Time's Arrow

Time's Arrow

3.8 19
by Martin Amis
     
 

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In Time's Arrow the doctor Tod T. Friendly dies and then feels markedly better, breaks up with his lovers as a prelude to seducing them, and mangles his patients before he sends them home. And all the while Tod's life races backward toward the one appalling moment in modern history when such reversals make sense.

"The narrative moves with irresistible

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Overview

In Time's Arrow the doctor Tod T. Friendly dies and then feels markedly better, breaks up with his lovers as a prelude to seducing them, and mangles his patients before he sends them home. And all the while Tod's life races backward toward the one appalling moment in modern history when such reversals make sense.

"The narrative moves with irresistible momentum.... [Amis is] a daring, exacting writer willing to defy the odds in pursuit of his art."—Newsday

Editorial Reviews

Michiko Kakutani
. . .an inverted time scheme has been used before. . . .But whereas [other] stories moved from the disillusionment of time present back to the idealism and hopefulness of time pastMr. Amis' story moves from phony innocence to a past of unrelieved horror. . . .it's a risky narrative strategy. . . the top-heavy jokey part of the book overshadows its somber conclusionblunting its larger moral ambitions. —The New York Times
Los Angeles Times
Splendid . . . bold . . . gripping from start to finish.
Library Journal
For decades, writers have been striving to comprehend the Holocaust, and while its horror remains indelible, readers may wonder if there is another way of going over this relentlessly examined ground. In this swift, incisive little book, Amis succeeds in rendering the shock of the Holocaust wholly new by traveling backward in time. At the end of his life, the German-born American doctor Tod T. Friendly suffers a paralysis from which emerges ``the soul he should have had.'' This innocent soul follows ``time's arrow'' back through Tod's stay in America and his flight to Germany, finally arriving at the concentration camp where Friendly, as Odilo Unverdorben, served as a doctor of death. Trying to discover ``when the world is going to make sense,'' the confused if patient soul watches as the doctor injures the healed, revives Jews who have been gassed, and grows closer to his estranged wife. It concludes, ``We all know by now that violence creates, here on earth . . . it heals and mends.'' Amis's device, which at first seems merely a clever conceit, is handled so skillfully that living backwards becomes not only natural but a perfect metaphor for the Nazis' perverted logic. If he can't finally probe to the bottom of a mind that embraces atrocities, Amis has nevertheless written a thought-provoking, compelling book. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/91.--Barbara Hoffert, ``Library Journal''
Michiko Kakutani
. . .an inverted time scheme has been used before. . . .But whereas [other] stories moved from the disillusionment of time present back to the idealism and hopefulness of time past, Mr. Amis' story moves from phony innocence to a past of unrelieved horror. . . .it's a risky narrative strategy. . . the top-heavy jokey part of the book overshadows its somber conclusion, blunting its larger moral ambitions. -- The New York Times

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679735724
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/01/1992
Series:
Vintage International Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
197,635
Product dimensions:
5.13(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.44(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.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Oxford, England
Date of Birth:
August 25, 1949
Place of Birth:
Oxford, England
Education:
B.A., Exeter College, Oxford

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