From Publishers Weekly
Amis's latest is a pitch-black comedy about literary envy and the declining state of literary culture.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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From Library Journal
Richard Tull, a fortyish book reviewer and failed novelist, is driven to distraction by the effortless and unmerited success of fellow Oxonian Gwyn Barry. While Barry's simpleminded novels become overnight best sellers, Tull's dense experimental manuscripts send a succession of literary agents to the hospital with migraine. Tull finally decides it's payback time, and this novel chronicles his slapstick attempts to annihilate his friend. Amis pads the narrative with irrelevant and sometimes erroneous scientific data, presumably to justify the book's title. (In one astronomical digression, he gives the speed of light as 186,000 miles per hour.) In general, however, this is a wonderfully cantankerous send-up of the British literary scene, similar to David Lodge's satire on academia, Small World (1984). Although the book has been greeted as a roman a clef in Great Britain, no special knowledge is required to enjoy its comedy. Recommended for most fiction collections.-?Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angeles
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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