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Lionel Aso : Dit is Engeland by Martin Amis
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Lionel Aso : Dit is Engeland (edition 2012)

by Martin Amis, Reintje Ghoos (Translator), Jan Pieter Van der Sterre (Translator)

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3181834,897 (3.55)29
Member:Frits
Title:Lionel Aso : Dit is Engeland
Authors:Martin Amis
Other authors:Reintje Ghoos (Translator), Jan Pieter Van der Sterre (Translator)
Info:Amsterdam Atlas 2012
Collections:Gelezen
Rating:***
Tags:roman, Engeland

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Lionel Asbo: State of England by Martin Amis

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Lionel Asbo is a hybrid book, I think.

It's part family saga, part social commentary, and in being neither one nor the other, it sort of lost its strength a bit, I think.

The plot is a little bit irrelevant, because it's mostly about the characters. I do think this is one of the few books of Martin Amis' that I currently prefer, because it is quite dark and quite funny. It has a lot of gallows humour and I found it pretty readable.

Though I will say the sheer amount of racism in this book is hard to take. And like most of Amis' novels, though it starts off as a jaunty experiment, it descends into a special sort of dark place at a bottom of a proverbial well that gives you no place to hide from England's apparent ugliness.

3 stars from me. c:

(Also I can't remember any trigger warnings, sorry!) ( )
  lydia1879 | Aug 31, 2016 |
An enjoyable read. Holds you hostage until you are done! ( )
  vwriter | Aug 10, 2016 |
biting satire of modern society and class, brilliant if not a bit weird ( )
  PaulRx04 | Apr 15, 2016 |
This book was disappointing, I was expecting something a little harder hitting and in the end it just petered out into blandness. I also found two things confusing and irritating throughout - 1. Cockneys do not use 'you' and 'they' the way they are presented here, granted it's only the title character that does it but still it was wholly annoying. 2. I can't work out why Martin Amis set the gran's age so low and then proceeded to treat her like an elderly lady! By my reckoning she's only in her late forties by the end of the book but she's gone through the whole journey of the beginnings of madness to suffering from dementia and then has been shuffled off to a retirement home only to die a lonely confused death. I don't get it and I don't think it works very well but Martin Amis is a master and so there must be a thematic reason that I'm not seeing - it, and other clunky devices, ensured that my enjoyment for this book remained distinctly average. ( )
  MartynChuzz | Feb 22, 2016 |
I can't help thinking that if you intend to write a satirical book subtitled 'State of England' it would be helpful if you had some idea of what that state actually was. And with this book by Martin Amis, the reader gets the distinct impression that the author is very hazy indeed about lives lived outside the metropolitan elite, let alone in the type of London council estate where it is largely set. His research seems to have largely been culled from the worst set of stereotypes pedalled by the likes of the Daily Mail, reinforced by hazy memories of sitcoms from the 1960s and 70s. There's definitely a shadow of Alf Garnett in one of the characters. But nowhere do any characters that are actually believable make an appearance.

Originally named Lionel Peppardine, Lionel Asbo had changed his name by deed poll to celebrate his record as the youngest ever person to be given at ASBO (anti-social behaviour order) at the age of three. By his early twenties he is making a living at the more violent end of the debt collection industry, with his two pitbulls as the tools of his trade. Living with him is his fifteen year old nephew Des, for whom Lionel has been nominally in charge of ever since hismother's death three years previously, but Des is a very different sort of person, quiet, studious and gentle. But Des does have a guilty secret - an affair with an older woman - who happens to be his thirty-nine year old grandmother Grace - and Lionel is not going to be happy when he finds out.

I didn't like this book. Admittedly, it's not really my sort of book, too violent, but it could have been so much better if there was any sense that the author had any insight into what he was talking about. ( )
  SandDune | May 22, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Epigraph
Who let the dogs in?
  ... This, we fear, is going to be
     the question.
 Who let the dogs in?

Who let the dogs in?
  Who?
  Who?
Dedication
Voor Christopher Hitchens
For Christopher Hitchens
First words
Lieve Jennaveieve,
Ik heb een relatie met een oudere vrouw.
Dear Jennaveieve,
    I am having an affair with an older woman.
Quotations
As the land flattened out towards the pasture, and as the horses now nobly loomed, he came to a deep trench perhaps twenty feet across. Within was a thrill ride of twirling razor wire; it squirmed like a barber's pole, and faintly crackled.
The air itself was thick. Thick and weak, as if the room was about to faint.
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307958086, Hardcover)

A savage, funny, and mysteriously poignant saga by a renowned author at the height of his powers. 

Lionel Asbo, a terrifying yet weirdly loyal thug (self-named after England's notorious Anti-Social Behaviour Order), has always looked out for his ward and nephew, the orphaned Desmond Pepperdine.  He provides him with fatherly career advice (always carry a knife, for example) and is determined they should share the joys of pit bulls (fed with lots of Tabasco sauce), Internet porn, and all manner of more serious criminality.  Des, on the other hand, desires nothing more than books to read and a girl to love (and to protect a family secret that could be the death of him).  But just as he begins to lead a gentler, healthier life, his uncle—once again in a London prison—wins £140 million in the lottery and upon his release hires a public relations firm and begins dating a cannily ambitious topless model and “poet.”  Strangely, however, Lionel's true nature remains uncompromised while his problems, and therefore also Desmond's, seem only to multiply.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:33 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A satire of modern society and celebrity culture finds the seemingly simple pursuits of young Desmond Pepperdine hampered by his uncle Lionel's near-criminal habits, which become more prominent when Lionel wins the lottery.

(summary from another edition)

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