London Fields

Overview

Martin Amis's  most highly regarded novel—a blackly comic murder mystery about a murder that has not yet happened—in a full-cloth hardcover edition with silk ribbon marker. EVERYMAN'S LIBRARY CONTEMPORARY CLASSICS.

First published twenty-five years ago in 1989, London Fields is considered by many to be Amis's best novel. The narrator is an American writer living in London who has had writer's block for twenty years and is now terminally ill. The other main characters are a ...

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London Fields

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Overview

Martin Amis's  most highly regarded novel—a blackly comic murder mystery about a murder that has not yet happened—in a full-cloth hardcover edition with silk ribbon marker. EVERYMAN'S LIBRARY CONTEMPORARY CLASSICS.

First published twenty-five years ago in 1989, London Fields is considered by many to be Amis's best novel. The narrator is an American writer living in London who has had writer's block for twenty years and is now terminally ill. The other main characters are a bored and wealthy banker, a small-time criminal, and Nicola Six, a young woman who knows she will be murdered a few minutes after midnight on November 5, 1999, and who goes in search of her killer. Set ten years in the future, against a backdrop of environmental and social degradation and the looming threat of world instability and nuclear war, this is a highly unusual mystery with an unexpected twist at the end.

In this wildly ambitious and funny novel, one of England's brilliant young writers relates two murders in the making. The first is the self-orchestrated extinction of Nicola Six. The second is the murder of the Earth itself, whose fate seems intricately bound up with Nicola's.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A comic murder mystery, an apocalyptic satire, a scatological meditation on love and death and nuclear winter...by turns lyrical and obscene, colloquial and rhapsodic." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this very British tale, femme fatale Nicola Six manipulates racist, sexist scoundrel Keith Talent and well-mannered, naive Guy Clinch as an omniscient narrator/novelist spies on the trio in order to develop his book. ``Relentlessly bitter, often brutally funny, hypnotically readable, it may also be quite opaque in places to an American readership.''
Library Journal
Amis' disappointing...novel follows the machinations of promiscuous Nicola Six, a psychic who senses that she is to be murdered by one of two men she meets in a London bar. She systematically humiliates both--prole darts champ Keith and posh, ineffectual Guy--only to discover that for once her powers have misled her. Set ``at the end of the millennium'' against the background of a vaguely defined political/ecological/cosmological crisis, this novel is far longer than its thin content warrants. What can Amis have against these minimally developed characters that he devotes nearly 500 pages to demolishing them? There's disgust aplenty here--but little else. -- Grove Koger, Boise Public Library, Idaho
Library Journal
Amis' disappointing...novel follows the machinations of promiscuous Nicola Six, a psychic who senses that she is to be murdered by one of two men she meets in a London bar. She systematically humiliates both--prole darts champ Keith and posh, ineffectual Guy--only to discover that for once her powers have misled her. Set ``at the end of the millennium'' against the background of a vaguely defined political/ecological/cosmological crisis, this novel is far longer than its thin content warrants. What can Amis have against these minimally developed characters that he devotes nearly 500 pages to demolishing them? There's disgust aplenty here--but little else. -- Grove Koger, Boise Public Library, Idaho
Michiko Kakutani
A comic murder mystery, an apocalyptic satire, a scatological meditation on love and death and nuclear winter...by turns lyrical and obscene, colloquial and rhapsodic. -- The New York Times
Library Journal
Amis's (www.martinamisweb.com) darkly comic look at late 20th-century London and the despairing state of Western civilization was originally published in 1989 and is newly available on audio (the only other recording, on audiocassette, is no longer available). At the book's center are failed criminal/aspiring professional darts player Keith Talent; Guy Clinch, a rich, bored banker; Guy's son, Marmaduke, arguably the most horrendous infant in all of literature; Nicola Six, a party girl with a death wish; and the unreliable narrator, Sam Young, an American with writer's block. As these and assorted other colorful characters interact, Amis considers the not-always-fulfilled allures of love and fame. Adopting a gruff American accent, British actor Steven Pacey captures Sam's fascination with the characters' blunders and his barely concealed desire to manipulate their fates. This superb audio treatment of a great novel will appeal to those who enjoy serious fiction that attempts to encompass societal woes without being didactic. Darts fans may also be amused.—Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr. Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375712524
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/4/2014
  • Pages: 552

Meet the Author

Martin Amis

MARTIN AMIS is the author of fourteen novels, the memoir Experience, several collections of stories, and six nonfiction books. He lives in Brooklyn.

JOHN SUTHERLAND is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at University College London and a regular columnist at The Guardian.

Biography

The son of legendary English writer Kingley Amis, Martin Amis was born in Oxford in 1949 and attended a number of schools in Great Britain, Spain, and America. By his own admission he was a lackluster student. He spent much of his youth reading comic books, until his stepmother, the novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard, took him under her wing, introducing him to literature and encouraging him to study for university entrance. After months of furious cramming, he was accepted into Exeter College in Oxford, graduating with First Class Honors in English.

After graduation, Amis went to work as an editorial assistant at The Times Literary Supplement. In 1973, at the tender of age of 24, he published his award-winning debut novel, The Rachel Papers. Rife with the mordant black humor that would characterize all his fiction, this comic coming-of-age tale was a fitting debut for a career that would be fixated on sex, drugs, and the seamier aspects of modern culture. It also proved to be the first in a long string of bestsellers.

Amis is often grouped with the generation of British-based novelists that emerged during the 1980s and included Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, and Julian Barnes; but it is safe to say he has generated more controversy than his esteemed colleagues. No one feels neutral about Amis's novels. In a 1999 profile in Esquire, Sven Birkerts put it this way: "He is seen either as a cynically chugging bubble machine, way overrated for his hammy turns, or else as a dazzler, the next real thing."

In addition to his provocative fiction, Amis has grabbed more than his fair share of attention for antics off the page. Graced with youthful good looks, he enjoyed a reputation as a notorious womanizer (not unlike his famous father). Much photographed and buzzed about, he was dubbed early on the "enfant terrible" of English literature -- two parts writer, one part rock star. He attracted headlines like a magnet when he left his wife and children for a younger woman; when he fired his longtime literary agent, the wife of his good friend Julian Barnes; and when his new agent (unaffectionately nicknamed "the Jackal) secured for him an advance of 500,000 pounds, 20,000 pounds of which Amis spent on expensive American dental surgery.

Although reviewers are divided over Amis's long-range literary legacy, even his harshest critics begrudgingly acknowledge his stylistic genius, verbal agility, and biting, satirical wit. The novels for which he is best known (and most respected) comprise an informal trilogy: Money (1984), London Fields (1989), and The Information (1995). In addition, he has written short stories, essays, a nonfiction work on 20th-century communism, and an acclaimed memoir, Experience, detailing his relationship with his father, his writing career, and his convoluted family life. He also contributes regularly to newspapers, magazines, and journals.

Good To Know

Amis attended more than 13 schools while growing up in Great Britain, Spain and the United States.

He was named the "rock star of English literature" by the London Daily Telegraph in 1996.

Amis was profoundly shocked and grieved to discover that his long-lost, beloved cousin Lucy Partington, thought to have simply disappeared in 1973, had fallen victim to Fred West, one of England's most notorious serial killers.

In a much-publicized reunion in 1996, Amis met for the first time a young woman named Delilah Seale who was his daughter from a brief 1970s affair.

Amis has been influenced by several American novelists, including Philip Roth and John Updike, but none so profoundly as Saul Bellow, who became a mentor and something of a father figure.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Martin Louis Amis (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Oxford, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 25, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Oxford, England
    1. Education:
      B.A., Exeter College, Oxford

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