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Description - Other People by Martin Amis

Like a ghost or a fugitive, Mary roams through London - pursuing and pursued by memory and forgetting, by the compelling Amy Hide and the charming Mr Wrong...Martin Amis sustains an unnervingly high degree of suspense as Mary and the reader yearn to grasp what has happened to Mary's past and ponder what its loss has gained her. Unfolding is a metaphysical thriller where jealousy guarded secrets jostle with startling insights. Other People is ambitious and accomplished, heralding for Amis an unexpected new direction as a novelist and for the rest of us an experience not to be missed.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099769019
ISBN-10: 0099769018
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 14mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 3-Jun-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Other People by Martin Amis

US Kirkus Review » "A Mystery Story" indeed - one in which everything is teasingly shrouded in mystery: the what, the when, the why, and (above all) the who. A young, beautiful woman wakes up (in a hospital?) and passively ventures out into London - with total amnesia, a determination to be "good," and utter innocence of human ways: "No one out there reminded her of anything much." She takes the name Mary Lamb from overheard doggerel. She acquires bits of life-knowledge from observation and from books (mostly out-of-date). She wanders into a low-life crowd; she allows herself to be adopted by the sluttish, alcoholic Botham family (which leads to unpleasant sex and some violence); then she moves on to the Church-Army Hostel for Young Women, a waitress job, a pity-motivated liaison (her lover suicides when she drops him), and a stint in the platonic hi-rise harem of rich, burnt-out Jamie. But while "Mary" moves through this icily pessimistic parable of life - from innocence to fear of "other people," from openheartedness to pathetic love-hunger - a cool, jaded, dangerous-sounding narrator looks in on her from time to time: "I hope Mary will be all right. . . . She will learn fast, I'm sure. . . . If you ever make a film of her sinister mystery, you'll need lots of progress-music to help underscore her renovation at the Bothams' hands. . . ." And another, somewhat more realistic character looks in on her too: John Prince, a policeman who believes that "Mary" is really Amy Hide: a missing person thought to have been murdered (a very bad girl). So eventually "Mary" will switch back to "Amy," moving in with Prince - who'll protect her from "Mr. Wrong," the man who tried to murder her. But is Prince himself the murderer - and/or a projection of Amy's own evil (the Prince of Darkness, as it were)? Or is the whole story a good/evil battle going on in Amy's pathologically divided mind? Or. . . . ? Amis (The Rachel Papers, Dead Babies) seems quite purposely - perversely, even - to have made his mystery capable of any number of interpretations: the carefully orchestrated hints (recurring words, suggestive names) will keep susceptible readers tuned in, even when Mary's much-exploited innocence becomes illogical or shtick-y. And though this weird little book ends up as a disappointment - like one of those long shaggy-dog jokes with no punchline - Amis' page-by-page narration (alternately spooky, grim, and nastily funny) offers substantial, creepy rewards along the way. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Martin Amis

Martin Amis is the author of twelve 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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