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21. Martin Amis (Writers and their
23. Yellow Dog
24. Experience
25. Night Train.
26. The Fiction of Martin Amis
27. Koba the Dread: Laughter and the
28. Yellow Dog
29. Yellow Dog
30. The Moronic Inferno and Other
31. Understanding Martin Amis: Second
32. Father and Son: Kingsley Amis,
33. Martin Amis (Routledge Guides
34. Martin Amis und Graham Swift:
35. Expérience
36. Martians, Monsters and Madonna:
37. Martin Amis: Postmodernism and
38. Trauma Studies and Literature:
39. Invasion of the Space Invaders
40. Pornoland

21. Martin Amis (Writers and their Work)
by Nicholas Bentley
Paperback: 128 Pages (2010-12-15)
list price: US$26.00 -- used & new: US$26.00
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Asin: 0746311788
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Martin Amis is one of the most important and distinctive writers of the last 30 years; this study provides a critical evaluation of all his work from his first novel, The Rachel Papers, to The Pregnant Widow. ... Read more

Mass Market Paperback: 745 Pages (2009-07-21)
-- used & new: US$18.62
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Asin: 2070359433
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23. Yellow Dog
by Martin Amis
Paperback: 352 Pages (2005-01-04)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$3.14
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Asin: 1400077273
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant, painful, dazzling, and funny as hell, Yellow Dog is Martin Amis’ highly anticipated first novel in seven years and a stunning return to the fictional form.

When “dream husband” Xan Meo is vengefully assaulted in the garden of a London pub, he suffers head injury, and personality change. Like a spiritual convert, the familial paragon becomes an anti-husband, an anti-father. He submits to an alien moral system -- one among many to be found in these pages. We are introduced to the inverted worlds of the “yellow” journalist, Clint Smoker; the high priest of hardmen, Joseph Andrews; and the porno tycoon, Cora Susan. Meanwhile, we explore the entanglements of Henry England: his incapacitated wife, Pamela; his Chinese mistress, He Zhezun; his fifteen-year-old daughter, Victoria, the victim of a filmed “intrusion” that rivets the world -- because she is the future Queen of England, and her father, Henry IX, is its King. The connections between these characters provide the pattern and drive of Yellow Dog.

If, in the 21st century, the moral reality is changing, then the novel is changing too, whether it likes it or not. Yellow Dog is a model of how the novel, or more particularly the comic novel, can respond to this transformation.

But Martin Amis is also concerned here with what is changeless and perhaps unchangeable. Patriarchy, and the entire edifice of masculinity; the enormous category-error of violence, arising between man and man; the tortuous alliances between men and women; and the vanished dream (probably always an illusion, but now a clear delusion) that we can protect our future and our progeny.

Meo heard no footsteps; what he heard was the swish, the shingly soft-shoe of the hefted sap. Then the sharp two-finger prod on his shoulder. It wasn’t meant to happen like this. They expected him to turn and he didn’t turn -- he half-turned, then veered and ducked. So the blow intended merely to break his cheekbone or his jawbone was instead received by the cranium, that spacey bulge (in this instance still quite marriageably forested) where so many delicate and important powers are so trustingly encased.

He crashed, he crunched to his knees, in obliterating defeat. . . .
-- from Yellow Dog

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (32)

3-0 out of 5 stars . . . not so much
First off, I am definitely a fan. There.

This is just the sort of a book where a master writer is sitting in his study and twiddling his thumbs and his editor rings and says, "Hey, I need something. You got anything?" and the writer hops a few jigs and puts something down while listening to some over ripe trippy tunes lays a few pages down and suddenly says, now this! - this'll do just fine. Actually, no, it won't do. It won't do at all. It's fine if you are a bloke in a bar waitin' on some little bird to show up and she's about an hour late and the peanuts are out; it's fine for a ride on the train; it's not fine for most women. Note to male writer: most women do not want to see inside your bathroom. No matter how charming and assiduously color coordinated; no matter the raised royal crest on a bar of soap; nope, no way and no how. When are the male writers in the world going to wake up from their coffee stupor and realize that real live women are actually going to pick up their books and give them a look see? Maybe I am sounding sexist. Too bad. Ah well, I'm sure someone as talented and skilled as Mr. Amis won't be losing any winks over this damsel's hastily written book review. Not that this book is totally uninteresting; not that at all; the distressing part is that the storyline is interesting and stealthily succeeds in luring the reader into this seemingly innocent tale about a writer who becomes victim to a crime then there is this dabbling all over the place with the King's mess and the King's Love and this is where I just couldn't take it anymore, I wanted to, but I couldn't do it; I couldn't go on with it; if it were a board game I would have thrown my pieces to someone else and said, "You go, I'm out." It reminded me of some of my lesser writings things I'd written that I wished I hadn't and I thought; ah, love, experience. Yes, maybe this one is a bit of an experience. There are pairings of vivid greatness mixed with moments of pure distaste, and I wondered, how can a writer who so mellifluously has the world as a hand tamed pigeon cooing on his shoulder and writes such achingly gorgeous sentences; also, couple such passages with pure drivel? I don't get it; and then again, I do get it. All too clearly. I'm sure the lads will be quite happy with this read. And the ladies? For this one at least, not so much.

5-0 out of 5 stars A farce full of word acrobatics and memorable characters
As a reviewer from the continent, I am blissfully unaware of what has made Martin Amis(MA)such a controversial person in his homeland. The Economist, in a recent, rather positive review of MA's latest, The Pregnant Widow, found it opportune to remind its readers that Yellow Dog(YD) was a substandard novel. According to which standards? Whose standards? MA is not the world's greatest plotter of novels, but his characters are superlative and his language use astonishing.
MA writes to sooth his many fears and obsessions, such as the Bomb, pollution, competition among males, fatherhood, flying, the resurgence of Russia, and the non-working working class in Britain. In earlier books MA invented some unforgettable creatures such as the baby then toddler-from-hell Marmaduke, and Keith Talent, a gross yob aspiring to immortality in the game of darts. In YD, MA returns to his obsession with tabloids, its writers, targets and readers.
D's hero, Xan has become a model husband and father of two since his acrimonious divorce, also a public figure, active on TV and as an author. Once a year he visits a neighbourhood pub to celebrate his continued good behaviour with a few drinks. And out of nowhere he is accosted by two strangers and beaten up very badly. When he is released from hospital his personality is changed, perhaps forever...
MA links Xan with an outrageous cast of characters to explain the attack: wife, ex-wife and children; a tabloid journalist obsessed with the size of his manhood and his mobile phone girlfriend; King Henry IX ("Henry England"), his Chinese girlfriend, his male personal secretary and his daughter Victoria, very blackmail-prone, and a rancorous crime boss/long stay guest of penitentiary institutions, a psychotic football star, to mention a few.
The novel provides SMS-talk from another planet and previews to totally new sub-genres in filmed pornography.Depressed? Read this book. It makes you laugh. Translators of MA deserve pity, admiration and stipends on top of their normal rates. But no translation can better the original.

2-0 out of 5 stars Virtuosity without Empathy
My first Martin Amis, and I think, given his patriarchal theme, I will stick with his dad Kingsley in future.
Amis is bold - no question - dealing with subjects such as incest, gratuitious violence, rage, drug abuse, pornography, impotence, spousal rape. He even invents his own language for the character k8 (Kate) which is witty after you figure it out.He enters the world of porn with terms like Blackeye, Cockout, Redface, Boxback, Yellow tongue, Facial - some explained, others left to our imagination. His descriptions are equally visceral; he describes a planeload of disembarking passengers as " the tube of canned sex emptied in relays of tits, pits and zits "
Four of the five disparate story strands sort of came together in the end, while the fifth one about the crashing airliner, didn't connect at all, and I wondered why it was there - further proof of male superiority, even from the grave?
My issue with this book was that everyone in it (except for baby Sophia) is a bad, twisted person and I am not sure if anyone was redeemed in the end - so why bother?
And the writer demonstrated arrogance in starting his scenes anywhere he damned well cared, letting the reader hang on for dear life and try and fit all the pieces together. I dislike all this "work" when reading to be entertained, educated and enlightened.
I guess, in writing this book, Amis displayed his virtuosity with words but severely limited our view on his empathy towards human character.
Shane Joseph www.shanejoseph.com

3-0 out of 5 stars WE ARE NOT AMUSED
Juvenal called his book of satires a `farrago', and the word fits Yellow Dog very well. It's satire, it's a farrago of many different themes and plots, and it's a very clever farrago because Martin Amis is a very clever little man.

I shall say immediately that I didn't much care for the book, and I shall try to explain why. However I don't criticise either book or author for being clever, for instance in having so many threads to the narrative. Amis's skill and professionalism ensure that the variety of plots and threads combine very well. If any of us find it a bit of an effort to hold the thing together in our heads, that's our own look-out in my opinion. It is not the job or duty of any author to write down to any sort of common denominator. What would be an interesting essay or exam question for advanced Eng Lit students might be `What is this book about?' `Yellow Dog' is the title of a column by a downmarket tabloid journalist, but a yellow dog puts in an appearance right at the end in a more serious context. Various press summaries that I have seen select as some kind of central theme the personality change undergone by one character, but, really, who are they to say, and why should that be the main narrative? Why should it have priority over King Henry IX, for instance?

I am not going to stick my head above the parapet and offer my own opinion about what the main plot is, perhaps because I have no clear opinion on the matter. However one definite common factor is the satirical observation that pervades the story. There are brilliant take-off's of Prince Charles, man-of-the-people journalism, footballers' statements, tough-guy criminals, text messaging, very likely of the pornography industry too, and probably indeed more types of people and types of culture are being mimicked than I have detected. What about north London intellectuals? What Russia (a female character) writes to her husband about father/daughter interactions definitely has a serious side to it, but I'd be surprised if there is not a bit of mockery of north London chatter there as well. It's all very clever, as I said, but it gets on my nerves after a while. Imagine if you will some smartyboots type of guy who specialises in taking everyone off. He quickly becomes a bore, and often a downright objectionable bore. I loved a lot of the detail and I certainly admired the acuteness of much of it, but I soon got enough of it.

The press clippings adorning my edition are nothing if not fulsome. One feature that comes in for considerable acclaim is the humour `Extravagantly funny...' `As funny as Dead Babies...' `...devastating comic gift'. We are not devastated, we fear. In fact I laughed at precisely three things in the whole 140 pages of the novel, and two of those are not of Amis's authorship. Certainly he had a good instinct when he chose to tell us that Henry VIII had a Groom of the Stool to attend his bowel movements, and I had to go along with the derision at the sentiment `Flowers are God smiling at us' when uttered by the monstrous gangsters the Kray twins. Full marks to the author himself for choosing the name He (pron `Her') for a Chinese erstwhile mistress of the King. Otherwise I found the humour about as funny as dead Gazans or dead Zimbabweans for the most part.

It must be quite clear that all this is a purely personal reaction of my own, and I do not wish to pass it off as objective criticism or evaluation. If asked what I liked most about the story I would pick out the strong element of fantasy, and I am quite prepared to rate that as more important than the narcissistic smartness that I found wearisome. Where I see that others have found fault with the book, namely in its complexity, I will come to the author's defence, and indeed I have already done so at the start of this notice. What I have tried to do, as fairly as I can, is to convey something of the flavour of the book. Not my own favourite flavour, but no reason why it should not be yours.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another Amis classic
Martin is the master, and he's spot-on with his indictment of what passes for culture today. The seemingly disparate plots intertwine beautifully and surprisingly, and his mastery of the language is something to behold. ... Read more

24. Experience
by Martin Amis
Paperback: 401 Pages (2001-04-05)
list price: US$16.50 -- used & new: US$10.29
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Asin: 0099285827
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Product Description
Martin Amis is perhaps the most gifted and innovative novelist of his generation. His prose refashions the English language into a lean and brilliant instrument, dazzling readers with its energy and wit. In this much anticipated memoir, Amis writes with striking candour about his life and looks intimately at the process of writing itself.As the son of a famous writer, the great comic novelist Kingsley Amis, Martin Amis' explores his relationship with his father and writes about the various crises of Kingsley's life, including the final crisis of his death. Amis also examines the case of his cousin, Lucy Partington, who disappeared without trace in 1973 and was exhumed in 1994 from the back garden of Frederick West, Britain's most prolific serial killer. Inevitably, too, the memoir records the changing literary scene in Britain and the United States, with many anecdotes and pen portraits. ... Read more

25. Night Train.
by Martin Amis
Paperback: 172 Pages (2001-02-01)

Isbn: 3596149355
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26. The Fiction of Martin Amis
Paperback: 208 Pages (2002-09-06)
list price: US$38.00 -- used & new: US$15.41
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Asin: 1840461357
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In this Readers' Guide, Nicolas Tredell explores the critical judgements and interpretations generated by Amis's novels and short stories over the past quarter of a century. Drawing on reviews, essays, interviews, and books, it brings together material on Amis which has never previously been collected and provides the most wide-ranging examination of his fiction so far, considering key issues such as his use of language, his concern with time, apocalypse and corruption, his relation to modernity and postmodernity, his representation of women and sexuality, and his treatment of the Holocaust.
... Read more

27. Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million
by Martin Amis
Paperback: 336 Pages (2003-09-09)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$3.39
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Asin: 1400032202
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A brilliant weave of personal involvement, vivid biography and political insight, Koba the Dread is the successor to Martin Amis’s award-winning memoir, Experience.

Koba the Dread captures the appeal of one of the most powerful belief systems of the 20th century — one that spread through the world, both captivating it and staining it red. It addresses itself to the central lacuna of 20th-century thought: the indulgence of Communism by the intellectuals of the West. In between the personal beginnings and the personal ending, Amis gives us perhaps the best one-hundred pages ever written about Stalin: Koba the Dread, Iosif the Terrible.

The author’s father, Kingsley Amis, though later reactionary in tendency, was a “Comintern dogsbody” (as he would come to put it) from 1941 to 1956. His second-closest, and then his closest friend (after the death of the poet Philip Larkin), was Robert Conquest, our leading Sovietologist whose book of 1968, The Great Terror, was second only to Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago in undermining the USSR. The present memoir explores these connections.

Stalin said that the death of one person was tragic, the death of a million a mere “statistic.” Koba the Dread, during whose course the author absorbs a particular, a familial death, is a rebuttal of Stalin’s aphorism.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (61)

3-0 out of 5 stars Odd attack on author's amigo overshadows story about Stalin
I chose this book for two reasons: (1) I'm a fan of stories about Stalin and (2) I loved author Amis' wonderfully weird Time's Arrow. In spite of my belief that any book that causes a stir about Stalin "and the Twenty Million" is worth a look, I couldn't get beyond thinking it was just so-so. It reads as if Amis chose his topic, grabbed all the books on his shelf concerning Stalin, read through them, thought about conversations he'd had with others on the subject, and then shared his views on what he found out (with chapters arranged by subject instead of the more conventional chronological format). Even the interesting stuff, like the beginning (an attempt to provide perspective for the magnitude of the twenty million lives lost) loses its luster with the reader's realization that he's taken it straight from Robert Conquest's Harvest of Sorrow. Additionally, Amis chooses to accuse Christopher Hitchens, a friend and colleague, of several things, like making light of conditions in the USSR at the time of Stalin, including (p 47) that he denied the famine [of which there was more than one] as described in this passage, `"What about the famine?" I once asked him. "There wasn't a famine," he said smiling slightly and lowering his gaze. "There may have been occasional shortages...."' Later on, the author includes an open "Letter to a Friend" directed at Hitchens in which he berates him for his supposed (p 248), "...reverence for Lenin and" "unregretted discipleship of Trotsky."

While I agree with Amis' assertion that (p 203), "All his life Stalin was a consistently terrible little man;" and appreciate both his references to Gulag memoirs and pseudo-memoirs like: Man is Wolf to Man by Janusz Bardach, Journey Into the Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzburg, and Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov and the buzz the book brought; I could do without the Hitchens hullabaloo (read more about the battle in The Atlantic). Better: The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Russia by Tim Tzouliadis, Coming Out of the Ice: An Unexpected Life by Victor Herman (MP3 format/unabridged version only), and The Case of Comrade Tulayev by Victor Serge.

2-0 out of 5 stars The Ladybird Book of Stalinism
Martin Amis has spent many years cultivating a reputation as a kind of fashionably oafish nihilist. A child of privilege, his work sometimes bubbles with insincere dreams of slumming it with a view to becoming more 'real'. The locus classicus is a passage from his novel 'The Rachel Papers' where the autobiographical protagonist declares:

'The thing is that I am a member of that sad, ever-dwindling minority ... the child of an unbroken home. I have carried this albatross since the age of eleven, when I started at grammar school.'
[p. 11]

And now - for some strange reason - he has written a non-fiction overview of Joseph Stalin's reign of terror, which is about as far into the depths of privation and misery as one can go. With it, Amis wants to be taken morally seriously. And frightfully so.

'Koba the Dread' is something of a teratological mess. The main body consists of a history of Stalinism, but there are all sorts of misplaced limbs sticking out of it: along the way Amis decides to chronicle his father's association with Communism; to mourn the passing of his sister; and to mount an attack on his friend Christopher Hitchens.

The horrors of Soviet rule which Amis delineates were real. Yet it's difficult to avoid the impression that in chronicling them, Amis was privately thrilled by how morally appalled he became. He seems to have poured himself a nice warm bath of other people's misery and climbed in for a good wallow. (Of course, unlike those who suffered, he can climb out again at any time.) Examples:


'Your chair is never softer, your study never warmer, your prospect of the evening meal never more secure than when you read about the gulag; the epic agony of the gulag. And your lecteurial [sic] love for Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (at such moments you are tempted to reach for Aleksandr Isayevich) never more intense. "How much does the Soviet Union weigh?" Stalin once rhetorically asked ... '

... at which point Amis goes on to produce an excerpt from Solzhenitsyn's reply to a summons which stated: 'I refuse to acknowledge the legality of your summons and shall not report for questioning to any agency of the state.' And then Amis adds with a flourish: 'And for that moment, the Soviet Union and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn weighed about the same.'
[p. 59]

The expression hasn't been coined yet, but this is what one could call 'stomping on the shoulders of giants.' In the margin beside this passage I have simply scribbled 'Ugh'.


Here is Amis's idea of a moral disclaimer:

'The tortures described by Solzhenitsyn are unendurable. This reader has endured none of them; and I will proceed with caution and unease.'
[p. 61]

Well, that's jolly decent of him. One might suppose, of course, that describing something as 'unendurable' relieves one of the obligation to point out that you have not endured it. And in promising that he will 'proceed with caution and unease' Amis has accidentally yoked together the voluntary and the involuntary ... unless we assume that he has *decided* to be uneasy.


Sometimes the unction flowing from Amis's pen congeals into treacle. For example:

'There existed at the time a gramophone record of one of Stalin's longer speeches. It ran to eight sides, or rather seven, because the eighth consisted entirely of applause.'

But it's not enough to amaze the reader with this fact. Amis decides to pilot them through their response to it:

'Now close this book for a moment and imagine sitting there listening to that eighth side, at night, in the Moscow of 1937. It must have sounded like the approach of fear, like the music of psychosis, like the rage of the state.'
[p. 151]

I'm bound to admit that I can't imagine what 'the music of psychosis' would sound like. But I will say that after reading this passage, I experienced the first of many moments where I did feel like closing the book.


Worse, Amis goes from ventriloquising the reader to ventriloquising those whom he has read. After quoting a passage from Yevgenia Ginzburg, he adds:

'Reading this, Solzhenitsyn, with his national-historical grasp, must have given a long, low whistle.'
[p. 65]

... Another thing I simply can't imagine: but then again, I didn't close the book and try. Amis goes on to quote another passage from Ginzburg, a moving scene in which her period of solitary confinement ends and she is overjoyed to re-enter the company of her fellow human beings. Amis's comment?

'So human, so dear.'
[p. 74]

Somebody once described book reviewers as 'little old ladies of both sexes'. Reading Amis's approving remark, one can almost hear the clink of the teaspoon on the Tupperware.


Amid all this rhapsodizing, however, the mask of sincerity just keeps slipping. Amis self-interrupts with passages such as:

'Q. What's the difference between a Communist proselytizer and a Communist car? A. You can close the door on a Communist proselytizer.'
[p. 12]

'Joke. Q: Why are the USSR and America the same? A: Because in the USSR you can joke about America and in America you can joke about America.'
[p. 20]

'"Considering that Trotsky / Did not ski / It was a bit thick / To fricassee his brains with an ice pick." You could always joke about it.'
[p. 45]

Really? Why therefore is it that this book - subtitled 'Laughter and the Twenty Million' - should take as it's theme the lack of seriousness surrounding the victims of Stalin? It seems that Amis is taking the matter no more seriously than those whom he condemns.

We are left wondering why a novelist like Amis, who cannot read Russian, nor has ever interviewed a Gulag survivor, might feel as though he is well-positioned to write a book on the history of Soviet repression. In a section labelled 'Credentials', he explains - before quickly changing the subject - that:

'I am a fifty-two-year-old novelist and critic who has recently read several yards of books about the Soviet experiment.'

How many books in a yard? It's difficult to tell, because Amis has not supplied us with a bibliography. This is part of the problem: the book has a cloying earnestness about it which demands that we take it seriously. But adding a bibliography would put it into the category of actual research, and thus expose the intellectual nudity of the whole enterprise. (Not surprisingly, every book mentioned in it that's not a memoir is a secondary source.) It would also allow readers to satisfy their curiosity regarding the source of such unreferenced jawdroppers as:

'Between 1 January 1917 and 1 January 1923, the price of goods increased by a factor of 100 million.'
[p. 29n]

'the urkas ... played cards for each others' eyes.'
[p. 68]

'the "mosquito treatment": these insects, like airborne piranha, could turn a man into a skeleton within hours.'
[p. 227n]

The conclusion is easy to reach. Nobody can cheapen an atrocity quite like Martin Amis. Reading him pawing at the memories of millions of dead people while digressing stupidly into bad jokes and family history was a grotesque experience.

4-0 out of 5 stars Crie de coeur or something
Every book, every word, that despises Stalin is important. Amis does a good job destroying whatever notions people might have that Uncle Joe was maybe not such a bad guy. He was a terrible guy. Right behind Hitler for worst guy ever. Here's the thing -- and Amis makes a point of it -- Hitler didn't last very long. Stalin lasted 30 years.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stalinist Intellectuals
Martin Amis is both the son of a highly acclaimed novelist and himself an accomplished writer.In Koba the Dread:Laughter and the Twenty Million (New York:Hyperion, c. 2002), he ponders the incredible slaughter of millions of innocent Russians by Joseph Stalin and the equally pernicious failure of Western intellectuals to discern and denounce it.His famous father (Kingsley) was for years a "fellow traveler," supporting the USSR until he became disillusioned with Stalin.Troubled by this, Martin tries to look back and summarize the enormity of the Stalin's genocide and simultaneously fathom the complicity of his English enablers.
Most of Amis's information comes from the path-breaking historical work of Robert Conquest (a family friend) and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who have documented how ruthlessly Stalin followed this prescription:"'Death solves all problems.No man, no problem'" (p. 57).Murder, on a mass scale, marked his regime and explained his lengthy reign.But the value of this work is not its information, which has been widely available for decades.What Amis provides, in a non-systematic way, is insight into the support Stalin enjoyed around the world, for it was his "ideology" that justified his atrocities.Thus the same intellectuals who staunchly condemned the Nazis often defended the Bolsheviks.
As Orlando Figes explained it, "'the Bolshevik programme was based on the ideals of the Enlightenment--it stemmed from Kant as much as from Marx--which makes Western liberals, even in this age of post-modernism, sympathise with it . . . even if we do not share its political goals; whereas the Nazi efforts to "improve mankind," whether through eugenics or genocide spat in the face of the Enlightenment and can only fill us with revulsion'" (p. 85).In fact, the Bolsheviks were far worse than the Nazis."Nazism did not destroy civil society.Bolshevism did destroy civil society" (p. 88).Thus Germany, her basic institutions and traditions intact, recovered quickly following WWII, whereas Russia still welters in the wasteland created by Lenin and Stalin.
One mark of that growing wasteland appeared early as Russians quickly failed to reproduce themselves."Since 1917 the Bolsheviks had systematically undermined the family.Divorce was encouraged (to achieve it you were simply obliged to notify your spouse by postcard); incest, bigamy, adultery and abortion were decriminalized; families were scattered by labor-direction and deportation; and children who denounced their parents became national figures, hymned in verse and song" (p. 154).Cultural chaos so quickly consumed the land that within two decades the regime decreed abortion illegal and Stalin suddenly appeared as a champion of traditional family life!Then the Germans invaded and WWII began and Stalin revoked many of the restrictions on the Russian Orthodox Church, appealing to the ancient religion in his war with the Nazis.
He did so, however, with a severely depleted military.Amazingly, his brutal purges in the `30's led to the following reductions:"3 of the 5 marshals; 13 of the 15 army commanders; 8 of the 9 fleet admirals and admirals Grade I; 50 of the 57 corps commanders; 154 of the 186 divisional commanders; 16 of the 16 army political commissars; 25 of the 28 corps commissars; 58 of the 64 divisional commissars; 11 of 11 vice commissars of defense; 98 of the 108 members of the Supreme Military Soviet" (p. 175).That the officer corps, generally the least political of the public servants, would be so savagely dismembered bears witness to the nature of Stalin's tyranny."One soldier likened the purge to `a Tartar massacre,' but even this understates the case.As Roy Medvedev put it:`Never has the officer corps of any army suffered such losses in any war as the Soviet Army suffered in this time of peace" (p. 175).
Thanks to the American and British armies, of course, the Axis powers were defeated and Stalin laid claim to much of Eastern Europe as well as reestablished his dictatorship following WWII.And strangely enough, Amis says, Stalin proved to be "an extremely popular leader" (p. 212).Millions were sent to their deaths in the camps, millions were deliberately starved, but the leader remained popular!He did so by manipulating public opinion.He, like Hitler, mastered all the means of propaganda, the "hypnotic power of mass ideology" (p. 213)."The love for Stalin:it is very nearly the saddest story of all" (p. 213).
But why Western intellectuals joined the Russian masses, loving Stalin, remains a mystery to Amis. He describes, but fails to explain this phenomenon.I suspect he lacks the philosophical and theological acumen to rightly diagnose the powerful allure communism posed for intellectuals who had abandoned the principles of Western Civilization.But he does at least divulge the disillusionment many, like him, now share as they reflect upon the past century.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Different Approach
I have read some of the reviews critical of this book. Many of them say, quite accurately, that Amis is no Robert Conquest in the treatment of the horrors of Stalinism. That is true, yet, at the same time, paradoxically, I think that that is one of its strengths. With many of the histories, you have an overwhelming amount of evidence and historical fact (which in the United States, France, Holland, Germany and the UK is blithely ignored). Then you have the personal accounts of some of the victims of the Gulag who were able to survive and give an account of their experiences and those too are valuable. What I think makes Amis' work valuable is that he combines both the personal and the historical approach. In the former he was no victim of the KGB or the Gulag, true, but he did experience the apathy towards Stalin's crimes that was so overwhelmingly present in the Western liberal intelligentsia---and which is still there to this very day. Let's face it, compared to Stalin, Hitler was a boy scout. Yet, his crimes are ignored in the West and if one brings them up among a gathering of liberal intellectuals, one is treated as if having committed an embarrassing social blunder, like farting in an enclosed elevator. Consequently, it is for these reasons that Amis' book is of value. But only as a supplement, not as the main focus of the subject matter. ... Read more

28. Yellow Dog
by Martin Amis
Paperback: 368 Pages (2008)

Isbn: 3423137223
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29. Yellow Dog
by Martin Amis
Paperback: 352 Pages (2005)

Isbn: 0676976174
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Dissection of our need for violence and pornography
As usual in an Amis novel the wordplay is sparkling. Yellow Dog examines in a bizarrely comic plot the way violence and pornography permeate our "sophisticated" culture, how these primitive phenomena percolate through our high-tech, media-saturated world. The horrible reviews this book has received are inexplicable except perhaps by jealousy or an exaggerated response to regression to the (very exalted) mean. ... Read more

30. The Moronic Inferno and Other Visits to America
by Martin Amis
Paperback: 208 Pages (1991-04-12)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$5.00
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Asin: 0140127194
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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With mixed feelings of wonder and trepidation, the brilliant British writer Martin Amis approaches America and introduces this sharp and thoroughly stimulating collection of "American" pieces. From Claus von Bulow to the New Evangelists, little escapes Amis' curiosity. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Celebration of the Genius of American Stupidity
Amis's father was a genius. Think about it for a minute and then consider what poor Martin has been up against. That said, Martin is a bit of a genius himself. One of the key signs if not proofs of genius is the talent to recognize one without shriveling up in jealousy. Amis here celebrates the genius of the great American writers, if not the genius of the great American people. Like many sensible Americans - John Adams, Mencken, Allen Bloom - Amis is not quite ready to embrace the moronic inferno (Saul Bellow's phrase), perhaps out of fear of being burned alive. He may be horrified, but he is amused. Amis's fiction is heavily influenced by American authors. His favorite, Saul Bellow, has had a profound influence on him. Amis here expresses his appreciation of Bellow, who became Amis's friend during the last years of his life, and of Updike, a very different sort of writer, but Amis can see genius and takes pleasure in it for its own sake. He is capable of an inexhaustible generosity when he recognizes a great mind at work. He reviews Mailer's flawed "Executioner's Song" - the Gary Gilmore "factional" novel, which Amis thinks is good for 300 pages and then sort of runs out of steam for another 700 pages.He writes, too, about other aspects of America, but he rarely says anything especially insightful, blah, blah, AIDS, blah, blah, blah. No, Amis has a good brain but, like many British authors, he thinks he is at his best being sardonic. The truth is that he writes better when he is in love. The appreciations of great writers are first class, the rest is filler.

5-0 out of 5 stars Codswallop

"The good bits are so fortuitous, indeed (mere reflexes of a large and callous talent), and the no-good bits so monolithic, that the critic's role is properly reduced to one of helpless quotation."
-Martin Amis in an essay on William Burroughs.

I'm a fan of a good essay, and Martin Amis is a worthy essayist.This collection of essays is somewhat artificial in its construct, as the author tells us in his apologetic introduction, "I should have worker harder, but was quite hard work getting all this stuff together."He also warns that these are journalistic articles.In other words, written to please editors and tailored to the audiences of specific journals, "the hack and the whore have much in common: late nights, venal gregariousness, social drinking, a desire to please, simulated liveliness, dissimulated exhaustion- you keep having to do it when you don't feel like it."

The theme uniting these essays is America, writings about Americans or about the culture or country itself, a place that we are told both frightens and excites the author.Although he conceded it is a hodgepodge of writings, an overall theme does emerge and unites the individual pieces.The author's overall prejudice is no secret, after all, the title of the book is "The Moronic Inferno."America, from the European perspective, seems to be extremist, raucous, juvenile and provincial.Too which I will refrain from replying with my loudest, most passive-aggressive: "Whatever."

His reviews of American authors are never without links between their individual styles and a greater American ethos.American writing, like American society, is characterized by "excess, solipsism, enmity, paranoia and ambition." American writing is influenced by the fame and fortunes of its authors, to an extent not seen in England "where the boundaries between success and its opposite are often hard to establish."

In a piece on Saul Bellow, he refers to "the American predilection for Big Novels as a vulgar neurosis- like the American predilection for big cars or big hamburgers."
He comments on what he sees as uniquely American feuds, like the one between Vidal and Capote, "hatreds which often extend to litigation." Norman Mailer is the "cosseted superbrat of American letters," another victim of the American "vacuum of success," "unembarrassable to the last."The Jack Abbott story, is framed as a tragedy but "it is a farce too, an American rodeo of inverted callousness and pretension.Could this happen anywhere else?The world looks on fascinated, rubbing its eyes."

His highest praise for an American writer goes to Gore Vidal, who he describes as "incorrigibly anti-American."He swoons "My, is Gore unpatriotic!" "I have never met an American so English in his Irony."But in the end, he takes Gore down as well for arguing that the family is an economic unit rather than a biological one, "the whole line sounds rather... American, does it not, tending to reduce argument to a babble of interested personalities, an exchange of stricture and veto, with money as the bottom line?"

Fat, late-period Elvis and Hugh Heffner are discussed as embodiments of American success (Michael Jackson could fit in here as well if he had written of him), people who operate in a universe in which all of their personal relationships are defined by a power differential, people surrounded by sycophants to the point where there are no external checks and balances with which to maintain a Super-Ego.There is a great line about Hugh Heffner, describing him living his whole life indoors in the Playboy mansion, "a man who never goes out, who rises at mid-afternoon, who wanders his draped mansion in slippers and robe (whose lifestyle, on paper, resembles nothing so much as a study in terminal depression)."

His descriptions of American locales are rich with continental condescension as well."American cities appear to have a habit of surrounding their seats of learning with slums."Indianapolis, Indiana, where Kurt Vonnegut grew up is "a cultural Nothingville."In Palm Beach, where the only activity is leisure, "people talk obsessively about real estate- partly, I suppose, because it is an informal way of talking obsessively about money.""Like all provincial elites, the Palm Beach beau monde is both baffling and uninteresting, an enigma that you don't particularly want to solve."He writes of El Paso, Texas, "This felt like Reagan Country all right, where everything is big and fat and fine.This is where you feel slightly homosexual and left-wing if you don't weigh twenty-five stone."(Great description of the jocular laughter from the press following Reagan's travels, "Their laughter, like so much American laughter, did not express high spirits or amusement but a willed raucousness.")Steven Spielberg's secret connection with his audience is ascribed in part to "the very blandness of his suburban origins," "I wondered if he had ever really left the chain-line ranch-style embryos of his youth."His essay on Joan Didion's style opens with the sentence "Joan Didion is the poet of the Great California Emptiness."A playmate from Nebraska is "Miss Nowhere," "from some dismal ex-prairie state."

You also get that British style of spelling, the extra letters, "an hilarious."Humor isn't funny without an extra `u,' "humour."Pajamas spelled "pyjamas."Just in case you wanted to forget for a moment that this is a Brit writing disdainfully of American culture.

So.As an American, am I offended?No, it's great.I read it not masochistically or as a self-loathing American, but it is great writing with some spot on observations.More than just a collection of good bits.He wrote of the Evangelical Right, back in 1980, worried about their growing political influence in a discerning way that demonstrates serious prescience.The insights with perhaps the greatest significance come in to chapters written during the eighties when America first struggled to make sense of the emerging AIDS epidemic.Although I'm not convinced this is uniquely American, he discusses a society that "actively resists enlightenment" about certain human themes.Themes such as homosexuality, sexual disease, and death, which had a forced public confluence with the emergence of AIDS.Some things we are more comfortable fearing than trying to understand.He talks about the distracted energy that goes into euphemisms, `sexual orientation' changes to `sexual preference,' for example, "It is a very American dishonesty- antiseptic spray from the verbal-sanitation department.Having named a painful reality (the belief seems to be), you also dispatch it; you get it off your desk."

So I'm not offended by the judgmental tone of writing when the writing also happens to be high quality, humorous and thought provoking.

And what's more- and here I'll borrow a phrase Amis wrote of Gloria Steinem's humor- "its satirical accuracy is enlivened by affection."Beneath it all, beneath the insults that decorate his observations about America and Americans, there is warmth and I sense even a touch of jealousy.There is that secret British desire to be on the inside of the hysterical circles of "willed raucousness. Underneath all the invective, I really sense envy of what he sees as the rambunctious chaos of America.A secret desire for the volatile and foul-mouthed freedom afforded by our pervasive and accepted cultural ignorance.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sharp journalism - and an insight into Amis's fiction
Martin Amis is well known for his admiration of American fiction, which has manifestly influenced his own literary style, and he frequently draws on aspects of US culture in his work.

Yet there are aspects of American society and culture that horrify this middle class English writer (to be fair, they horrify many other people as well). For example there is a chilling investigation into child murders in Atlanta, written in a weathered, hardboiled style that will be familiar to readers of Amis's short 1998 detective pastiche 'Night Train'.

Most of this collection is divided between pieces on writers and writings, and some of the more eccentric aspects of American society (particularly in the Midwest). There are knowing pieces on Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, Philip Roth and a dying Truman Capote; the most laudatory being saved for two bookend essays on Saul Bellow - a longtime hero for Amis.

Then there are the savage satires on Republican politics, TV evangelists, the movies of Brian De Palma and Hugh Hefner. Yes, these provide sitting duck targets for the witty satirist, especially one of secular, liberal inclinations, but the pieces are in turns incisive, funny and frightening at the same time.

America: land of the free, where eccentrics and crackpots can become richer, more influential and more famous than anywhere else in the world. God bless this collection of essays.

5-0 out of 5 stars pressingly prescient
Amis's book, The Moronic Inferno and Other Visits to America, in which he contemplates the U.S. from a distance, has never been more contemporary. He anticipates the force with which the "New Evangelists" (written in 1980) take over American. Although he may never have imagined how the movement would completely hijack American politics.
His observations of Ronald Reagan (1979), echo ominously of Bush Jr. Reagan's lack of curiosity and general dullness seem to Amis mere aberrations, but much to America's detriment, they have recurred.
Many young Americans think they are witnessing history for the first time, but we are doomed to repeat our past (forgive mangled misquote).
This book of essays should be required reading for anyone thinking about what it means to be a citizen of the United States in the 21st century.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Rapier's Point
The best recommendation for this book is that it is simply good writing, very good writing.Amis may, in fact, be the premier writer of his time for this type of short, spare-not-the rapier witty style of journalistic writing so common in England:As opposed to America, this collection's ostensible subject, where there is no style, and it is discouraged as bravura.A brief example of this is Amis's crisp, droll assessment of a particular book:"The first thing to say about it is that it's bad: It's bad."- There are other things to say about it, of course, which Amis duly proceeds to do.But it's that stylistic, ironic nuance in the opening that captures the flavour of these pieces.Can anyone imagine an American reviewer or journalist getting away with displaying, heaven forbid, such personal style.

The only fault I find with this book is the one Amis apologizes for in the Introduction, that it is simply a compilation of essays and reviews previously written for English papers.Thus, what we have here is a collection of snapshots, crystal clear, of certain aspects of America and her writers.The "big picture," so to speak, is missing.--But, again, the big picture is not Amis's forte, and you will find yourself delightedly guffawing, in spite of yourself perhaps, at these brilliant flashes of the master of rapier wit. ... Read more

31. Understanding Martin Amis: Second Edition (Understanding Contemporary British Literature)
by James Diedrick
Paperback: 272 Pages (2004-02-01)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$19.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570035164
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Understanding Martin Amis is a comprehensive guide to the novels, short stories, and nonfiction of one of Britain's most highly acclaimed and controversial authors. Building on the first edition,of 1995, James Diedrick draws on personal interviews, reviews, and criticism, to map the distinctive features of Martin Amis's imaginative landscape—the sociosexual satire of Money and Yellow Dog, the bold experimentation of Time's Arrow and Night Train, and the provocative blend of autobiography and cultural analysis in Experience and Koba the Dread. Diedrick illustrates how Amis has reshaped the British literary landscape, expanding its stylistic and thematic range while creating forms adequate to the experience of postmodernity.

Diedrick also analyzes an increasing cultural conservatism in Amis's work, rooted in Amis's relationship with his father, the novelist Kingsley Amis. During has early career, the younger Amis opposed his father's political and aesthetic conservatism. But his opposition has given way to frequent expressions of political and literary solidarity. Diedrick shows how this filial relationship continues to shape the son’s social outlook and writing.

Diedrick also identifies two complementary impulses in Amis's work. The first is journalistic and satirical, expressed in an incisive wit aimed at contemporary social realities. The second is aesthetic, manifesting a Nabokovian love of verbal play and formal experimentation. Besides analyzing the ways Amis’s fiction forges the topical into the literary, Diedrick argues for the importance of Amis's considerable journalistic oeuvre and provides close readings of his nonfiction collections and his uncollected essays and reviews. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Assiduous and Entertaining
James Diedrick is described in the Introduction to Amis's 'The War Against Cliché' as an 'assiduous' editor.Amis, with one eye constantly on his place in history, already has many good reasons to thank Prof Diedrick, and this update of the definitive guide to Amis's work is another one.

Critical appraisals of other writers are always a balancing act: between subjective opinion and bland objectivity; between an appreciation of the subject's skills and the desire to demonstrate one's own; between academic assiduousness and an accessible message.Understanding Martin Amis gets the balance right in all areas.Any fan (or adversary) of Amis will get a great deal from the book: apercus they hadn't spotted before, confirmation of their pet theories, (relevant) biographical background, and a shared sense of the fun to be had from Amis's fiction at its peerless best.When the Amis backlash has finished its tedious course (when wasn't there one?), this book will serve as a useful reminder of why he was, and will be, so lionised as a novelist.

A contemporary review of Ian MacDonald's superb 'Revolution In The Head: The Beatles Records and the Sixties' stated that the acid test of any work of criticism is whether it makes you want to revisit the work filled with greater insight and enjoyment.I can give no higher praise than to state that Understanding Martin Amis achieves this objective every bit as successfully as MacDonald's book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best introduction to Martin Amis available
Diedrick has written an extremely helpful guide to the work of Martin Amis that should satisfy both academics and casual readers who are looking to deepen their understanding of Amis' often highly allusive fiction.Diedrick's writing is crisp and insightful, and the many strands of Amis' thought are followed with a thoroughness that captures the complexity of his novels without oversimplifying them.So deftly written are Diedrick's discussions of each novel that just about any of the paragraphs could easily warrant a book-length treatment on its own.Students will have much to plunder.

As a longtime reader of Amis', I enjoyed the thoughtful discussions of complex novels like "Money", "London Fields" and "The Information".The attention to the structure of these novels is a great help in unraveling their mysteries, as are the passages outlining Amis' dialogue with nineteenth century luminaries like Dickens and the Romantics.The early books are not overlooked; "The Rachel Papers", one of my favorites, turned out to be a little trickier than I'd thought, while "Other People"-- undoubtedly the most maddeningly convoluted of all the novels-- was made less obscure.(Alas, even Diedrick cannot make me a believer in the insipid "Dead Babies".)

Of special interest is the running examination of Amis' view of masculinity.Amis is often carelessly dismissed by many critics as the father of "lad lit", a smirking mysoginist beyond reconstruction, and I was pleased to see that Diedrick cut through the "bad boy controversy" to illuminate Amis' multivalenced depiction of the modern male (particularly in the new fine new chapter on "Yellow Dog").This is one of Amis' primary subjects, and almost all of his books deal with the problem of masculinity in some form or another.Diedrick shows that on this topic Amis is hardly as simple as he seems, and certainly less risible.

Importantly, Diedrick's studies also draw on Amis' other writing, such as his journalism and criticism, which is often the best starting point for deciphering the novels, as artistic and philosophic themes move freely between his fiction and non-fiction.The comprehensive use of secondary writing to explain the novels is unsurprising, as Diedrick edited Amis' volume of criticism, the excellent but rather unfortunately titled collection "The War Against Cliche".

If Amis is truly trying to "cover the world in fiction", as one of his book jackets proclaims, Diedrick has provided a learned, engaging and, indeed, indispensible road map.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mart Madness
Okay, so it's not enough that I maintain, repair, resurrect, and manage this board, where I'm subjected to your abuse on a regular basis; it's not enough that I fulsomely praise you for your insights about the Larkin-Amis nexus of text-checking (and direct readers to the pages and pages on the Amis web where you have your uncensored say); no, I needed to interweave your pet theory about the additional metaphorical weight Nicola carries around with her. May the ghost of Orson fall from your bedroom ceiling tonight, just as you are hatching a theory about the metaphorical significance of CigAir 101--and become incarnate just before his redoubtable rear crashes into your face.

5-0 out of 5 stars Astoundingly Insightful
The author has provided an insightful and concise portrait of Amis and his work. I can't imagine that Amis himself could have done better. Diedrick really knows his subject.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must for any serious Amis scholar.
If you are doing research on Martin Amis, this is a book you will have to consider.Terrifically written. ... Read more

32. Father and Son: Kingsley Amis, Martin Amis, and the British Novel since 1950
by Gavin Keulks
Hardcover: 304 Pages (2003-12-15)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$76.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0299192105
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An innovative study of two of England's most popular, controversial, and influential writers, Father and Son breaks new ground in examining the relationship between Kingsley Amis and his son, Martin Amis. Through intertextual readings of their essays and novels, Gavin Keulks examines how the Amises' work negotiated the boundaries of their personal relationship while claiming territory in the literary debate between mimesis and modernist aesthetics. Theirs was a battle over the nature of reality itself, a twentieth-century realism war conducted by loving family members and rival, antithetical writers. Keulks argues that the Amises' relationship functioned as a source of literary inspiration and that their work illuminates many of the structural and stylistic shifts that have characterized the British novel since 1950. ... Read more

33. Martin Amis (Routledge Guides to Literature)
by Brian Finney
Paperback: 192 Pages (2008-07-01)
list price: US$28.95 -- used & new: US$20.26
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Asin: 0415402921
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Booker-shortlisted for Time's Arrow and widely known for his novels, short stories, essays, reviews, and autobiographical works, Martin Amis is one of the most influential of contemporary British writers.

This guide to Amis's diverse and often controversial work offers:

  • an accessible introduction to the contexts and many interpretations of his texts, from publication to the present
  • an introduction to key critical texts and perspectives on Amis's life and work, situated within a broader critical history
  • cross-references between sections of the guide, in order to suggest links between texts, contexts and criticism
  • suggestions for further reading.

Part of the Routledge Guides to Literature series, this volume is essential reading for all those beginning detailed study of Martin Amis and seeking not only a guide to his works but also a way through the wealth of contextual and critical material that surrounds them.

... Read more

34. Martin Amis und Graham Swift: Erfolg durch bodenlosen Moralismus im zeitgenossischen britischen Roman (Anglistische Forschungen) (German Edition)
by Susanne Mecklenburg
 Perfect Paperback: 204 Pages (2000)
-- used & new: US$34.93
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Asin: 3825309762
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35. Expérience
by Martin Amis
Paperback: 607 Pages (2003-05-17)
-- used & new: US$72.98
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Asin: 2070760162
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36. Martians, Monsters and Madonna: Fiction and Form in the World of Martin Amis (Studies in Twentieth-Century British Literature, Vol. 2)
by John A. Dern
 Paperback: 187 Pages (2000-07)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$25.94
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Asin: 082044457X
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The burgeoning postmodern condition forces a reevaluation of the novel as a form; contemporary formlessness has created a new and seemingly endless range of interpretations under which the forms of the past coalesce. Martin Amis, whose novels and stories "live" this phenomenon and inform this study, has discovered an art form in the literature of decay, where traditional fictional elements, such as time, voice and motivation, have been corrupted by the twentieth century and the revitalized anti-novel. Style has overcome story in the world of Martin Amis--and perhaps in the "real" world as well. ... Read more

37. Martin Amis: Postmodernism and Beyond
Hardcover: 256 Pages (2006-12-26)
list price: US$75.00 -- used & new: US$69.99
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Asin: 0230008305
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This is the first collection of original essays ever published on Martin Amis, one of England's most controversial and critically acclaimed authors. Impressively international in scope, it assembles the ideas of twelve scholars from six different countries to clarify the major trends and transitions in Amis's work. In essays that cover each of his novels as well as previously ignored non-fiction essays, it will become an authoritative resource for scholars, students and fans of Amis's work in general.
... Read more

38. Trauma Studies and Literature: Martin Amis's Time's Arrow As Trauma Fiction (Anglo-Amerikanische Studien - Anglo-American Studies)
by Valentina Adami
Paperback: 120 Pages (2008-04)
list price: US$35.95 -- used & new: US$35.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 3631577966
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39. Invasion of the Space Invaders
by Martin Amis
 Paperback: 127 Pages (1982-11-01)
list price: US$9.95
Isbn: 0890873518
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40. Pornoland
by Stefano de Luigi, Martin Amis
Paperback: 112 Pages (2004-09-30)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$5.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B001E96HAS
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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"Whatever porno is, whatever porno does, you may regret it, but you cannot reject it. To paraphrase Falstaff: banish porno, and you banish all of the world." —Martin Amis

A land where sex is simulated, evoked, glorified, supercharged in the extreme, a land where everything is about the body, in its possible and perverse sexual combinations....This is Pornoland, a strange, parallel universe where pornographic films are churned out on a daily basis. Photographs by Stefano de Luigi and a text by Martin Amis are the guides through this world, filled with actors capable of extraordinary performances (although not the kind that would ever win Oscars), directors who can make an entire film in just one day, improvised sets, almost nonexistent plots, and locations that stay exactly the same from one day to the next.

The journey encompasses Milan, Berlin, Budapest, Prague, Tokyo, Dortmund, and Los Angeles. It includes no trite moralizing, hasty judgments, or yearnings for redemption. Stefano de Luigi's images and Martin Amis's words use respect, humor, and irony to tell the story of a rarely glimpsed world full of crude colors and harsh brutality, bodily contortions and bursts of laughter, unexpected tenderness and situations on the very edge of the absurd. 54 color illustrations. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Pornoland
The photos are beautiful and aproach the subject - pornography industry - with a sensible touch, as well as display this universe on a rather unusual way. The images are at the same time poetical and documental ( which means that we can figure out real people behind porn icons). The presentation text, by Martin Amis, whom I think, do not need a formal presentation since he is one of the best known contemporary british writers, also focuses the people and their motivations beyond the characters they play in the media / product they sell.Photographer de Luigi has a very accurate aesthetic sense as much as is good enough to catch his subject avoiding deja vu, posing and vulgarity.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Adventure Book!
PORNOLAND is not what you would imagine from the title: this is not a down-and-dirty expose of the seamy exploitation of pornography.This book is a running commentary on the world of making Porn movies, an industry that has flourished since the first movie camera was made (and indeed, in etchings and drawings that date back centuries in time!).Photographer Stefano de Luigi has traveled to Los Angeles, Milan, Budapest, Prague, Tokyo,and Dortmund and captured the process involved of making low budget, negligibly scripted, one-movie-per-day pornography flicks: his photographs are more about color and atmosphere on set than they are about the actors at work.The impact of this voyeuristic journey is made more solid by the accompanying writings of Martin Amis (whose novels such as the current 'Yellow Dog' continue to be best sellers).

There are no moments of revelation and certainly no judgments made.Instead this is one of those photography books that is satisfied to inform without editorial comment. And the adventures described are worth the ride! Grady Harp, October 2004 ... Read more

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