Success

( 2 )

Overview

In Success Amis pens a mismatched pair of foster brothers—one "a quivering condom of neurosis and ineptitude," the other a "bundle of contempt, vanity and stock-response"—in a single London flat. He binds them with ties of class hatred, sexual rivalry, and disappointed love, and throws in a disloyal girlfriend and a spectacularly unstable sister to create a modern-day Jacobean revenge comedy that soars with malicious poetry.

A black comedy about the privileged son ...

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Overview

In Success Amis pens a mismatched pair of foster brothers—one "a quivering condom of neurosis and ineptitude," the other a "bundle of contempt, vanity and stock-response"—in a single London flat. He binds them with ties of class hatred, sexual rivalry, and disappointed love, and throws in a disloyal girlfriend and a spectacularly unstable sister to create a modern-day Jacobean revenge comedy that soars with malicious poetry.

A black comedy about the privileged son of an upper-crust family and his adopted brother.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Gregory Riding and Terry Service, foster brothers who loathe each other, are the central characters in Martin Amis's pungent novel, originally published in England in 1978. For Gregory, London is a gilded galaxy, an endless whirl of smart parties, tony art galleries, and easy conquests. Terry's life is altogether more squalid, marred by a history of nagging sexual failures and missed opportunities. Inexplicably, success suddenly smiles on Terry as Gregory plunges to subterranean depths. But it is Gregory's story that most engages the reader's sympathy. In this unusual novel Amis provides a verbal feast for connoisseurs of fine writing; the prose is at times dazzling. But beneath the surface brilliance lies a serious exploration of contemporary life and morals. Highly recommended. Laurence Hull, Cannon Memorial Lib., Concord, N.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679734482
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/1991
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,400,307
  • Product dimensions: 5.19 (w) x 7.96 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Amis is the best-selling author of several books, including London Fields, Money, The Information, and, most recently, Experience. He lives in London.

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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