London Fields - Martin Amis (Released 1989) I think I unintentionally threw myself in at the deep with Amis’ work, picking his longest and most complex work! But London Fields was certainly a worthwhile read, even though I didn’t fully feel like it was ‘finished’ when I had read it.
The first thing to get your head around when reading this is the bizarre structure. The narrator himself is an author, and part of each chapter is dedicated to him detailing the story he is writing - the story that is happening right infront of him. It is essentially a story within a story. Once you’ve got over that, there’s the whole thing that you get told the ending before it starts. The story centres around the fact that Nicola Six is planning her own murder, in fear of growing old. It is when she meets vile and crude Keith Talent and long suffering Guy Clinch that it all sets in motion.
The plot is long and complicated; it goes back on itself, ties itself in knots and plays tricks on you. But it is so satisfying to read; his prose is detailed and each character is so fully realised you start to believe they are real. All the characters should be repulsive and pitiful; all of them create so many different personas it is hard to keep up with. But it is a mark of Amis’ talent that none of them cross the line into parodies, although they are very amusing at times.
Whilst all this drama unfolds,there is quiet disrest in the background of the threat of the upcoming Millennium and nuclear war. It would have been interesting to hear more about this as it was never fully dealt with, but maybe there would have been too much drama. It was more disconcerting than anything.
The book's title could have many meanings, but I considered it to be one of those mentioned in the book. Force fields of attraction and repulsion. Although there is plenty to disgust readers, it is the kind of disgust that makes you want to read on, and you need that to get through a book this size!