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The Information Hardcover – 20 May 1997


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Hardcover, 20 May 1997
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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Random House Value Publishing (20 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517179652
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517179659
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Martin Amis is the author of ten novels, the memoir Experience, two collections of stories and six collections of non-fiction. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Peter Higgins on 15 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
The first time I read this, I hated it. It seemed self-indulgent, pointless, unrealistic, unbelievable, and far, far too long.
Now, several years later, spurred on by Amis's return to form with the wonderful "Experience", I thought I'd give it another try. And what a pleasant surprise. Yes, I stand by my claim that it is far too long. It could easily have lost 100 pages, and been much tighter and more exciting as a result. Otherwise, however, it is witty, clever, endlessly surprising and at times hysterically funny ("Unfortunately I am terminally ill").
Amis has always been a writer in love with language, and "The Information" sees him almost drowning in words. There are far too many of them. Far too many descriptions of clouds, planets, stars, seemingly endless sojourns with largely irrelevant low-life characters and their artlessly-depicted speech patterns. But just when you think he's lost it, he finds it, and you remember why there really is no one else quite like him. Certainly the rash of young male writers who rose to power after his golden age (from "Success" to "London Fields", inclusively) would kill to write half as well. Because when Amis is on form - and for about seventy five per cent of this, he is - then he remains untouchable. The story - a simple one - at times a ludicrously simple one - plays out over a background of hilarious failure (Richard Tull's) and irritating success (Gwyn Barry). The depiction of life at the farthest margins of London's literary scene ("The Little Magazine", The Tantalus Press) is hilarious and spot-on. The running gag of Richard's novel and its deleterious effect on its (very few) readers is hilarious. The vile Barry is perfectly drawn.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dave Gilmour's cat on 21 May 2010
Format: Hardcover
Information about The Information: it's a great book. Not Martin Amis's best (that's Money), but not too far off. This is essentially a darkly comic tragedy and a wry look at human vanity, jealousy and insecurity. Some of the writing is very, very funny indeed. Amis tackles the mid-life crisis full on, and the realization of mortality (and our place in the cosmic scheme of things) seems to underpin almost everything in the book. He also satirises the literary world to great effect, placing Richard Tull's demanding modernist fiction at one end of the scale, and Gwyn Barry's artless, clichéd 'trex' at the other. Then there are the running jokes about the effect of reading Richard's book on its (very few) readers, the endless biographies of minor literary figures that Tull is forced to review, and the humiliating ways authors are forced to promote and hype (thus cheapening) their wares.

Some people say this novel is too long. I like it this way, as the finely honed tragedy is allowed to unfold over a greater distance, this becoming even more pitiful and wretched. I would have been happy for a few more hundred pages. It's a wonderfully rich, sprawling work crammed with dazzlingly inventive sentences and ideas.

I have now read it twice and enjoyed it even more on the second go.

If you like Money and London Fields, you'll enjoy this.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A. van Gelderen on 12 Oct. 2002
Format: Paperback
Be warned: this book is not everybody's cup of tea. An appreciation of black, irreverent humour is absolutely essential if you want to enjoy this novel and it is no wonder that a lot of people find it infuriating and outrageous. Everybody does seem to agree, however, that it is very well-written.
First of all let me tell you what the book is about. Protagonist Richard Tull is a pretentious, but sensationally unsuccesful novelist - plus a chainsmoker and an alcholic with a harrowing midlife crisis. His novels are so unreadable that nobody makes it past page 10 without developing at least one mysterious ailment. So when the bland, improbably inoffensive novels of his dim friend Gwyn hit the bestseller lists and Gwyn gets the celebrity, wealth and trophy wife that go with beststellerdom something snaps in Richard. He now has only one goal left in life: f*****g up Gwyn. Contemplating the several ways he can go about doing this, Richard runs into Steve, a screwed-up, sadistic drugdealer and as it happens not only his only fan but also the only reader able to make it past the first dozen or so pages. Of course this is a set-up for disaster, but of the comic not the tragic kind.
So, all this sounds like fun. And it is, several passages are downright laugh-out-loud funny, especially if you read them in context...
But the book is also dark and pessimistic. The London that provides most of its background is a crowded city full of filth and violence. Neither Richard nor Gwyn is likeable. The publishing world is a scream. And human is life is nothing, absolutely nothing from a cosmic point of view, as the author keeps pointing out. The low-life characters such as Steve, 13 and Darko are unconvincing and superfluous. But is the book depressing? Not to me; the exuberant wit, the great writing and the incisive original thinking save it from itself. Not a masterpiece, not even the best Amis ("Money" is better), but definitely a great deal more worthwhile than most bestsellers.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Jan. 2001
Format: Paperback
When you were at school and a certain kid always got the praise, the love, the admiration and the gold stars. Did you want to be him: or did you want to re-house the blackboard eraser, where only the Colonic experts at Guys Hospital, could dream of relocating it. The Information speaks of the traits in all of us, the once we don't have the nerve to acklowedge. Its a challenge but only because it twists like a eplileptic sea snake. Nice one Martin, keep them comming.
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