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Other People Paperback – February 8, 1994
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
At once poetic and cynical, bestselling novelist Martin Amis is known for his unflinching critiques of modern life. Visit Amazon's Martin Amis Page.
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Top Customer Reviews
one stylistic tic i could have lived without was the author's habit of repeat phrasing sentences. but the only genuinely damp squib in this case of literary fireworks was Amis's slightly juvenile obsession with murderers and murderees. as in London Fields, the ending is abrupt and offhand. having built up such a well-observed portrait of life, the end sequence feels amateurish and out of place, as if Amis doesn't have quite enough faith in his ability to chronicle life as it is, and must fall back on chicanery to hold his readership's attention.
overall though, a phenomenally good piece of writing.
Other People can seem perplexing, but I think it is essentially an interesting angle on the social phenomenon of downward mobility - well off people going off the rails and plunging into messy troubles - which was a prominent one in 1970s London.
The heroine, Mary Lamb goes through an amnesiac process. She finds it difficult to remember nouns, common terms, the names of familiar objects. The whole world is a riddle for her. Thus a newspaper is a 'dirty sheath of smudged grey paper that came and went every day'. She wanders innocently through shabby London society, commented on by a mysterious narrator, leaving a trail of destruction wherever she goes. Through a mysterious policeman, Prince, she learns about Amy Hide, a girl who has disappeared. Amy appears to be Mary's doppelganger, another Nabokovian technique Amis has raided in this novel. Eventually, this strange netherworld comes into focus and it is revealed what has happened to Mary during her life.
Other People may seem odd, but I think it is one of Amis's most stylish and heartfelt fictions. The character of Mary Hide is endearing in a way that Amis's characters rarely are. Amis himself has suggested that 'Other People' can be read as a sort of sequel to his later novel 'London Fields'. Readers of 'London Fields' who know how that book ends will have a useful lead into this one.
In this early work, Amis begins with an interesting premise of a girl who has lost all sense of identity, and although able to speak, and read, is clueless of the world around her (she feels clouds are alive, for example). Then she wanders around in her clueless way, and begins to assemble a collection of cast-off clothes, homicidal admirers, suicidal boyfriends, and a name, Mary Lamb.
Amis is well known as a smarty pants, and "Mary' offers a number wide eyed smartaleck comments on, for example, Charlotte Bronte's works.
Less interesting is the aimless sort of wandering Mary does, that in its way results in her making a successful life for herself. Part of this is based on the mysterious "policeman" who from time to time swoops in, and also on the "narrator" who offers arch comments and asides from time to time.
And of course, "Mary" used to be someone, who had a past, parents, history, criminal record (maybe) and given that London (at least the Amis upper middle class white version) is a tiny town, well people show up who used to know her, or of her.
"Mary" makes her way through a sort of Thackery journey through the English class system, from homeless to lower class, to lower middle (they live in a squat, but its "almost" legal), right to useless trust fund aristo.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In pillaging our Florida home whilst prepping it for sale, I finished the book I was reading, a history of the 6th Army Group in WWII, in which my Dad served, so I therefore needed... Read morePublished 6 months ago by William Erickson
It starts off somewhat nonsensical, but it's supposed to be like that to tell the truths of this fiction. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Zinnea
This book feels like a dream. That is to say, if you're hoping for a rigid structure with unambiguous narrative and clear plot, this novel is probably not for you. Read morePublished on June 5, 2013 by Author of Eudemonia
I'll admit that Amis knows how to write a page-turner. But there's supposed to be a climax after you turn all those pages. None of that in here. Read morePublished on April 8, 2010 by M. Bergen
'Other People' by Martin Amis is a rather perplexing read. It is well-written, interesting at times, but inevitably feels rather aimless. Read morePublished on August 12, 2005 by lazza
This is Smarty Anus at his worst - being clever for the sake of being clever, without having a real story to tell or a real theme to explore. Read morePublished on June 30, 2004
This gripping mistery story focuses a young woman, Mary Lamb, who suddently wakes up in the streets of London and doesn`t seem to remember who she is, apparently knowing nothing... Read morePublished on April 1, 2004 by gonn1000
This is not a great read but it's better than anything he's written over the past fifteen years. If you like Matin Amis (I like his earlier funnier books) try it.Published on January 22, 2004
Often I find myself reading between MA and Jeanette Winterson. In many ways they are rather the light and dark side of the heart. Read morePublished on June 10, 2002 by David