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Other People Paperback – February 8, 1994

15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Amis's darkly comic study of an amnesiac young woman and the construction of selfhood.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Amis (London Fields, LJ 3/1/90) here weaves a tale of a young woman suffering from amnesia who assumes a new identity while trying to piece together the mystery of her forgotten life.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (February 8, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679735895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679735892
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,552,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By I. J. Mclachlan on March 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
of the fiction that i've read by Amis, this one's my favourite. the opening is unforgettable; hallucinogenic, beautifully observed, carefully ordered. and then on to a cross-section of London life; the drunks with their endless sitting around in the living room; the would-be muggers who, with brilliant nonchalance, are described as doing something so depressing that practically no one else can bear to do it; the moneyed idlers with their tragically empty lives, their sleeping around and their Kamikaze deceits.
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.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Chris MB on October 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
This was my first foray into the world of Amis and I am very happy that I tried this guy out. Very impressive. Amis is truly gifted. By his brilliant use of the English language, he gets the reader to look at things his way. While this is the goal of all writers, not many are as successful as Amis. The only drawback, hence the four stars instead of five, is the ending. While it was a very intriguing novel, I was left thinking that I had missed something by the end of the book. Either that, or Amis got a little tired of writing and ended it prematurely. All in all, however, it was well worth the read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sirin on May 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is one of Martin Amis's earlier novels, written during the phase where he seemed to be aiming to emulate the early career of Nabokov in producing short, stylish novels that play with the conventional rules of reality and narrative structure.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Amis is well classed as a high literary style English writer. Most of his works feature middle class characters forced to endure humiliation at the hands of the lower orders, often lower orders with lots of money (as in Lionel ASBO, for example) or those who had succeeded, while the narrator has failed.
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.
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