If the Marquis de Sade were to crash one of P. G. Wodehouse's house parties, the chaos might resemble the nightmarishly funny goings-on in this novel by the author of London Fields. The residents of Appleseed Rectory have primed themselves both for a visit from a triad of Americans and a weekend of copious drug taking and sexual gymnastics. There's even a heifer to be slugged and a pair of doddering tenants to be ingeniously harassed. But none of these variously bright and dull young things has counted on the intrusion of "dead babies" -- dreary spasms of reality. Or on the uninvited presence of a mysterious prankster named Johnny, whose sinister idea of fun makes theirs look like a game of backgammon.From the Trade Paperback edition.
A collection of stories about a frightening world inhabited by people dehumanized by the daily threat of nuclear war and postwar survivors deformed by its results.
Martin Amis is one of the most gifted and innovative writers of our time. With Experience, he discloses a private life every bit as unique and fascinating as his bestselling novels. He explores his relationship with his beloved father, novelist Kingsley Amis, and examines the life and legacy of his cousin, Lucy Partington, who was abducted and murdered by one of Britain's most notorious serial killers. Experience also dissects the literary scene, and includes Amis'portraits of Saul Bellow, Salman Rushdie, Allan Bloom, Philip Larkin, Robert Graves, and Ian McEwan, among others. Not since Nabokov's Speak, Memory has such an implausible life been recorded by such an inimitable talent.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Martin Amis is one of the most gifted and innovative writers of our time. With Experience, he discloses a private life every bit as unique and fascinating as his bestselling novels. The son of the great comic novelist Kingsley Amis, Martin Amis explores his relationship with this father and writes about the various crises of Kingsley's life. He also examines the life and legacy of his cousin, Lucy Partington, who was abducted and murdered by one of Britain's most notorious serial killers. Experience also deconstructs the changing literary scene, including Amis' portraits of Saul Bellow, Salman Rushdie, Allan Bloom, Philip Larkin, and Robert Graves, among others. Not since Nabokov's Speak, Memory has such an implausible life been recorded by such an inimitable talent. Profound, witty, and ruthlessly honest, Experience is a literary event.
Martin Amis's short stories make his novels look prim. They are also more frankly satirical. Whole words are created - or inverted. In 'Straight Fiction', everyone is gay (apart from the beleaguered 'straight' community); in 'Career Moves', screenplay writers submit their works to little magazines, while poets are flown first-class to Los Angeles; in 'The Janitor on Mars', a sardonic robot gives us some strange news about life in the solar system. Largely absent in the novels, the middle classes get a showing in 'Let Me Count the Times', where a man has had a mad affair with himself. 'Heavy Water', portrays the exhaustion of working-class culture, 'State of England' its weird resuscitation. And in 'The Coincidence of the Arts' an English baronet becomes entangled with an African-American chess hustler. The earliest story, 'Denton's Death', was first published in 1975, but the bulk of the collection can be firmly labelled 'most recent work'.
A haunting new novel that ratifies Martin Amis's standing as "a force unto himself," as theWashington Posthas attested: "There is simply no one else like him. " In the slave labour camps of the Soviet Union, conjugal visits were a common occurrence. Valiant women would travel vast distances, over weeks and months, in the hope of spending just one night with their lovers in the so-called House of Meetings. Unsurprisingly, the results of these visits were almost invariably tragic. Martin Amis's new novel,The House of Meetings, is about one such visit; it is a love story, gothic in timbre and triangular in shape. Two brothers fall in love with the same woman, a nineteen-year-old Jewish girl, in 1946 Moscow, a city poised for pogrom in the gap between war and the death of Stalin. The brothers are arrested, and their fraternal conflict then marinates over the course of a decade in a slave labour camp above the Arctic Circle. The destinies of all three lovers remain unresolved until 1982; but for the sole survivor, the reverberations continue into the next century. A short novel of great depth and richness,The House of Meetingsfinds Martin Amis at the height of his powers, in new and remarkably fertile fictional territory. From the Hardcover edition.
When Richard Tull, frustrated, failed novelist invited to tour America with this oldest friend, internationally bestselling novelist Gwyn Barry, to record the event, his envy and humiliation are complete. He sets out to gather the information that will destroy his best friend and pull his career down around his ears. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the, both men are being watched by a psychopathic ex-con and a young thug who have staked out their homes--watching their wives, watching Richard's small boys, the twins--waiting until the time is right...From the Hardcover edition.
A brilliant weave of personal involvement, vivid biography and political insight, Koba the Dread is the successor to Martin Amis's award-winning memoir, Experience. Koba the Dread captures the appeal of one of the most powerful belief systems of the 20th century -- one that spread through the world, both captivating it and staining it red. It addresses itself to the central lacuna of 20th-century thought: the indulgence of Communism by the intellectuals of the West. In between the personal beginnings and the personal ending, Amis gives us perhaps the best one-hundred pages ever written about Stalin: Koba the Dread, Iosif the Terrible. 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, The Great Terror, was second only to Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago 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. " Koba the Dread, during whose course the author absorbs a particular, a familial death, is a rebuttal of Stalin's aphorism. From the Hardcover edition.
A savage, funny, and mysteriously poignant saga by a renowned author at the height of his powers. Lionel Asbo, a terrifying yet weirdly loyal thug (self-named after England's notorious Anti-Social Behaviour Order), has always looked out for his ward and nephew, the orphaned Desmond Pepperdine. He provides him with fatherly career advice (always carry a knife, for example) and is determined they should share the joys of pit bulls (fed with lots of Tabasco sauce), Internet porn, and all manner of more serious criminality. Des, on the other hand, desires nothing more than books to read and a girl to love (and to protect a family secret that could be the death of him). But just as he begins to lead a gentler, healthier life, his uncle--once again in a London prison--wins £140 million in the lottery and upon his release hires a public relations firm and begins dating a cannily ambitious topless model and "poet." Strangely, however, Lionel's true nature remains uncompromised while his problems, and therefore also Desmond's, seem only to multiply.
Lionel Pepperdine is England's pre-eminent yob. A churlish and unashamedly savage reprobate, he was served his first Anti-Social Behaviour Order aged three, for the application of explosives to excrement. It was the start of an inimitable career. By the age of twenty-two, Lionel is a hardened petty criminal enjoying the rewards of extortion and stolen property, and the thrills of Grievous Bodily Harm. He has proudly had his name changed to Asbo, by deed poll. In an endless cycle of incarceration, it is while 'mucking out' in a London prison one morning that news of his greatest success arrives: he has won the National Lottery, just shy of a hundred million pounds. 'Well at least this proves that God has a sense of humour,' says the prison governor. What follows is a sinister thriller and comic tour de force told by Lionel's honest, intelligent, and frighteningly vulnerable nephew Desmond, who lives in the shadow of Lionel's limitless anger, piqued by his own dirty secret. Most of all, it is a satire on the state of the nation: England, lost in a garish limbo of impotence, rage, and virtuoso vulgarity.
London Fields is Amis's murder story for the end of the millennium. The murderee is Nicola Six, a "black hole" of sex and self-loathing intent on orchestrating her own extinction. The murderer may be Keith Talent, a violent lowlife whose only passions are pornography and darts. Or is the killer the rich, honorable, and dimly romantic Guy Clinch?
A biting, hilarious look at one man's relentless pursuit of pleasure in the fast lane, an audacious and frightening picture of Reagan's America and Thatcher's England.
Detective Mike Hoolihan has seen it all. A fifteen-year veteran of the force, she's gone from walking a beat, to robbery, to homicide. But one case--this case--has gotten under her skin.When Jennifer Rockwell, darling of the community and daughter of a respected career cop--now top brass--takes her own life, no one is prepared to believe it. Especially her father, Colonel Tom. Homicide Detective Mike Hoolihan, longtime colleague and friend of Colonel Tom, is ready to "put the case down." Suicide. Closed. Until Colonel Tom asks her to do the one thing any grieving father would ask: take a second look.Not since his celebrated novel Money has Amis turned his focus on America to such remarkable effect. Fusing brilliant wordplay with all the elements of a classic whodunit, Amis exposes a world where surfaces are suspect (no matter how perfect), where paranoia is justified (no matter how pervasive), and where power and pride are brought low by the hidden recesses of our humanity.From the Hardcover edition.
She wakes in an emergency room in a London hospital, to a voice that tells her: "You're on your own now. Take care. Be good." She has no knowledge of her name, her past, or even her species. It takes her a while to realize that she is human -- and that the beings who threaten, befriend, and violate her are other people. Some of whom seem to know all about her.In this eerie, blackly funny, and sometimes disorienting novel, Martin Amis gives us a mystery that is as ambitious as it is intriguing, an investigation of a young woman's violent extinction that also traces her construction of a new and oddly innocent self.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The year is 1970, and the youth of Europe are in the chaotic, ecstatic throes of the sexual revolution. Though blindly dedicated to the cause, its nubile foot soldiers have yet to realize this disturbing truth: that between the death of one social order and the birth of another, there exists a state of terrifying purgatory--or, as Alexander Herzen put it, a pregnant widow.Keith Nearing is stuck in an exquisite limbo. Twenty years old and on vacation from college, Keith and an assortment of his peers are spending the long, hot summer in a castle in Italy. The tragicomedy of manners that ensues will have an indelible effect on all its participants, and we witness, too, how it shapes Keith's subsequent love life for decades to come. Bitingly funny, full of wit and pathos, The Pregnant Widow is a trenchant portrait of young lives being carried away on a sea of change.From the Hardcover edition.
Over the past few decades, the bestselling author of Hitch-22 has crisscrossed the globe debating religious scholars, Catholic clergy, rabbis, and devout Christians on the existence of God--appearances that have attracted thousands of people on both sides of the issue. He has been invited to talk shows and events to discuss everything from the death of Jerry Falwell to the sainthood of Mother Teresa, from U.S. policy in the Middle East to the dangers of religious fundamentalism and beyond. And he is always armed with pithy discourse that is as intelligent as it is quotable.The Quotable Hitchens gathers for the first time the eminent journalist, public intellectual, and all-around provocateur Christopher Hitchen's most scathing, inflammatory, hilarious, and clear-cut commentary from the course of his storied career. Drawn from his many TV appearances, debates, lectures, interviews, articles, and books, the quotations are arranged alphabetically by subject--from atheism and alcoholism to George Orwell and Bertrand Russell, from Islamofascism and Iraq to smoking and sex.
In his uproarious first novel Martin Amis, author of the bestselling London Fields, gave us one of the most noxiously believable -- and curiously touching -- adolescents ever to sniffle and lust his way through the pages of contemporary fiction. On the brink of twenty, Charles High-way preps desultorily for Oxford, cheerfully loathes his father, and meticulously plots the seduction of a girl named Rachel -- a girl who sorely tests the mettle of his cynicism when he finds himself falling in love with her.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Martin Amis first wrote about September 11 a week later in a piece for The Guardian beginning, 'It was the advent of the second plane, sharking in low over the Statue of Liberty: that was the defining moment.' And he has kept returning to September 11, in essays and reviews, and in two remarkable short stories, 'In the Palce of the End' and 'The Last Days of Muhammad Atta'. All are collected here, together with an expanded account of his travels with Tony Blair in 2007 - to Belfast, to Washington, and to Baghdad and Basra. 'We are arriving at an axiom in long-term thinking about international terrorism,' he writes: 'the real danger lies, not in what it inflicts, but in what it provokes. Thus by far the gravest consequence of September 11, to date, is Iraq ... Meanwhile, September 11 continues, it goes on, with all its mystery, its instability, and its terrible dynamism.'
In the second volume of The Story About the Story, editor J. C. Hallman continues to argue for an alternative to the staid five-paragraph-essay writing that has inoculated so many against the effects of good books. Writers have long approached writing about reading from an intensely personal perspective, incorporating their pasts and their passions into their process of interpretation. Never before collected in a single volume, the many essays Hallman has compiled build on the idea of a "creative criticism," and new possibilities for how to write about reading.The Story About the Story Vol. II documents not only an identifiable trend in writing about books that can and should be emulated, it also offers lessons from a remarkable range of celebrated authors that amount to an invaluable course on both how to write and how to read well. Whether they discuss a staple of the canon (Thomas Mann on Leo Tolstoy), the merits of a contemporary (Vivian Gornick on Grace Paley), a pillar of genre-writing (Jane Tompkins on Louis L'Amour), or, arguably, the funniest man on the planet (David Shields on Bill Murray), these essays are by turns poignant, smart, suggestive, intellectual, humorous, sassy, scathing, laudatory, wistful, and hopeful-and above all deeply engaged in a process of careful reading. The essays in The Story About the Story Vol. II chart a trajectory that digs deep into the past and aims toward a future in which literature can play a new and more profound role in how we think, read, live, and write.
In Success Amis pens a mismatched pair of foster brothers--one "a quivering condom of neurosis and ineptitude," the other a "bundle of contempt, vanity and stock-response"--in a single London flat. He binds them with ties of class hatred, sexual rivalry, and disappointed love, and throws in a disloyal girlfriend and a spectacularly unstable sister to create a modern-day Jacobean revenge comedy that soars with malicious poetry.
In Time's Arrow the doctor Tod T. Friendly dies and then feels markedly better, breaks up with his lovers as a prelude to seducing them, and mangles his patients before he sends them home. And all the while Tod's life races backward toward the one appalling moment in modern history when such reversals make sense."The narrative moves with irresistible momentum.... [Amis is] a daring, exacting writer willing to defy the odds in pursuit of his art."--NewsdayFrom the Trade Paperback edition.
"Amis throws off more provocative ideas and images in a single paragraph than most writers get into complete novels." --The Seattle Times. Equally at home in satirical novels and biting critical essays, wickedly funny short stories and intimate autobiography, Martin Amis is widely regarded as one of the most influential yet inimitable voices in contemporary fiction, a writer whose prose captures the warp-speed rush of modernity. Vintage Amis displays this versatility in an excerpt from the author's award-winning memoir, Experience; the "Horrorday" chapter from London Fields; a vignette from his novel Money; the stories "State of England," "Insight at Flam Lake," and "Coincidence of the Arts"; and the essays "Visiting Mrs. Nabokov," "Phantom of the Opera." Also included, for the first time in book form, the short story "Porno's Last Summer."
To this tantalizing nonfiction collection Martin Amis brings the same megawatt wit, wickedly acute perception, and ebullient wordplay that characterize his novels. He encompasses the full range of contemporary politics and culture (high and low) while also traveling to China for soccer with Elton John and to London's darts-crazy pubs in search of the perfect throw. Throughout, he offers razor-sharp takes on such subjects as:American politics: "If history is a nightmare from which we are trying to awake, then the Reagan era can be seen as an eight-year blackout. Numb, pale, unhealthily dreamless: eight years of Do Not Disturb."Chess: "Nowhere in sport, perhaps in human activity, is the gap between the tryer and the expert so astronomical.... My chances of a chess brilliancy are the 'chances' of a lab chimp and a type writer producing King Lear."From the Trade Paperback edition.
Is there anything that Martin Amis can't write about? In this virtuosic, career-spanning collection he takes on James Joyce and Elvis Presley, Nabokov and English football, Jane Austen and Penthouse Forum, William Burroughs and Hillary Clinton. But above all, Amis is concerned with literature, and with the deadly cliches-not only of the pen, but of the mind and the heart. In The War Against Cliché, Amis serves up fresh assessments of the classics and plucks neglected masterpieces off their dusty shelves. He tilts with Cervantes, Dickens and Milton, celebrates Bellow, Updike and Elmore Leonard, and deflates some of the most bloated reputations of the past three decades. On every page Amis writes with jaw-dropping felicity, wit, and a subversive brilliance that sheds new light on everything he touches.
Brilliant, painful, dazzling, and funny as hell, Yellow Dog is Martin Amis' highly anticipated first novel in seven years and a stunning return to the fictional form. 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; and the porno tycoon, Cora Susan. Meanwhile, we explore the entanglements of Henry England: his incapacitated wife, Pamela; his Chinese mistress, He Zhezun; his fifteen-year-old daughter, Victoria, the victim of a filmed "intrusion" that rivets the world -- because she is the future Queen of England, and her father, Henry IX, is its King. The connections between these characters provide the pattern and drive of Yellow Dog. If, in the 21st century, the moral reality is changing, then the novel is changing too, whether it likes it or not. Yellow Dog is a model of how the novel, or more particularly the comic novel, can respond to this transformation. But Martin Amis is also concerned here with what is changeless and perhaps unchangeable. Patriarchy, and the entire edifice of masculinity; the enormous category-error of violence, arising between man and man; the tortuous alliances between men and women; and the vanished dream (probably always an illusion, but now a clear delusion) that we can protect our future and our progeny. Meo heard no footsteps; what he heard was the swish, the shingly soft-shoe of the hefted sap. Then the sharp two-finger prod on his shoulder. It wasn't meant to happen like this. They expected him to turn and he didn't turn -- he half-turned, then veered and ducked. So the blow intended merely to break his cheekbone or his jawbone was instead received by the cranium, that spacey bulge (in this instance still quite marriageably forested) where so many delicate and important powers are so trustingly encased. He crashed, he crunched to his knees, in obliterating defeat. . . . -- from Yellow Dog From the Hardcover edition.