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Time's Arrow by Martin Amis
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Time's Arrow (original 1991; edition 1991)

by Martin Amis

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2,692463,744 (3.71)99
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 From the Trade Paperback edition.… (more)
Member:PatrickF1982
Title:Time's Arrow
Authors:Martin Amis
Info:Harmony Books (1991), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 168 pages
Collections:Your library
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Time's Arrow, or The Nature of the Offence by Martin Amis (1991)

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» See also 99 mentions

English (43)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
I found myself very close to humanity with this book. I liked that it was short, and I liked the way it was written. The motifs, however, didn't pique my interest. I wish it was a longer book, but then again, I wish all books were longer... unless they're long. ( )
  lostmonster | May 19, 2020 |
Interesting to see a man's life run in reverse and even more so to read of actions happening in reverse order. ( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
While I strongly prefer his London Fields, I tend to think this might be my second favorite of his, though not nearly as good. Still, strong postmodern literature. Recommended. ( )
  scottcholstad | Jan 11, 2020 |
Martin Amis explores the idea of a man living his life in reverse. This gentleman that we follow, this Tod T. Friendly has a mysterious past that he would like to quash out of existence. The book tells us right away in the jacket exactly what it is about, so if you are the type who likes to have some idea of what you are reading, you can't do that without being spoiled. So, we find out some things about him, but the narrator is a mysterious presence. Why is he hitching a ride in this man's consciousness and in reverse no less? Maybe if I finish the book entirely I will 'get' it, but I already know it has something to do with World War II. I am debating whether or not I should finish it since I am more than halfway through the book, but I know it ends with his birth.

It makes for a fascinating concept since this narrator doesn't seem to know anything and also doesn't seem to realize that seeing time go in reverse is unusual. Maybe he mentions it in the beginning and shrugs it off since Tod is around his late 70s or early 80s when he dies. The narrator has plenty of time to get used to everything going in reverse, he can even pick up on conversations and things. Though in the initial sentences of the book he talks about how the doctors are American, and I just can't tell if he is annoyed or confused.

Things gradually get better and better for Tod as the years go by; his joints stop aching, he takes up Tennis again, he starts to have girlfriends and significant others, he takes up a career. All sorts of good things happen to him. But this is merely a facade. Like I said before, Tod has a dark secret in his past/future and the narrator doesn't know about it. My issue with the book is that it takes getting used to. All the conversations go backward, so there is a terrible breakup followed by the things that lead up to it. All throughout the book, I was reminded of Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. I don't see how you could not make the comparison. However, the similarities beyond the weirdness of time are rather trivial.

I certainly enjoyed the book, but being spoiled in the jacket ruined it for me in a way. If I pick up another book by Martin Amis, I hope it doesn't do that again. Not only that, it did that thing that I hate with the covers of books. You might know what I mean. It is where instead of a basic introduction to the book we are shown a picture of the author. It is as though the publishers think I will read a book just because it was written by Stephen King or something. Even if that is the case I would like a synopsis, please. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
A really trippy book. Amis was inspired by the scene in "Slaughterhouse-Five" that describes the bombing of Dresden in reverse, and decided to write the life of a Nazi war criminal backwards, starting as dying old man in a hospital bed, ending with birth. Darkly ironic and very poignant. ( )
  xiaomarlo | Apr 17, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Martin Amisprimary authorall editionscalculated
D'Amico, GéraldineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klabanová, KateřinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koff-D'Amico, GéraldineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swahn, Sven ChristerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winkelmann, AlfonsÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Асланян, АннаTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Dedication
To Sally
First words
I moved forward, out of the blackest sleep, to find myself surrounded by doctors . . . American doctors:
This book is dedicated to my sister Sally, who, when she was very young, rendered me two profound services. (Afterword)
Quotations
Still, I'm powerless, and can do nothing about anything. I can't make myself an exception.

And how can we two be right? It would make so many others wrong.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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 From the Trade Paperback edition.

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