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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Other reviews have given synopses, so I'll skip that...

Firstly, this book is worth reading if you live in London - Amis captures perfectly the bizarre juxtaposition of sleaze against wealth that is everywhere in the city, and the book is wonderfully atmospheric of both of these aspects of London and more.

The wider appeal of the book is surely Amis'...
Published on 6 Aug 2008 by Anthony Friend

versus
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Vacant Possession.
London Fields
My first Amis and after the first couple of chapters I was thrilled. The prose just sparkled and fizzed with an acidity that ,at frst,seemed intoxicating. What could go wrong. Here was a wonderfully implausible plot woven around and about and through the lives of some wonderfully plausible yet implausible characters: the execrable Keith Talent, the...
Published 14 months ago by Eugenia


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Vacant Possession., 23 Oct 2013
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This review is from: London Fields (Paperback)
London Fields
My first Amis and after the first couple of chapters I was thrilled. The prose just sparkled and fizzed with an acidity that ,at frst,seemed intoxicating. What could go wrong. Here was a wonderfully implausible plot woven around and about and through the lives of some wonderfully plausible yet implausible characters: the execrable Keith Talent, the enigmatic Nichola Six and the woeful Guy Clinch. And all underwritten by a deeply suspect narrator. But then it was as if the prose, as good as it was, just kept on going and going but the story went nowhere.And without a story even Amis's prose just becomes so much verbiage.

Set in the suppurating sore of the great wen that is London the Dickensian undertow became increasingly obvious. Keith was our new Artful Dodger, Nichola was clearly based on Estella from Great Expectations, beautiful but cold and empty and trained to break men's hearts. Only Amis is not Dickens. In Dickens the acidity is always tempered with humanity but in Amis it just turns sour. It's like drinking vinegar, after a while your tongue curls up and you just don't want anymore because ultimately there is no nourishment in it. By the hundredth page of observing Nicola and Keith and Guy in their macabre deathdance I just began to feel like a voyeur idly watching people I despised just for the sake of being able to despise then further. Like Nichola the book is all front, all show, but ultimately has nothing to say except that its a wicked old world and most of us are fools or knaves to go on believing in it. This we all already know. However if you want to sneer at the undeserving poor , the chavs, the underclass, or call it what you will, then Amis provides a good long peepshow.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 6 Aug 2008
By 
Anthony Friend (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: London Fields (Paperback)
Other reviews have given synopses, so I'll skip that...

Firstly, this book is worth reading if you live in London - Amis captures perfectly the bizarre juxtaposition of sleaze against wealth that is everywhere in the city, and the book is wonderfully atmospheric of both of these aspects of London and more.

The wider appeal of the book is surely Amis' writing rather than the plot itself; his astounding use and manipulation of the English language makes 'London Fields' a real tour de force.

Most of all though, the general obvservations of peoples' behaviours, psychologies (particularly with regard to sex), reactions to one another, and the varying viewpoints on life offered here are captivating and, I would say, remove the need for a gripping, suspenseful story; these observations are also often made in an extremely witty way.

However, I also disagree with other reviewers, who claim that "nothing happens" in 'London Fields': this is a highly misleading thing to say about this book - there are several narrative strains which meet excitingly at the end of the novel and I personally found that despite Amis' determination to make the book more about the 'journey to the climax' than the ending itself, there is real tension. I do agree, though, that the plot might not be the main focus of the book.

All in all, I would recommend this book to almost anyone who feels that they might want to read something which is something other than (or more than) just a story and experience the writing of someone with a trully masterful command of the English language.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars London's Burning, Dial 99999, 2 May 2003
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: London Fields (Paperback)
This seems to be a novel people tend to either love or hate, and it's not hard to see why. First of all, it is awfully long-and for such a long book, not a lot happens, which is bound to upset some people. Essentially, you have the tale of a not-so-romantic triangle comprised of Nicola Six (messed up psychic sexpot), Guy Clinch (posh, married, naive, and weak-willed), and Keith Talent (underclass wide-boy, schemer, on-the-fiddle, racist, sexist, alcoholic, generally scummy pub denizen), told by a dying American writer in London. The tale is set at the end of the millennium, with some vague catastrophe threatening the world, so it's safe to believe that the trio's story has some larger meaning. The west London of this book is a pretty nasty immoral place, where carpe diem means grab what you want and screw everyone else. As the physical world of the book obliquely slides toward disaster, the moral landscape is already destroyed. The protagonists themselves are stereotypes, the two men representing the opposite ends of the social spectrum, and the most recognizable "type" of modern British male: upper-crust wimp, lower-class lout. Nicola Six exists solely to satirize, and thus subvert, their sexual fantasies with her psychosexual games. Amis appears to be painting a larger picture about British enrapturement with... well, it's not clear precisely what Nicola represents. Capitalism? America? Or just the dreams and fantasies that have led the country astray? Overarching metaphors aside, Amis can write the hell out of sentence, and there's plenty of awfully good description and dialogue here-especially when it comes to wide-boy Keith. There are large swathes of the book devoted to darts, and Amis makes it come alive. Some of this is devastatingly funny amidst the overall dark and bleak tone. My own favorite line is about scratches on Guy's face that (and this is not verbatim, but give's the gist): "made him look like a determined, but inept rapist"). Ultimately the book is too long, and the broad main characters and interjecting author get rather tedious. Still, it's a major work of modern British literature and merits a look if you're into that stuff.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly postmodern, 22 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: London Fields (Paperback)
London Fields is not packed with action and events, because its strengths lie in different areas. The characters are brilliantly crafted, simultaneously engaging and complete to the reader, whilst being totally unrealistic and caricatured. In Nicola Six, Amis has created both a male fantasy and a female icon, and Keith Talant is strangly likeable despite his disgraceful behaviour.
The constantly shifting narrative voice keeps the reader focused on the several interwoven plots, and generates continual questions as to who is controlling the actions and the reporting of them. London Fields is not an easy book to read, and sometimes Amis' style can get a little pretentious, but the more you read it, the more accessible it becomes.
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3.0 out of 5 stars a classic read though loses momentum, 8 Oct 2014
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This review is from: London Fields (Kindle Edition)
Under no mean have i managed to find a review of London Fields that has helped me understand what this book is about. I could only fathom that either people loved it or hated it, with very little shades of grey in between. so i am attempting to review what i found to be one of the most bizarre or mystical attempts of modern British literature .. With a word of warning before you succumb to my analysis: i am not even sure i fully understood myself the message the author is trying to proclaim.

Set in a shabby futuristic messed up world in the end of the millennium, where there's some sort of nameless world conflict involving the US, and Britain is in shambles: the poor are poorer - the rich are richer, you get cheat out of everything possible (a stereo mustn't ever be left in a car), with a "slummy" feel to things. Amis does a really great job criticising the British society and way of life, showing through the lives of the characters the profound class differences in the UK, London in particular.

The book is a triangle where 3 characters from so different worlds are meeting and gets entangled: Nicola (mysterious seducer, cold & heartless sex addict who set out to play with the other characters' lives), Keith (the cheat - a rough lazy English who dwells at pubs and tries to make ends meat out of cheating and getting bye, also sex addict with many "birds" on call) & Guy (the rich, naive, out of place and out of his depth who gets infatuated with Nicola). The story is told by Sam, an American author with decades behind him of writers block, who is staying at a successful British colleague’s apartment in London.

At the start of the novel we learn that Nicola is going to be murdered, and that this will involve the other two. as the novel progress we step inside their private lives and learn about their domestic problems (such as Guy's hyperactive and malicious little boy, Nicola's past ordeals & Keith’s sad council flat family life with the "angelic" baby Kim). This is all super interesting as Sam himself becomes a part of their life and an entrusted friend, not just an innocent bystander.

The problem with the story is that it starts being tedious at some point. We already "caught the drift", already learned all there is to learn, and the only thing left is to see how things fold with Nicola's manipulations, Guy's infatuation and Keith's dream to be a darts champion that will lift him from his pitiful life. oh, and to wait to see how and why Nicola gets murdered ... this is late to arrive and by the time the story reaches its climax, you are already so fatigue from the road - that it is not nearly as exciting as you'd imagine.

Another thing that is missing is the overall scene.. Earth is crumbling, the president's wife is dying, everything is messed up.. Yet we only have our imagination to try and help us with this story. What ordeal has left earth so crippled? i know it doesn’t REALLY matter, but would certainly love to know.

to sum things up, this is a good read - don’t get me wrong. the English is superb, the way Amis sets up the Londonian scene could not be any more accurate and thrilling. it's just that the story at some point loses momentum. you'd finish reading, but with a sense that if this would have been cut shorter by 100 pages or so, things would have been is much better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clinicism innit?, 25 Nov 2013
This review is from: London Fields (Paperback)
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
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars London Fields by Martin Amis, 1 Jan 2012
This review is from: London Fields (Paperback)
London Fields (1989) is a murder mystery, in reverse. Set in London in 1999, with an undefined crisis on the horizon, the story follows the sexually savvy Nicola Six, who has a premonition about her own death, as she tries to identify and entice her murderer. A willing murderee, Nicola develops relationships with the yobbish Keith Talent, a petty criminal and darts enthusiast, and the affluent but weak Guy Clinch, driving both men to sexual distraction in an attempt to propel one of them to murder. The story is relayed by a fourth character; dying American author Samson Young, who socialises with the characters, drawing inspiration for his final book from their `story'.

As with Amis's previous work the lack of motive becomes central to the novel, creating, more than a whodunnit, a whydunnit. An uneasy air hangs over the characters determined path, with Nicola's desire for death never fully explored. Indeed, as much as a personal death wish Nicola comes to represent the world itself, a willing murderee, longing for death but in need of assistance. Intricately conveyed, the novel's themes have to be carefully picked from the tangled plot. What at first appears to be a meditation on the potential for nuclear holocaust and its devaluation of human life slowly becomes a metaphor for the act of writing, and the death of the author and of literature itself. The postmodern condition remains under constant consideration in a variety of ways, for example, the abdication of social responsibility due to the filtration of information and stupefying effect of television.

The dialogue and some of the set pieces are assuredly majestic; Amis creates the most acutely observed atmosphere and, through Keith in particular, crafts colloquial discourse of almost poetic brilliance. The depiction of deprived London and its inhabitants is magnificent, engulfing one in the texture and language of poverty, and contrasting it with its polar opposite - a stark reminder of London's bizarre juxtaposition, where the lives of rich and poor are so intertwined. As in Money, Amis includes an authorial presence, in this case Samson Young (in addition to absent character Mark Asprey, often referred to as M.A.) who, far from enjoying Amis's narrative authority, is unable to fully get to grips with the situation. Unlike the unruly lives of his characters, Amis retains tight control of the most complex of structures, comfortably disguising the skill needed to create such a multilayered work.

Like much of Amis's writing London Fields courts controversy; it was excluded from the Booker Prize shortlist because some members of the judging panel were offended by perceived sexism within the novel. Certainly, the work is searingly written and does not compromise on its candid and experimental inclinations, although sometimes these are more justifiable than others. Aside from the possible offence some readers might find in the novel the main complaint is undoubtedly the plot itself. Despite being beautifully written, the characters are exaggerated versions of reality and the vehicle they inhabit is at times slow moving and a little tedious. But these are auxiliary issues when compared to the richness and depth of the text as a whole.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vastly entertaining, 23 July 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: London Fields (Paperback)
I came to this book after hearing a discussion on the radio, which intrigued me. I loved reading it, and couldn't put it down at all. The reviewer who counsels just letting the novel wash over you is absolutely on the money. The plot doesn't really matter. Constant amusement from the unlikeable and unloveable Keith Talent, for me especially the points at which he reviews himself by use of tabloid headline cliches. Nicola is terrifying, but frighteningly familiar. Guy is a great device. I also always enjoy the 'knowing narrator.'
Great read, not a bit too long.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, 18 Feb 2011
This review is from: London Fields (Paperback)
London Fields is by far the worst book I've ever read. It is slow, boring and utterly, utterly humourless (unless you think having one main character visit an underage prostitute while another main character spends several days with a painful, permanant erection to be the hight of hilarity). The 3 main characters are tediously detailed, frustratingly one-dimensional and fail to do anything noteworthy. Keith is so vile that his continued presence robs the tale of credibility. Most of the rest are forgettable shadows. Guy's son, Marmaduke, comes across as an evil force of nature, a toddler who molests the women around him and destroys furniture and nannys. Is Amis merely making a rather well-worn point about the disruption caused by the arrival of a child into a household? 'Post-modern' is the nicest thing you could say about this drivel.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Dystopian, 19 July 2001
By 
fifi_folle@yahoo.com (Basingstoke, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: London Fields (Paperback)
I am not at all surprised, having read the other reviews of this book, that it has inspired such diverse views. Many people will find 'London Fields' a difficult book but once you understand what Amis is trying to achieve it becomes a wonderful study of modern life, looking at both the beautiful and ugly aspects of humanity. Amis' grasp of the English language is superb and he manages to simultaneously conjure a world that is both believable and fantastical. An interesting fact related to the book is that Blur's album 'Parklife', particularly the song 'London Loves', is heavily based upon 'London Fields'. Damon Albarn has admitted to being inspired by the book and you will certainly find similarities in the way 'larger-than-life' characters are created. It is certainly a millennial novel, dark and somewhat postmodern. One of the best things about 'London Fields' is that Amis makes you work hard for what you will get out of it and this is precisely why many will not enjoy the novel. However, if you like a challenge and appreciate being made to think by literature, then I heartily reccommend this book.
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London Fields
London Fields by Martin Amis (Paperback - 3 Jun 1999)
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