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Showing 1-10 of 33 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 130 reviews
on June 10, 2007
A mistress of seduction, having `come to the end of men' and a belief in the possibility of love, seeks her own murder--and sets about ruining the lives of two very different men in order to bring it about. The narrator of the novel--a self-described failure at art and love--is terminally ill and now rapidly failing at life, too; he's set himself the task of chronicling the rather ignoble efforts of Nicola Six and her pyrrhic dual seduction. The proceedings are set against an ominously looming worldwide crisis of nuclear and climactic proportions.

That, in maybe an eggshell, is the plot of *London Fields.* A nice enough hook, but as in any Amis novel, it's the execution that has you swallow the line and sinker, too. No one writes like Martin Amis. No one. Pity, too. It's poetry, in great parts, his style--an epic metropolitan voice as if Homer had been reborn in London with a wicked sense of humor, both castle and gutter, and a penchant for writing about deadbeats, sex-obsessed middle-aged guys, and a world gargling down the toilet-tube.

How even a sub-intelligent reader can possibly run his eyeballs over this novel and see in it only cynicism, nastiness, disgust, and mocking hatred is beyond comprehension. Are they paying attention to what Amis has actually written right there on the page in black and white--or only what has been written *about* him?

*London Fields,* like much of Amis' work is a deeply-felt and elegiac novel that is actually quite heartbreaking in its inimitable way. Rude, often crude, scalding and scornful, relentlessly, unrepentantly bleak--yes, that's all true, thank God, but Amis' style...and what a style! a corrosive that strips away all self-serving illusion and sentimentality to expose the skeleton of the last honest humanism still possible.

Here is Amis on one of his characters in *London Fields*:

`In the book, she stood for something. In the flesh, she was pointless: a complete waste of time. Or not quite. In the flesh, she broke your heart, as all human beings do. I watched her, an older man, failed in art and love. Fat ankles. Dear flesh.'

A waste of time that breaks your heart. In a sense, that sums up Amis' view on life, love, history, and existence itself as presented in *London Fields.* But the vitriolic comedy and famous disgust that Amis directs towards and lavishes upon everyone and everything is, in fact, the lament of the idealist who sees how very very far short human beings fall from anything even a kissing cousin of humanity.

His exaggerated characters, yes, arguably caricatures, are nevertheless uncomfortably familiar and that's precisely what makes their misdeeds and misadventures so uncomfortably compelling--and, I suspect, arouses so much wrath in those who consider the truth to be bad taste. These are, indeed, people we `know,' and sometimes even love; worse still, if we could stop the automatic monkey finger-pointing for five minutes, we realize these people are *us.*

Five stars, if that's all I can give it. *London Fields* deserves at the very least a small constellation of them.
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on October 26, 2016
I've read several Martin Amis books (Money being my favorite, and considered his best, it appears), but I can't finish this one. Started out great, very exciting, and Amis is a master of the English language (but beware, he can get "wordy"). But it's just dragging on and kind of stuck at this point (I'm about 2/3 through). Frustrating. I wanted to like it. I love the character development and Amis nails the late '80's ennui and sterility, but I feel like the wheel is just spinning...
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on June 19, 2014
One of the few books that I could not finish. Characters are uninteresting, story rambles, basically I couldn't careless about the characters or the story. I wouldn't recommend to anyone.
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on November 20, 2012
I will apologize before I continue.

That done, I downloaded this title to my kindle because I read a review of this author in Atlantic. He sounded like one of those very erudite wordsmiths that makes you think. That was the review. The book is confused, boring and pretentious. Sorry, I apologized already. I read a lot. A lot. I read History, novels, Science, Biography, Business, and assorted other. I average two books a week. I didn't finish this one. I couldn't.

A previous review said this is an author that people love or hate. Allow me to add a third category: I just don't care. Not worth love or hate. I will, however, remember the author's name in order to avoid him.

If Amis is your cup of tea I salute you. If you haven't tried him yet, check one out of the Library first so you can take it back and not have to pay a price for your disappointment.
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on March 31, 2015
A great book, one of the few I can safely say I will read again. I've read complaints that it's too long. I had the opposite feeling, I wanted it to go on and on, especially with a fuller explanation about how things ended up, but I guess "fuller explanations" aren't really in the cards for Amis' genius. The book has A Clockwork Orange kind of feel to it, albeit with more conventional characters. An unexplained natural catastrophe looms over the entire timeline of the book, and all actions of the major characters have to be seen with that in mind. I'd be interested in guidance to an even better book by Amis? Thank you.
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on September 12, 2014
Amis at almost his best. The portrait of Keith Talent and his world, including the Black Cross pub, comes off well : rather than simply being the sort of obnoxious prole that most would cross the street to avoid, he has some redeeming features and even a certain dignity, and his self - defeating life as a cheater ( and constantly being cheated himself ) has a horrific fascination. Other characters are less well fleshed out and the unlikely ménage of Hope, Lizzyboo and the awful baby Marmaduke is too grotesque to be more than a caricature : Amis ( who is certainly from a similar affluent background ) finds some sympathy for them but not enough as its Keith who forcibly grabs our attention and keeps it.,
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on June 28, 2015
Impressive writing, characters you won't find anywhere else. Still....
We're led along by wanting to know how the femme fatale (aka the "murderee) gets murdered. I hung in for the duration to find out. Woulod it be Keith, the arch thug? The writer narrator? The new guy who lords over the bar? At the final page, I wasn't sure she ever was murdered. If she was, who did it? Maybe the book was over my head.
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on September 14, 2012
This book...I keep re-reading it, and each time I feel the same emotions of revulsion, contempt, and empathy towards the characters, but find more and more depth in the writing. It's a wonder, liking this book so much when neither the characters nor their actions are likable.
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on July 25, 2015
A hilarious book, with unforgettable characters and sordid scenes that you won't soon forget. More of Amis on children too, but with a twist this time. I think his writing on children is very real, not hypocritical, very closely observed.
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on June 16, 2015
May edit my rating later as I'm only on pg 57, but felt compelled to let the world know what a brilliant piece of writing Martin Amis has set to paper. Utterly filthy and unapologetic. I'm in love with this gutter tale.
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