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London Fields (1989)

by Martin Amis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,102443,713 (3.69)117
The murderee is Nicola Six, a "black hole" of sex and self-loathing who is intent on orchestrating her own extinction. The murderer may be Keith Talent, a violent lowlife whose only passions are pornography and darts; or the rich, honorable, and dimly romantic Guy Clinch. As Nicola leads her suitors towards the precipice, London-and, indeed, the whole world-seems to shamble after them in a corrosively funny novel of complexity and morality.… (more)
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» See also 117 mentions

English (42)  Italian (1)  All languages (43)
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
This is the first Martin Amis I have read. I have heard that a lot of people hate him. Count me in. The story is about a woman (Nicola) who believes she always knows what will happen ahead of time and she knows she is going to be murdered. Instead of fighting it she decides to allow it to happen but she wants to control it. The book also is about the impending doom of the earth and mankind. It is set in London and the earth is zooming toward environmental and economic ruin not to mention the apocalypse. The author seems to be saying with this parallel that both Nicola and people of the earth feel that their demise is inevitable. Not only is the end inevitable but they are both engaged in very destructive behavior intended on speeding up the process. The book is carefully crafted every word seems especially chosen for that position on the paper; which for me made the writing tedious and overwrought. The book is not for the squeamish there is a great deal of blood and erotic sex; although I would have welcomed more sex and less verbiage. No recommendation from me.

Patron190 5/20/2010 10:34:19 AM ( )
  JeffCoLibAL | Aug 18, 2021 |
What a large book with no likeable characters in it. The author clearly hates all of his mains. Most interesting stuff to me was: the disruption of the weather, shortened animal lives (including human), geopolitical cold war hotting up, the rejection of news (so different than our current drowning in it).
The word choice and writing is very good. Which makes me wonder why such a miserable book. Racist and misogynist, why yes. The madonna/whore is nonsensical but boy is she vindictive and full of the death drive.

After reading ~150 pages I skipped to the last few chapters. I'm glad I didn't give it any more of my time. ( )
  Je9 | Aug 10, 2021 |
Everything I read these days seems spot-on relevant to today's world (maybe that what great books do?) Published in 1989, London Fields could have been written in the time of Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, and Donald Trump and his crime family. Innit. Where have you gone Joe Dimaggio?

"It doesn't matter what anyone writes anymore. The time for mattering has passed. The truth doesn't matter any more and it is not wanted." ( )
  mortalfool | Jul 10, 2021 |
Glimtvis genial, sproglig overlegen og (indrømmet) indimellem en intellektuel prøvelse. Det er sort humor når den er allermørkest. ( )
  heineaaen | Apr 4, 2021 |
The story is about a murder that is going to happen, that book is about 450 pages (21 hours) leading up to that event. You know who is going to die, so that is not a secret. Nikki Six knows she is going to die and accepts that. She convinces one main character she is a virgin, while in reality being quite the slut. She has a fetish that she lets the narrator in on and in her own mind goes on to compare it as Cygnus X1, a binary star system in which one of the stars is now a black hole. One gives life, the other death. She relates this to her fetish by comparing the binary system to her own anatomy. She does it in such a way that it makes perfect sense in a very warped way.

The man who believes she is a virgin, is Guy. He has money, a wife, and a truly monstrous toddler. I mean, not just terrible twos. This kid has violence issues. Joining the mix is Keith (pronounced, Keef). He a drunk, criminal, and possibly even worse. He, too, has a wife and child and cheats on his wife regularly. From girlfriends to paying the mother pimping her under 16 year old daughter. Keith is scum, but apparently fairly good at darts. He mumbles half thoughts in a drunken, hungover, just woke up, incoherent way.

The narrator is a writer visiting London and staying at an acquaintance's house. His first exposure to London is Keith. He meets Nikki at the Black Cross Tavern and meets Guy also. He interacts with the characters, and knows a murder is going to happen. So much so that the book he is writing is about the future murder that he does nothing to stop.

What I did like in the book were some of the phrases and images. Airplanes were called crucifixes in the sky. Niki's lingerie was described as "candied vulgarity". The tv weathermen were described as the new combat reporters -- braving the elements to delivery the important story. The description and the getting into the mind of the characters is also done well. You will actually hate some of the characters, really hate them. What Stephen King does for horror, Martin Amis does for loathsome characters. All in all, a good read although the characters rose above the story for me. Three and a half stars, rounding up to four.


I listened to this book over the course of two weeks walking to and from work. I walk six miles each way so I have plenty of time to burn. I chose this as something lighter than the more classical book I have from audible.
( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
Martin Amis's 'London Fields' dissected by Carla Scura. It's set, of course, not in Hackney but in Notting Hill!
added by scura | editLondon Fictions, Carla Scura (Dec 1, 2013)
 
"London Fields" is a virtuoso depiction of a wild and lustful society. In an age of attenuated fiction, this is a large book of comic and satirical invention.
Keith Talent represents Mr. Amis's best creation in the book - a grotesque who is nevertheless both surprisingly vivid and desperate. It is a portrait done in verbal glitter. [...] Nicola is a problem, though; she makes us yield to a sneaking suspicion that a misogynist lingers here somewhere. She is not truly satisfying as character or caricature.
As a tale of nuclear warning, ''London Fields'' is unconvincing. It succeeds, however, as a picaresque novel rich in its effects.
 
In a prefatory note, Amis says he toyed with the idea of calling his book The Murderee. The coinage describes the dark lady of the novel, whose self- arranged annihilation strongly suggests one of the author's recurrent themes: the nuclear and toxic capacities of industrial nations to destroy life on earth. "Hard to love, when you're bracing yourself for impact" is the succinct way the narrator of London Fields puts this modern predicament. But not hard to laugh when slouching toward the millennium with Amis.
added by Widsith | editTime, RZ Sheppard (Feb 26, 1990)
 
Nicola's king-sized deathwish ('Begging for it. Praying for it') is stated, never explained. Instead, Amis takes refuge in that familiar device for disowning authorial responsibility, the writer as a character. [...] Like his creation, Keith Talent, Amis's preoccupations are 'modern, modern, modern'; more than any other British writer of his generation he gets to grips with the postmodern condition.
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Martin Amisprimary authorall editionscalculated
D'Amico, GéraldineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Massanet, LluísTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schönfeld, EikeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swahn, Sven ChristerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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to my father
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This is a true story but I can't believe it's really happening.
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The murderee is Nicola Six, a "black hole" of sex and self-loathing who is intent on orchestrating her own extinction. The murderer may be Keith Talent, a violent lowlife whose only passions are pornography and darts; or the rich, honorable, and dimly romantic Guy Clinch. As Nicola leads her suitors towards the precipice, London-and, indeed, the whole world-seems to shamble after them in a corrosively funny novel of complexity and morality.

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