I got along fine,' Amis tells us. "He didn't want to kill me. I didn't want to kill him.' Amis has invented the Marlboro Peace Plan.
Einstein's Monsters is only a touch more subtle. It consists of five stories, along with both an "Author's Note' and an Introduction. In his Note, Amis vacillates upon the question of whether the stories are polemical. "If they arouse political feelings,' he tells us, "that is all to to the good,' but really, they "were written with the usual purpose in mind: that is to say, with no purpose at all-except, I suppose, to give pleasure, various kinds of complicated pleasure.'
If there is any confusion in the reader's mind, however, it is cleared up by the first story, "Bujak and the Strong Force.' Reading it, one is reminded of the experience of sitting in a college fiction workshop, the excited author right there next to you, enthusiastically explaining the intricacies of his story's symbolic order.
Bujak, the title character, is a hugely powerful Eastern European living in a bad neighborhood in London. A survivor of the Nazi occupation of Poland, he spends a great deal of time arguing with the (American) narrator over the value of revenge. The narrator is anti, Bujak is pro. Bujak polices his block, rounds up petty criminals, makes the streets safe for young ladies at night. "He was our deterrent,' the narrator says. At the end of the story, when Bujak returns to his home to find his mother, daughter, and granddaughter brutally rape-murdered, the drunken perpetrators lying asleep on the floor, we expect him to exact some terrible revenge. But he doesn't. "Why?' the narrator asks. "No court on earth would have sent you down.' (Is this how Americans speak, by the way?) "When I had their heads in my hands,' Bujak replies, "I thought how incredibly easy to grind their faces together. But no… I had no wish to add to what I found.' It's… unilateral disarmament!
Throughout Einstein's Monsters Amis the author is at war with Amis the nuclear theoretician. "Insight at Flame Lake,' for example, would have been a fine schizophrenic-breakdown story, except that Amis the theoretician felt compelled to tack on an anti-nuclear subtext. "Thinkability,' the long introduction to Einstein's Monsters, has its flashes of brilliant writing (the generations of unborn babies who would be aborted by a nuclear war are described as "queueing up in spectral relays until the end of time'), but it is marred by the same sort of simplistic reasoning that plagues the Esquire piece. Amis wants to pin all our problems on the existence of nuclear weapons. In the face of these missiles, no merely personal atrocity matters: "What vulgar outrage or moronic barbarity can compare with the black dream of nuclear exchange?' It's like asking a meter maid, "How dare you give me a ticket when there are Russian tanks illegally parked on the streets of Kabul?' But Amis the satirist knows that it takes a lot more than nuclear weaponry to explain the spiritual malaise of our century, just as Amis the writer knows (or ought to know) that there is always more than one explanation for any human phenomenon. One suspects, in fact, that Amis's opposition to the Strategic Defense Initiative is derived not from the fear of a perilous escalation in the arms race, but from a (perhaps unconscious) perception that, with nuclear weapons gone, the novelist would have to face the fact of unexcused human weakness again.