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London Fields Paperback – April 3, 1991

121 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this very British tale, femme fatale Nicola Six manipulates racist, sexist scoundrel Keith Talent and well-mannered, naive Guy Clinch as an omniscient narrator/novelist spies on the trio in order to develop his book. "Relentlessly bitter, often brutally funny, hypnotically readable, it may also be quite opaque in places to an American readership," said PW. Author tour.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Amis's disappointing new novel follows the machinations of promiscuous Nicola Six, a psychic who senses that she is to be murdered by one of two men she meets in a London bar. She systematically humiliates both--prole darts champ Keith and posh, ineffectual Guy--only to discover that for once her powers have misled her. Set "at the end of the millennium" against the background of a vaguely defined political/ecological/cosmological crisis, this novel is far longer than its thin content warrants. What can Amis have against these minimally developed characters that he devotes nearly 500 pages to demolishing them? There's disgust aplenty here--but little else. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/89.
- Grove Koger, Boise P.L., Id.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 470 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (April 3, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679730346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679730347
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
This seems to be a novel people tend to either love or hate, and it's not hard to see why. First of all, it is awfully long-and for such a long book, not a lot happens, which is bound to upset some people. Essentially, you have the tale of a not-so-romantic triangle comprised of Nicola Six (messed up psychic sexpot), Guy Clinch (posh, married, naive, and weak-willed), and Keith Talent (underclass wide-boy, schemer, on-the-fiddle, racist, sexist, alcoholic, generally scummy pub denizen), told by a dying American writer in London. Nicola has foreseen her murder at the hand of one of these characters, and thus she directs her own demise by luring them into her tangled web of self-destruction. It's entirely predictable (yes, even the "twist" at the end), but one reads Amis for the journey, not the destination.
The tale is set at the end of the millennium, with some vague catastrophe threatening the world, so it's safe to believe that the trio's story has some larger meaning. The west London of this book is a pretty nasty immoral place, where carpe diem means grab what you want and screw everyone else. As the physical world of the book obliquely slides toward disaster, the moral landscape is already destroyed. The protagonists themselves are stereotypes, the two men representing the opposite ends of the social spectrum, and the most recognizable "type" of modern British male: upper-crust wimp, lower-class lout. Nicola Six exists solely to satirize, and thus subvert, their sexual fantasies with her psychosexual games. Amis appears to be painting a larger picture about British enrapturement with... well, it's not clear precisely what Nicola represents. Capitalism? America? Or just the dreams and fantasies that have led the country astray?
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By gareth johnson on October 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
London Fields does require effort. It also rewards it like no other book I am aware of in contemporary fiction. I too aborted reading the book within 100 pages but given the extraordinary effects of Money, Dead Babies and Other People, I felt I ought to give Mart another go. I gave it another go.
There is a depth and richness in this book that I see replicated practically nowhere else in modern writing. Amis himself calls it "The Long Novel". The book reeks talent in its characterisation and language. London Fields is a consummate piece of reality and fiction. It puts certain others of his work - Time's Arrow, The Information to shame and it places the entire works of the pretenders (hey! Will Self! Hi!) just.... subterranean.
Buy this book. Give it the effort it needs to get beyond 100 - 150 pages. Reviews based on non-completion are obviously idiotic. When one gets through to reach this book's extraordinary conclusion, I for one would say it's a full dime shake up the spine; the knowledge that one has read a rare piece of imaginative fiction.
London Fields does character, setting and language in a manner unmatched by Martin Amis' contemporaries or indeed by himself since. Off the top of the wave, it will give you a ride like no other. Buy.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By D. Wood on May 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
Okay, so Martin Amis has this thing about language, and it's undeniably impressive whether you can stand it or not. I personally enjoy reading the work of someone who has such command of the language, especially when it reads so well -- page-turning like Stephen King, but with substance like Henry James. (excuse me for that comparison, I'm sure it's bound to get a lot of sneers) Maybe I just like it because it makes me feel smart. (more sneers)
I like Amis in general, but this is by FAR my favorite. Granted: It's wordy. It stretches believability at times. There are places where author ego creeps through. And the subject matter is reeeeally depressing. BUT... I've read it twice, and both times I have come away in the end feeling inspired, sated, and joyously uplifted. It's sick, hilarious (oh my god), peopled with incredibly vivid characters, and peppered with typical quoteworthy Martin Amisisms.
Not only is it a satisfying read because of the mastery with which the story is told, but because of the story itself. Strange, I don't see anyone mentioning what I see as, finally, the most crucial thematic element of the book. It's supposedly about "the death of love," and this point is driven home ruthlessly from the beginning. And yet, even when the foretold ending comes about, Amis manages to put a gorgeous, beautiful little twist on what has been a pretty cynical, harrowing story. In the midst of all this nasty darkness there is, finally, at least one brilliant beam of pure sunlight. That, to me, is what London Fields is really about. "Love happens at the speed of light."
It takes courage and a little patience, but I recommend London Fields with as many stars as you've got.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Robert Stribley on November 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Please ignore the comments by "A Reader" which occurred on August 15th of 1999, I believe. This person has some sort of puerile vendetta going on against Mr. Amis. "A Reader" may not have even read these books: the same critique is posted to every one of Amis's books on Amazon, without an actual comment on any particular book.
London Fields is a wonderful read. I read it several years ago and elements of the book still rumble around in the back of my admittedly impressionable mind--especially Keith Talent, vulgar sportsman that he is. Words and phrases from LF even worked their way into my vocabulary, and as a college student with a passable IQ and access to a dictionary I had no problem eventually digesting any of the multisyllabic constructs Amis threw my way.
Reading a book with a dictionary on hand really isn't a bad thing, innit?
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