(Click on the cover to buy Heavy Water
(Note from James Diedrick: Martin Amis's
second gathering of short stories, Heavy Water, was published in the U.K. in 1998
and in the U.S. in 1999. Unlike Einstein's Monsters (1987), unified around the
theme of the nuclear threat, Heavy Water is an omnibus collection of stories
written over a twenty-two year period. The earliest story in the collection,
"Danton's Death," was published in Encounter in 1976, and "The
Janitor on Mars" appeared in the New Yorker in 1998. Below is a list of the
stories in the order they appear in the collection, followed by brief descriptions and
bibliographic information about the seven that have appeared previously. For
reviews of the collection, click the navigation button at right).
Move." The New Yorker (29 June 1992): 30-38. Genre inversions create comic
reversals in a story juxtaposing the fortunes of a poet and screenwriter (click on the title for the full e-text of the story).
"Denton's Death." Encounter (October 1976): 3-5.
Kafkaesque vignette whose cyclical structure anticipates Other People: A Mystery Story.
"State of England." The New Yorker (June 24 & July
1 1996): 92- 107. A story about London's East End, a bouncer named Mal, his wife She,
their son Jet, another woman named Linzi--and mobile phones.
"Let Me Count the Times." Granta 4 (1981): 194-207.
Satirical portrait of a businessman whose obsessive fantasy life threatens his marriage.
"The Coincidence of the Arts." Granta 63 (Autumn
1998): 207-242. An artistic-erotic triangle set in Manhattan featuring an expatriate
British painter and an African-American couple--one a chess wizard and would-be novelist,
one a mime.
"Heavy Water." New Statesman (December 22 & 29
1978): 874-76. Revised for this volume. A memorably disturbing tale of an
indissoluble mother and son relationship.
"The Janitor on Mars." Original to this volume.
"Straight Fiction." Esquire (December 1995): 138-48.
Story set in a future America where the "Straight-Rights" movement seems to be
making inroads everywhere.
"What Happened to Me on My Holiday." The New Yorker
(July 21 1996): 64-67. Densely autobiographical story, narrated by a fictional version of
Amis's son Louis, about the death of a close family friend. The narrator purposely chooses
to write in what he calls "zargazdig Ameriganese" (sarcastic Americanese)
because his grief has created a "zdrange resizdanze" (strange resistance) to
clarity. "I don'd wand id do be glear: do be all grizb and glear" (64).
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Understanding Martin Amis, 2nd edition (2004).
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10 December, 2004.
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