London Fields

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Amis has made a reputation as a novelist with his shameless and piercing satires of contemporary English life. In LONDON FIELDS, his sixth novel, Amis dissects English society with even more skill and satiric fervor. The novel is narrated by Samson Young, a writer who has traded his New York residence for the London apartment of dramatists Mark Asprey. Young has come to London to make one last attempt at writing a murder mystery before he dies of an unknown disease. LONDON FIELDS may be that mystery.

The central character of the novel is Nicola Six, who is described as being thirty-four and beautiful. She admits to being a male fantasy figure and is, therefore, perceived differently by each of her suitors. Nicola Six also realizes that she is a “murderee” in search of a murderer. It is never made clear, though, why she does not try to alter this destiny.

The suitors--and potential murderers--who play major roles in LONDON FIELDS are Keith Talent and Guy Clinch. Talent is a totally reprehensible character. He is fond of pornography and regularly beats his wife. There is not much with which to sympathize, but Amis has made Talent the most vivid character in the novel. At times, in fact, Talent is too vivid and a detriment to the overall cohesiveness of the novel. The other suitor, Guy Clinch, is rich and naive. He is convinced by Nicola Six that she is still a virgin even though she has led a promiscuous life. She becomes what her male...

(The entire section is 469 words.)