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London Fields
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on 12 September 2017
This was a choice for our Reading Group, but I did not take to it at all. I may have another try as some of the other members say they enjoyed it. But most did not.
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Incredible snapshots of personalities, observed so shrewdly and wittily. The writing keeps you on your toes. He's a wordsmith and the story frequently runs away, out of any logical content, often leaving you feeling confused; that you've missed something somewhere. Keep going. His ascerbic comments of the worst of human traits sit incongruously with the more tender observations of a young baby; such details!! Clever, clever man.
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on 7 July 2017
I've seen a few people leaving bad reviews for this lately, so I wanted to offer a counter argument.

Don't go in expecting a brilliant plot or to be emotionally uplifted, and there's a 50/50 chance you may hate the book. London Fields, however, is one of my favourite books of all time. I can understand why people might not like it, but Keith Talent is one of the greatest literary creations ever. The book is hilarious, and Martin Amis's writing style is awesome and will have you scratching your hear in wonder (and confusion).

His best novels are this, The Information, Time's Arrow and The Zone of Interest. I recommend them all (but you still might hate them).
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on 28 July 2016
An unusual novel in which each numbered Chapter of the books is preceeded by an unnumbered set of reflections from the narrator on the characters and his 'real life' interactions with them. The narrator is seriously ill and fated to die, and his plot is about the murder of one of his characters, which is, however, a murder she has taken time to plan and arrange through the Chapters of the book - and in her interactions with the narrator.

So this is not a 'realistic' novel. The characters are much larger than life - there's no prospect of the reader 'liking' or 'identifying' with anyone here; the prose is highly wrought, the plot on the one hand does develop but on the other has an end point set out pretty much from the start. There's no suspension of disbelief in such a test. The pleasure of reading the book come from the journey - perhaps it's easiest to give a sense of these by speaking about Marmaduke, a young child in the novel who spends his time physically attacking his parents, au pairs, and all other human beings who come into his range. Of course young children aren't like this, but...

My main reservations are that the novel doesn't deal with big issues (unlike say Gunter Grass' The Tin Drum) and I also missed the joie de vivre that Saul Bellow for example achieves in The Adventures of Augie March. But for some readers, this will be worth persevering with...

The introduction to the Everyman edition by John Sutherland by the way is - unusually for such introductions - informative, interesting and sheds light on the novel that follows.
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on 24 September 2015
As described
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on 12 October 2016
Lost track of what was going on, early. Only kept at it to get to know Mister Talent better. Must read again.
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on 19 April 2017
The only good thing I can associate with this book is the fact that I bought it 2nd hand for 1 pence (+ postage). I read at a moderate speed so I probably wasted 10 hours of my life labouring through this mess of a book. Isn't Martin Amis supposed to be highly regarded in the literary world? And this is considered his masterpiece? Reading this was like a dry run for purgatory.
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on 25 November 2013
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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on 15 December 2015
I really hate to write negative reviews.... but....

Taking an annoyingly arrogant and self righteous tone from the start, this book details the base and soulless actions of four main characters. I say characters but really each is so poorly drawn they are but a slim pairing of a couple of attributes, no depth, no reality, just paper thin unpleasant stereotypes that I found impossible to feel any empathy for.

Imagine, being forced to watch a 25 hour long reconstruction of a single Jeremy Kyle show, populated by actors who failed their Hollyoaks audition and keep shouting obscenities as loud as they can in a childish attempt to shock. . It's kinda like that.

The characters are : Keith the thief (your very basic violent paedophile, child molester, rapist, granny burglar), Guy the err.. guy (successful city type, father and yet completely unaware of basic facts about world war II and who, despite being married successfully for several years, has the emotional naivety of a Labrador puppy) and Nicola Six - sex (femme fatale and convenient visionary of the future - but only one plot crucial bit of the future).. And finally, the writer who acts as narrator, he is nearing cancerous death and is actually far better written and more interesting than the rest put together.

No spoilers there, all that is in Chapter One. Unfortunately it is in all the rest of the chapters too.
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With the narrator looking on, Guy and Keith spend 400 or so pages being horrible to everyone and trying to get into Nicola's knickers as if they were seeking Eldorado. . And that is it. Really. Nothing else happens. Read and repeat.. Sub-plots around Darts and sexually obsessed toddlers aside, that is it. 400+ long... long.... pages.

To my poor tired eyes this is a book uniquely bereft of joy, educational merit and point. Some reviewers say the characters are analogous of the class system is a dystopian society but I guess if you write your characters that thinly they'll slip happily into any pigeon hole you'd like.

I really do try to find some redeeming feature in any book, however.I would respectfully seriously suggest that London Fields is an experience to swerve. Hope that helps. :)
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on 3 February 2017
Good story as expected.
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