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A casa dos encontros by Martin Amis

A casa dos encontros (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Martin Amis

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7532612,333 (3.45)54
Title:A casa dos encontros
Authors:Martin Amis
Info:Vigo : Galaxia , 2006.
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Rússia - novel·les, Gulag, Autors anglosaxons, En gallec, Ficció

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House of Meetings by Martin Amis (2006)


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English (24)  Greek (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  All (27)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
pretty brilliant ( )
  pixiegenne | Nov 11, 2016 |
This book poses a lot of important question about uncomfortable realities - the prevalence of rape in wartime, the greediness of a passive nature, the chance for morality in dire conditions. Overall, I guess this book shows us the dangers of going along with the flow, and the opposite challenges of letting your morality dictate your actions. I struggled giving this book a rating--- there are so many great things about this work. However, except the sections with the Lev character-- I didn't really like it. Written well, engaging characters, leading questions. A lot of good things, but it didn't really come together in a satisfying way. ( )
  Alidawn | Jan 16, 2016 |
This is a strong story about The Gulag. Even though it’s a fiction, it’s based on real incidents about the camps, the inmates and the Russian politic. The protagonist is writing his family story for his daughter. He is writing pitiless about what he had done but also about the system. He also tells the reader about his love to his brother which was an inmate of a camp, too. How he tried to protect him and how he admired but also hated his pacifism.
He shows us how such a camp was organised that there were classes between the inmates like in real life only much more brutal.

For me this story is a must-read. Isn't it so that there are still types of Gulag on our planet but we close our eyes to not see and notice how barbarous people are treated? Isn't it still so that there are people who point to political injustice and who get muzzled by the establishment? ( )
1 vote Ameise1 | May 6, 2015 |
It's easily the best Amis book I've read. A little unsatisfactory in resolving some plot questions, but overall a very compelling novel. ( )
  ptdilloway | Nov 21, 2013 |

There were conjugal visits in the slave camps of the USSR. Valiant women would travel continental distances, over weeks and months, in the hope of spending a night, with their particular enemy of the people, in the House of Meetings. The consequences of these liaisons were almost invariably tragic. House of Meetings is about one such liaison. It is a triangular romance: two brothers fall in love with the same girl, a nineteen-year-old Jewess, in Moscow, which is poised for pogrom in the gap between the war and the death of Stalin. Both brothers are arrested, and their rivalry slowly complicates itself over a decade in the slave camp above the Arctic Circle.


To be brutally honest here I wasn't expecting a whole barrel of laughs from Amis. In that respect he didn't disappoint. What I was expecting though after reading various comments on the book..........

'Amis draws on his considerable talent, intelligence, compassion and anger in this outstanding short novel' -- Irish Times

`Amis engages compellingly and eloquently with the "Russian Soul"'
-- The Sunday Telegraph

`Amis writes with enough force to entertain even while describing depravity'
-- Telegraph

`Amis' mini Russian epic... is audacious, shocking and the best thing he's done in years' -- Evening Standard

`Martin Amis is always essential reading' -- The Times

`Some of the best, most highly charged prose of Amis's career' -- Guardian

`This is the most enjoyable Amis novel for some time' -- Sunday Herald

...... was a book that interested me, both in respect of his characters and their experiences in the Soviet Gulag. This didn't happen in either instance.

I couldn't have cared less - in fact after about 50 pages into this short novel I was fervently wishing that the brothers and anyone they crossed paths with had been exterminated on page 1 or 2...........at which point the book could have hopefully ended.

Had it been twice the length, I would have been severely tempted to give up on it, something I'm loathe to do for several reasons.

A) It feels like the author has beaten me.

B) The book might just get better, if I read a few pages more, it will turn a corner surely.

C) A quest for understanding - a bit like the emperor's clothes if all these other people see gold why am I viewing coal dust? What aren't I getting?

Previously I have read Amis's non-fiction book, The Second Plane, which was a collection of articles and essays he wrote about post-9/11. This was readable and enjoyable and interesting - everything that House Of Meetings wasn't.

Maybe I lack understanding, intellect or acumen.........to get what he was driving at in the book. If so, it's not something I'll lose any sleep over. There are hundreds of other books on my TBR Mountain that I will enjoy much more.

What does concern me slightly, and I have no-one else to blame but myself, is the 10 or so other Amis books on the pile to be read......Pregnant Widow, Dead Babies, Yellow Dog, Money etc etc............they can't all be as turgid can they?

In summary, in case I have sat on the fence here......an absolute stinker of a book.

Quite the worst thing I've read since Kerouac's Lonesome Traveller earlier this year.

1 from 5

I paid a pound for this at a charity shop, which on reflection was about 90p too much.

Read and reviewed back in November, 2012
http://col2910.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/martin-amis-house-of-meetings.html ( )
  col2910 | Jun 7, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
House of Meetings is short, the prose is controlled, the humor sparse, while the characters strike us as real, or at least possible, people. It is a remarkable achievement, a version of the great Russian novel done in miniature, with echoes throughout of its mighty predecessors.
added by jburlinson | editNew York Review of Books, John Banville (pay site) (Mar 1, 2007)
Mr. Amis depicts these characters' lives with an economy of language and detail, choosing, after the debacle of the overwritten ''Yellow Dog,'' to rely on an almost fablelike minimalism to evoke the horrors of Norlag.
And the result, more often than not, comes to read like a wicked parody of the Amis style. Sometimes, indeed, it appears that the author has wholly abdicated in favour of Craig Brown.
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Again to my mother
First words
Dear Venus,

If what they say is true, and my country is dying, then i think I may be able to tell them why.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 009948868X, Paperback)

House of Meetings Is an Amazon Significant Seven selection for March 2007

With The House of Meetings, Martin Amis may finally have written the novel his critics thought would never come. By taming his signature (and polarizing) stylistic high-wire act, Amis has crafted a sober tale of love and cynicism against the grim curtain of Stalin's Russia. The book's anonymous narrator--a Red Army veteran and unapologetic war criminal--and his passive, poetic half-brother, Lev, become pinned in a politically dangerous love triangle with the exotic Zoya, though their tactics (and intentions) are as divergent as their personalities. Swept up in the wave of Stalin's paranoid purges, the brothers are sent independently to Norlag, a Siberian internment camp where their respective fates are cast through their contrasting reactions to the depravity of the prison. Zoya and Lev share a night in "The House of Meetings," a room provided for conjugal visits with the prisoners, and the events of that night reverberate through the decades, the details of the liaison remaining concealed until the story's devastating denouement.

Amis's main achievement is his depiction of the cruel realities of the Soviet gulags. Drawing heavily on his research for Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million, his half-history/half-memoir of political imprisonment and industrial-scale killing in Soviet Russia, Amis has created his own Animal Farm--without metaphors to mask the blood, filth, and death of the camps. Amis vividly recreates the social structure of gulag life, as the inmates and guards sort themselves into distinct hierarchies and stations in their struggles to survive the rigors of the gulag. Here The House of Meetings may accomplish what Amis had intended for the unfocused Koba: to cast a searing light on an often overlooked episode of 20th century inhumanity and mass murder. --Jon Foro

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:44 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The conflict and rivalry between two brothers in love with the same Jewish girl moves from the turmoil of 1946 Moscow to Norlag, a slave-labor camp above the Arctic Circle, where a tryst in the House of Meetings will have a profound and haunting influence on three characters. By the author of Money and Yellow Dog. 40,000 first printing.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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