Gosh. Where to begin? Well, I've never read anything quite like this novel, which is to say there was no novel to prepare me for this one, not even Amis's other novels, or at least the three I read, which included Money, i.e. London Fields's predecessor. I'd heard London Fields was a complex murder mystery, and it is, but "complex" doesn't begin to hint at how complex, and "murder mystery," well, that could have a million meanings here. So, what is the novel about? On the surface, it's about the lives of a dart throwing lowlife, a femme fatale, and a rich twit, set in West London, but if you look further you see commentary on class and corruption, and I mean human corruption, all those awful feelings we have, all those weird desires, and all that pain - and the strange ways our insides come out, set against a backdrop of sordid, post modern, materially spoilt malaise. It's a dark book (and a dart book). It's a funny book (Amis can assume the role of literacy magician - or clown). And it's a true book (there are Keith Talents, Nicola Sixes, and Guy Clinches everywhere). But it's a bit long, and although Amis can work thousands of sentences into patterns you've never seen before (within convention, he destroys convention), the story is, um, er, nebulous, but maybe life is nebulous, so it's hard to make a criticism here. The book frustrated me at times, but again, I'm not sure it deserves a criticism for that either. I enjoyed Money better, but London Fields is certainly deeper. You may need some perseverance, but by book's end, you will likely think about London Fields and Amis's other novels. London Fields was hard-going at times, but worth it. No one can write like Martin Amis, and I'm now I'm curious to know what they do with the movie. Four stars.
Troy Parfitt is the author of Why China Will Never Rule the World