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The Information Paperback – March 19, 1996
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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.
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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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A boring, maladjusted, failed author, plots against a successful, maladjusted author. The failed author's plots against the successful one, are rediculous (probably why he is a failed author). A schoolyard bully could think up better revenge.
I couldn't even appreciate the characters. They were boring, unrealistic, and not fleshed out at all. I really didn't care what happened to them. The criminals in the story were a little entertaining, but after a while I found it impossible to really care about what happened to any of them. They were all unrealistic, boring, and I had no sympathy for them. There are books I have read where I can't put them down, because I want the characters to have certain experiences, in this book, I didn't care at all, it was easy to put it down each night.
So many authors have characters you care about. This book has none, and the plot of a man attacking another out of jealousy, and having the plots be ineffectual or backfiring, is as old as the hills.No new twist even.....just boredom.
I give it a 2 star, because the beginning was entertaining, but that died after about 50 pages....and never resurrected itself.
Don't waste your time.
Even so, does anyone else feel that Amis writes a tad long? In the middle of "The Information" I found myself pushing ahead, fearful that I might lose interest and not finish. Then, I found myself stopping to reread great bits from Amis that I had rushed over. Here's one: "Belladonna was a punk. That is to say, she had gone at herself as if to obliterate the natural gifts. Her mascara she wore like a burglar's eye-mask; her lipstick was approximate and sanguinary, her black hair spiked and looped and asymmetrical, like the pruned trees outside the window. Punk was physical democracy. And it said: let's all be ugly together."
Two good descriptive words for Amis are brilliant and exasperating. But do we really need so much of the character Scozzy?