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There is a murderer, there is a murderee, and there is a foil. Everyone is always out there searching for someone and something, usually for a lover, usually for love. And this is a love story. But the murderee - Nicola Six - is searching for something and someone else: her murderer. She knows the time, she knows the place, she knows the motive, she knows the means. She just doesn't know the man. London Fields is a brilliant, funny and multi-layered novel. It is a book in which the narrator, Samson Young, enters the Black Cross, a thoroughly undesirable public house, and finds the main players of his drama assembled, just waiting to begin. It's a gift of a story from real life...all Samson has to do is write it as it happens.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099748618
ISBN-10: 0099748614
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 30mm)
Pages: 544
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 3-Jun-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » Into squalid London, on the brink of the millennium, flies American writer Samson Young, who sees a murder story and its characters right under his nose. Complex, powerful and grotesquely comic. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » The bright, no longer so young, hope of English fiction doesn't exactly bomb on this outing - it's more a crash landing (at 480 pp.) into the "big" issues of our day: sadomasochism, environmental destruction, random violence, threats of nuclear war. The book is set in 1999 (it's billed as a "murder story for the end of the millennium") and is centered upon the dark, unwholesome beauty Nicola Six, who is gifted with a foreknowledge of events, including her own murder, which is scheduled to take place on her 33rd birthday. Nicola is responsible for her own brutal death as only a victim can be in Amis' epistemology: even though the murderer has not yet murdered, Nicola "was already a murderee." Not that she has our sympathy: Nicola is like a spider sitting in the middle of her web, conducting a long, maddening tease - even though she still doesn't know who will do the murder, the pages here are spent filling out, in dense and sordid detail, clues and counterclues. The two suspected men symbolize dual sides of English life: Keith, a petty criminal whose mind is filled with tabloid sex and violence ("Keith didn't look like a murderer. He looked like a murderer's dog"), and Guy Clinch ("A good guy or at least a nice one"). Their tangos with Nicola are filtered through the lens of an American hack-journalist, Samson Young, who is suffering from writer's block (so that Nicola, as she full well knows, is a gift from the gods, as she theatrically dumps her diaries into the dustbin opposite his window) and dying of a mysterious disease. Young will be the fall guy in a plot of patent coincidence, all ironically underlined by the narrator. As if to lift the moral tone of the novel ("Crawling through the iodized shithouse that used to be England . . ."), or to act as substitute for a reader's emotional involvement, nuclear war is used as filler, apocalypse as local color. Chill cynicisms from Amis in his longer form - for those who care to follow. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Martin Amis

Martin Amis is the author of thirteen previous novels, the memoir Experience, two collections of stories and six collections of non-fiction, most recently The Second Plane. He lives in New York.

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