House of Meetings (Magill's Literary Annual 2008)
Martin Amis’s father, Kingsley Amis, is chiefly known for his novel Lucky Jim (1954), a superbly constructed traditional comedy. Kingsley’s subsequent novels, and there were many, demonstrate how a talented author can work in traditional genres. Martin Amis’s career, in contrast, reflects his ability to explore different ways of writing fiction. His first novel, The Rachel Papers (1973), dealt energetically, honestly, and humorously with adolescent sexuality. The hero of Money (1984) is a bumbling British pornographer loose in New York. London Fields (1989) is a phantasmagoric look at the horrors of the future. Time’s Arrow’s (1991) time scheme runs backward. The Information (1995) is a rather bland story told in the present, perhaps to settle one of Amis’s personal grudges. One critic has labeled Yellow Dog (2003) a postmodern self-parody. In short, one never knows what Martin Amis is going to do.
House of Meetings does not disappoint. It is an epistolary novel containing only two letters. Most of the novel takes the form of a long letter written by the eighty-five-year-old unnamed narrator in 2004 to his twenty-four-year-old stepdaughter, Venus. The novel includes footnotes explaining the historical background of the events that shaped the narrator’s life, especially the...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2008)
Booklist 103, no. 6 (November 15, 2006): 6.
The Economist 381 (October 14, 2006): 88.
Entertainment Weekly, no. 916 (January 19, 2007): 84.
Esquire 147, no. 1 (January, 2007): 34.
Kirkus Reviews 74, no. 22 (November 15, 2006): 1140.
Library Journal 131, no. 20 (December 1, 2006): 105.
London Review of Books 29, no. 1 (January 4, 2007): 14-17.
The New York Review of Books 54, no. 3 (March 1, 2007): 14-17.
The New York Times Book Review 156 (January 14, 2007): 1-12.
The Times Literary Supplement, September 29, 2006, pp. 21-22.
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