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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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209None55,847 (3.5)16
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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Meet Martin Amis’ new hero Lionel Asbo: petty crook, sociopath with a misplaced sense of moral outrage, scourge of society, and ward to his mixed-race nephew Desmond Pepperdine. Following huge lottery win, Lionel is transformed from a figure of ridicule, to beloved eccentric by the press. The reader is caught up in the transformation and begins to wonder, “Did I misjudge Lionel?” No, you didn’t!
  vplprl | Dec 4, 2013 |
This the first novel I have read by Martin Amis. I have always been aware of him but just now got around to reading something by him. I was very impressed by his narrative style and creative prose. Although I usually do not hold the negative aspects of a lead character against the worth of the book, I did have trouble with Lionel Asbo's unrelenting evil. The novel would have worked better for me had there been some character transformation. The book was not very long but still managed to drag a bit in the middle. I found this a good introduction to Amis and I will try to read his better reviewed books but I can't stay that I am ready to run out and read all of his previous work. ( )
  nivramkoorb | Aug 15, 2013 |
Synopsis/blurb.....
Lionel Asbo - a very violent but not very successful young criminal - is going about his morning duties in a London prison when he learns that he has just won £139,999,999.50 on the National Lottery. This is not necessarily good news for his ward and nephew, the orphaned Des Pepperdine, who still has reason to fear his uncle's implacable vengeance.
Savage, funny, and mysteriously poignant, Lionel Asbo is a modern fairytale from one of the world's great writers.
Well May’s reading started with a bit of a damp squib. Having previously struggled valiantly with House of Meetings, been subsequently less tortured when reading The Pregnant Widow, albeit falling short of rapturous admiration for Amis, I had higher hopes for this one.
Not the worst book I have ever read, but when I’m long into my dotage, probably a couple of weeks or so from now, I reckon I will have banished this long from the memory. It wasn’t that it was “bad”, in the sense that it was awful, it was just fairly uninteresting. When you can’t empathise with a character, you don’t particularly care how he behaves and what the consequences of such behaviour are. I was bored and irritable when reading it, so bored I had to down tools halfway through and start another book, which by the way was only slightly less boring.
Back to Mr Asbo; an unsuccessful career criminal, from a deprived family, in a deprived area where everyone hates everything and everyone, and expresses the hate through violence and feckless sex and alcohol and drugs. Lionel’s unmarried mother had her first child at 12 years of age and Lionel her 5th or 6th at..........zzzzzzz.
Oops sorry I dozed off there for a minute...............that’s it in a nutshell.
I bored myself reading it, and I’m bored trying to write about it!
Highlights, at less than 300 pages long, I could have been more bored if he had dragged things out. Plus, I borrowed it from the library, so apart from the time wasted I didn’t part with any cash for it. 2 minor plusses, and I’m grateful for small mercies.
On the basis that I didn’t feel like sticking pins in my eyes when reading it, so it can’t qualify as the worst ever book I have had the misfortune to read I will give it a 2 from 5. ( )
  col2910 | Aug 13, 2013 |
I love Martin Amis, but ... dead boring. The tension in the book revolves around whether Lionel Asbo, "lotto lout," knows that his nephew Des had a sexual affair with his grandmother (Lionel's mum). But who cares? As Lionel is characterized, it seems he would have been just as nasty to Des either way, so why does it make a difference?

The plot in which Lionel wins hundreds of millions of pounds in the Lotto is an excuse for Amis to be curmudgeonly about the "state of England" in just as reactionary a way as his dear, departed father (whom I love with a love even more abiding than the love I hold for the son). Yes, it's a satire but I think that without recourse to any 3D character or true emotion, a satire will fall flat.

The whole book is like a giant experiment in Chekhov's Gun (or, should I say, Chekhov's Dustbin?). Art school stuff. You're better than this, Mr. Amis. The stars are granted kindly as a nod to your previous services to literature. ( )
  sansmerci | Feb 12, 2013 |
Amis is back in form, writing about characters you can't stand, you can't understand, but can't walk away from. The writing is compelling, the satire & humor unceasing. Marty's on the side of the angels, but still Britain's bad boy. (pre-publication review, via advance galley download) ( )
  ReneeGKC | Aug 27, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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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(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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:57 -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)

» see all 7 descriptions

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