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Yellow Dog Paperback – 27 May 2004

3.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (27 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099267594
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099267591
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 448,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Martin Amis at his best... Wonderful... Extravagantly funny" (Guardian)

"As clever and convincing as ever" (Sunday Telegraph)

"[There] are moments of magical vigilance and great emotional delicacy, intimations of a quite different kind of writer that Amis could be, or would be, perhaps, were it not for the demands of his devastating comic gift" (Guardian)

"Mind tinglingly good... He seems to have guessed what you thought about the world, and then expressed it far better than you ever could... Here is a novel to silence the doubters...Amis has found a subject to match the tessellated polish of his style" (Observer)

"'Lucid... Daring... A blissful antidote to the arrhythmic stylelessness of so much contemporary fiction" (Time Out)

Book Description

'As funny as Dead Babies, as blackly portentous as London Fields and as satirically on-the-nail as Money' Mail on Sunday

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 2 Sept. 2003
Format: Hardcover
Amis' new novel - his first full-length fiction since "Night Train" in 1997 - has provoked considerable response in the UK press. As usual, the controversy has less to do with the book itself, than with the rather tawdry infighting so redolent of the London literary scene. Little attention has been paid to the actual novel, which does in fact demonstrate Amis writing (almost) to the peak of his considerable powers.
The themes and characters are familiar Amis tropes - low life crooks, the upper classes, pornography, and the "category-error" of rampant male violence. But "Yellow Dog" does see Amis branching out in the form to an extent not seen since 1991's "Time's Arrow". While the prose is versatile, endlessly inventive and cuttingly precise, Amis opts here for a fragmented form, stuttering and abrupt, that brilliantly reflects his central concerns. This is very much a 21st century novel, and it is permeated with a feeling of discontinuity and dull paranoia. It is also, as we have come to expect, very, very funny.
Occasionally this style doesn't quite pull together, and the ending (as is usual for an Amis book) isn't quite satisfactory, but there is no one else in the country who is producing literature as edgy and stylised as this. Amis is a modern master, and "Yellow Dog", while not being the best introduction for new readers, is absolutely essential for anyone who wants an early reading of what this century is going to be like. And in an unusual twist for the Amis canon, the book does attempt a redemptive conclusion. Perhaps Amis' dark and cynical imagination is beginning to move out into the light.
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Format: Hardcover
Spasmodically funny, clever and inventive it may be, but there's nothing here to engage the reader emotionally, and the intellectual bite of the novel isn't enough to justify such a trade-off. As ever with Amis, the writing is often truly inspired (if sometimes a bit try-hard), but entire sections of the novel (the aircraft bit) seem largely or wholly pointless, and others (the 'royal' scenes) unconvincing and dry. His unusual verbal dexterity ensures that his reputation will stay solid, but there are much more substantial, worthwhile novels being written.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Confusing, but (almost) always entertaining.

First off this is Martin Amis, so it must be judged by a different standard. Amis is one of the few writers who I will seek out and often read twice.
I've listened to 'Money' on Audible at least a dozen times. It is sublime.

Everything that could be said about 'Yellow Dog' has been said already by other reviewers. I especially like the Salvador Dali ditty.
Specifically re. Yellow Dog: the royal family strand to the novel does not sit well with gangster/porno vibe and the airplane crash is just plain (Amisesque homophonic quip there) incongruous - although I do appreciate the metaphor about male violence persisting beyond the grave.
Likewise... what is the relevance of the looming comet strand doing in this novel?

One frustrating Amis trait is his tendency to be abstract. While this keeps you guessing it can be downright confusing. Yellow Dog is full of examples: the eventual plane crash - what happened to the passengers? The blinding of Clint Smoker and his car crash - we can only guess what happened? We know the outcome, but not the exact events. Maybe I'm reading too fast!

Amis is always entertaining and that's surely the point. A novel is about entertainment. Amis is very entertaining.
This was the first time I've skipped a chapter in an Amis novel: a chapter about the fictitious royal family was simply boring and incredible.
The rest of the book was funny, clever, erudite and quite often brilliant.

Amis is at his best when he keeps it simple. Money: one central character, John Self; first person narrative: stream of consciousness.
But sometimes he's just too clever for the rest of us!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If all the prose, with the hallmark Amis magic of description, were assembled into a novel it would be pretty good. Unfortunately, he is just trying too hard to avoid convention. The result is dozens of characters in dozens of sub-plots apparently going nowhere. No doubt it would all come together in the end; it always does. But I didn't find any of the threads interesting enough to soldier on. The normal Amis's hyperbole and lead-weighted sarcasm work well in novels with a simpler structure, e.g. Money, but here they just seem gratuitous. Instead of a theme, we get his obsession with pornography, a little paedophilia, gratuitous violence, sexual anxiety etc. all thrown into a tub and stirred with obscure vocabulary. After 225 pages, you can't say I didn't try, I just gave up. I really didn't care how it ended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It took me two goes over the space of four years to finish this one off. At the time I started reading, I was suffering health problems which followed the arc of our hero's journey far too closely for my liking, and it proved too close to the bone for me at the time to plough through.

I've always loved Amis's work, however (a friend from way back and I recently discovered that Night Train was one of our mutual favourite books of all time, bar none) and not having finished Yellow Dog always returned to haunt me. It got to the point where I just had to know how it ended, however grim.

Having been given a Kindle paperwhite for Christmas (up there in invention terms with the wheel and fire) this was one of the first books on there. And so glad I did. The driving themes of the sins of the father, of what it takes to be a man and a true father to our own children in the new millenium, the sacrifices we make and the everyday violences we hide from our kids resonate with real power. And of course, the Amis characters, while grotesque, are as always as frighteningly real as they are morbidly fascinating.

An incredible book. One every father and father-to-be should read. Enjoy, or at least give it your best shot.
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