1. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston

    WF Book Club Selection for September/October

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by thirdwind, Sep 5, 2011.

    For the months of September and October, we'll be reading and discussing London Fields by Martin Amis.

    Here's what it says on the Wiki page:
     
  2. Gannon
    Offline

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,977
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    Super - my suggestion. I have my copy. I'm gonna start reading in approx a week when I get done reading my current project. Catch you all then.
     
  3. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    I put a copy on hold at the library. Hopefully I can begin reading by the end of the week. So I'll join in on the discussion then.
     
  4. Gannon
    Offline

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,977
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    I'll be starting tonight. Has anyone read any Martin Amis before? I've just read Money, which I liked, though I have Night Train and Yellow Dog also on the shelf to tackle at some point. London Fields would appear to be his most highly regarded work. Can't wait to get started.
     
  5. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    I've never read him before, though I've heard a lot about him. I'm looking forward to reading this book.
     
  6. Gannon
    Offline

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,977
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    A tough opening I think, in terms of readability. I was left quite confused trying to piece together the narrator, book with a book and the character. Started to calm down now 15 pages in but, in terms of being grabbed from the get-go, I wasn't.
     
  7. twistedteafan
    Offline

    twistedteafan New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2011
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    duff brewery
    about to start reading it. Hey also has a book called Dead Babies.
    I don't know what to expect, but he is on the 1001 books you must read before you die list.
     
  8. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    I just got my copy today. I'm about 20 pages in and can't help but notice some similiarities to Samuel Beckett's Molloy. Stylistically Amis and Beckett are different, but their characters seem similar.

    I can tell by the writing that this book was written fairly recently. His casual, conversational style of writing is like some of the other contemporary books/stories I've read.
     
  9. Gannon
    Offline

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,977
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    I'm approx half way through. The question(s) that springs most to mind is, considering that London Fields is either regarded as a post-modern masterpiece or a post-modern failure, how well does it fit the post-modern doctrine, how effective is it within the genre, and, if it isn't strictly post-modern, is it still a success?

    I find the conversational tone quite curious. In places it's conversational, and in others conversationally literary. Some flows beautifully, some is quite difficult to delineate clause on clause. But either way, it's an identifiably modern style. As to whether it's post-modern, we shall discuss.
     
  10. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    I would consider this novel post-modern. The style reminds me a little bit of Don Delillo, an American writer (actually, if I hadn't know who the author was, I would have guessed he was from America just based on the style of the book.)

    I'm about a third of the way in, and I'm having mixed feelings. On the one hand, some of the passages are really good, but the book seems to be progressing very slowly. Nothing much happens. This book is also fairly predictable, which I think was Amis' intention. I'm sure the reason behind this will be clearer once I finish the book.
     
  11. Gannon
    Offline

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,977
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    Could this be, do you think, that this is because of the American author character? His influence seems to bleed into Amis's narration elsewhere?
     
  12. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    It could be that. But the style that Martin uses also seems very American to me. Maybe the American and British styles are similar because they have influenced each other. The only other contemporary British writer I've read a lot of is Ian McEwan, and he has a unique style that is definitely different than how most contemporary American writers write.
     
  13. Gannon
    Offline

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,977
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    Looks like it's just us two reading this one thirdwind. Anyway, back to style - I think we're agreed that some of it is pretty dense and hard to penetrate. I do so like it though when word choice shines off the page, such as when Guy's erection is described as a "bodybuilder", or when someone else was described to be wearing "variagated" shades of white.
     
  14. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    It seems strange to me that this book tends to be so predictable. After all, one doesn't normally think of murder mysteries as being predictable. Within the first 50 pages or so, we're told who the murderee is, and we probably have a good idea of who the murderer is as well. I'm guessing there's probably a twist at the end.
     
  15. Gannon
    Offline

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,977
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    I don't think that at its heart this is a murder mystery, more of a love story. And if that's true then it certainly doesn't follow the normal conventions of the genre, unlike one of the books within the book that the American novelist character repeatedly says that he hates.
     
  16. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    Now that I've finished the book, I'm inclined to agree that it's more of a tragic love story, though it's definitely different than other tragic love stories. I use the word "tragic" here only because I couldn't think of any other word. When it came to the characters, it was very hard for me to sympathize with any of them (perhaps Guy is the exception here, but only because of Marmaduke). And since this book is driven mainly by the characters, I felt it was a bit dull at times. After all, not much happens in the first 400 pages or so. It was still an enjoyable read, however.
     
  17. Gannon
    Offline

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,977
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    Yeah, I'm done too. I found it quite difficult to get into, often lacking in the page-turning department. Conceptually, however, I was impressed - if I was reading it right. I think due to the various deliberate vagueries of the text and the natural sense of ambiguity thus spawned, it's difficult to reach a high level of satisfaction upon completion of the reading. That said, Amis's cartoonish characters are memorable, if not likeable. I also found the book had a certain reality at its core, despite its styalised finishing.
     
  18. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    I agree with your assessment of the novel. It's very ambiguous at times. There were times I had to reread passages just to make sure I understood what was happening. This novel reminds me of Delillo's Underworld, though not for the reasons one would think. Underworld is driven by events happening around the lives of the characters. London Fields is perhaps the opposite of that, in that the characters are much more important than the events. I would argue that not even the murder is at the foreground of this novel. It's overshadowed by the development (or lack of development) and interactions of the characters.

    Not much happens in the book, which is what makes it a tad dull at times. I would even go as far as to call some portions of it overly descriptive. But I do like the ambition and energy behind the book, and these two things make it much different than all other books I've read recently.
     
  19. Gannon
    Offline

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,977
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    I think London Fields is ripe for interpretation, and that I like very much. It could be said that this device is a cop-out on behalf of the author and his skills or persuasion and articulation, but I'd disagree. With the inherent threat of something much greater in the background (those news reports, for example) some go so far as treating Guy, Nicola and Keith not just as representative of Britain and its class system, not just as manifestations of its current warped views on love, but as unhappy triumverate of Britain, the US and [insert your own]. I don't go so far as to wholly agree with the latter, but the book's ability to probe bigger issues is why conceptually it appealed to me. I just found its swaddling sometimes too much to swallow.
     

Share This Page