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House of Meetings Paperback – 4 Oct 2007

3.1 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (4 Oct. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009948868X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099488682
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 269,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"This novella is the best thing Martin Amis has done in fiction for years: very complex, very forceful, startling in the amount of ground it covers, and densely and intelligently put together" (Sam Leith Literary Review)

"An ambitious feat...the result is brilliant" (Catherine Merridale Independent)

"It is difficult not to be impressed by this compact tour de force... Amis has produced a memorable novel and a memorable protagonist" (Toby Lichtig Observer)

"A singular, unimpeachable triumph" (The Economist)

"Unmistakably Amis's best novel since London Fields...a slender, moving novel, streaked with dark comedy" (Robert MacFarlane Sunday Times)

Book Description

'Terrific... Painful, trenchant, and elegantly written' Lionel Shriver, Daily Telegraph

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Fans of Martin Amis will recognize a narrative dynamic in HOUSE OF MEETINGS. This is fraternal competition, which manifests in the novels SUCCESS, MONEY, and THE INFORMATION as the hilarious but sad interplay between dependent men.

But in HOUSE OF MEETINGS, Mart gives his fans a twist. This time, he takes this same dynamic and imagines its expression between two brothers in Soviet Russia, the older a soldier brutalized by his experiences in World War II. In HOUSE OF MEETINGS, Mart asks whether this dynamic, which drove the lives of his characters in 1980's London and New York, could withstand years of slave labor in Stalin's Gulag.

One Amazon.com wag (the review has disappeared) called this book ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF MARTIN AMISOVITCH. Mart's fans who read HOUSE OF MEETINGS will see this comment is spot-on, since this novel explores such familiar Amis themes as male competition, loveless sex, retribution, and bad teeth, this time in heavy-handed Soviet society. It's fascinating stuff and the writing, especially in the first and last sections, is brilliant.

One word of warning: The experience of reading this book is similar to reading EVERYMAN, the latest from Philip Roth. I'd call each novel a short, flawless, and mesmerizing page turner. But neither book is happy reading, even with the guilt plagued narrator of HOUSE OF MEETINGS finally earning profound but ironic praise from his younger brother.
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Format: Hardcover
With House of Meetings Martin Amis has at last put down his distorting lens. With the unarguable reality of his subject matter - the Siberian gulag - what is left to distend? Only the faint but imperishable joys of human imagination can grace such a heartless state inspired depravity. And here, at last, Amis serves himself a dish greatly to his relish and taste. Utilising wonderfully subtle hyperbole, he creates a Russian alter-ego whose self-awareness unshackles the author's usual authorial straightjacket.

Sensitive yet violent, his narrator symbolically represents that strange ambiguity of Russian power, whether personal or political. In a language of rich beauty he discovers where all is lost, in a sense everything else is gained and rare for Amis, not least a voice of buoyancy.

But be warned, in the gulag the writer is still in his element. In place of the usual narrative morbidity we have the refined voice of a resilient brute whose ultimate act of destructiveness somehow represents the withering insecurity of the Amis paranoia. This closes up an otherwise excellent book in a typical fetish of `male anxiety' and justifiable self-loathing.

In sum great writing, even a great book; but sadly let down by the author's flawed finale squeezing out its loftier potential. The arch miserablist remains intact.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Giving it a 2nd.Go...He has a way of Getting inside his Subject and ...With Brevity, aided by a Splendid sometimes Chilling 'Gallows Humour'...Revealing the Ghastly barely Believable...Cruelty of our Deviant Species...We need more like him...A 'Good' page from Marty Amis is more Instructive more Enlightening...Than a Whole shelf of ...Religious Claptrap...BUT to Update this review...You won't find what you seek here...This is Turgid ,Wandering ,and made Obtuse,by a failure to find the right Expression for the Meaning being Conjured with.
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Format: Hardcover
It's sometimes easy to forget Amis's talent amidst all the bullcrap that gets written about him. He is an extremely talented writer who has become a target of lesser writers who write off his novels without seemingly reading them (see some of the negative reviews of 'Yellow Dog'). Never trust reviewers! Hee Hee!

Amis is a postmodernist writer with a conscience whether its the environment ('London Fields) or harming effects of capitalism ('Money') and in this 'short novel'he considers the prison camps of Stalin and the long term effects this imprisonment has on the narrator and his brother. Both brothers are in love with the same girl and the novel traces the fight to possess her but also the fight to stay alive and what humans are capable of when they are reduced to animal-like status.

Brilliantly written, moving, tragic and oddly contemporary in his observations of the abuse of power and injust imprisonment (Quantanamo anyone?) this is quality Amis. My only problem with being that I wished it could have been a little longer and I was sure there was meant to be two other stories with it? Where did they get to Martin?
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Format: Paperback
This 2006 work is a companion volume to “The Zone of Interest” (2015). Had to read “The Zone...” twice to fully grasp the brilliance of Amis’ bizarre and deeply moving and compassionate portrayal of a thwarted love affair in the most infamous of Nazi extermination camps. Here, he provides a rather complicated account of the decades-long fraternal rivalry for Zoya by two siblings, within the context of their suffering in a Sovjet work camp in the late 1940s and early 1950s, through the eyes of a now 86-year old former inmate, the losing brother. His life story, incl. his WW II and polar camp experience is rich, and is written as a US citizen on a laptop during a Gulag cruise on the Jenisey river to Norilsk, and adressed to Venus, his adopted (?) daughter.
Found this novel at times brilliant, deep and moving, esp. on camp life itself, his comparing Soviet with Nazi philosophies underpinning their creation of such zones, and a feast to read thanks to MA’s formidable linguistic skills. Plenty of his comparisons, allusions, quotations, and other similes and word plays are original and spot-on, effective and relevant. But there were also patches this reader could not make sense of, whole paragraphs and stretches of dialogue where MA seems caught up in a flow of diversions of his own, making the old storyteller a hard act to follow. This was my second reading in ten years. A third is unlikely to give me more insight.
Finally, for once I spied on other reviewers to see if anyone else ever commented on one aspect of the story teller’s character: male-to-male jealousy, the intense curiosity of a male about his female lover’s former lovers, portrayed tragi-comically by Julian Barnes in 1982 in his “Before she met me”. Here, Amis terms such a condition as covert or latent homosexuality. Weren’t he and Barnes good old friends for a long time? When did it end? Before 2006 or after? Today there is revenge porn. Was this revenge prose?
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