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The Information Paperback – 4 Sep 2008

3.7 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (4 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099526697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099526698
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 444,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A book of brilliant energies, a comedy of enraged passions. Amis's writing shares the grandeur of the big American writers" (Malcolm Bradbury The Times)

"Any other writer would kill to reach this high style. Amis can stroll the heights at his leisure - the writing is on fire" (Allison Pearson)

"Martin Amis is an iconic figure. He cracks out memorable sentences like a ringmaster in the circus of the grotesque. He is the good-looking bad guy of late-twentieth-century Eng Lit - faster on the phrase than any of the other inky cowboys on the streets" (Melvyn Bragg)

"Amis has made previous incursions into the grubby end of Ladbroke Grove and the infection of urban self-pity. But he's never been quite so funny about it" (Independent)

"Young men adore Martin Amis and older ones envy him. Many imitate him. Many want to be him. He can be cool and raw, smart and cool. He's sexy, but that's not all. Now we want the Information" (Nicci Gerrard Observer)

Book Description

'No-one can hold a candle to Martin Amis' Daily Mail

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We will always have Martin Amis's supreme London trilogy - Money, London Fields, The Information - even if the books that followed have not been so well received. Rereading The Information, I had almost forgotten (but the sensations had never left me, and were swiftly rekindled when I started reading) what an astonishing piece of writing this is. Who else alive has this writer's gift with language? Such power and vigour, such lyricism, mordancy, farcical humour, human understanding, knowledge of life and literature - all bundled together into a coruscating display of linguistic pyrotechnics. The Information made me laugh out loud a dozen times (and moved me close to tears on occasion, too). He understands, you see - he understands what it is to be a man (poor, pitiful object) in the modern world, and he shares this understanding in a unique way. Thanks, MA. Thanks for all.
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