Selected Reviews


[Site manager's note: The Information, Night Train, Heavy Water, Experience, The War Against Cliché, and Koba the Dread have generated so many online reviews that I have created separate pages for these novels; click the appropriate navigation button at right for access. Below are listed the available online reviews of the other books]. 

New York Times reviews:

(registration and fee required):

bullet The Rachel Papers 
''Just 20 years after 'Lucky Jim,' Kingsley Amis's famously funny novel about life at a minor British university, his 24-year-old son Martin has made so bold as to produce a novel himself; though--to say it right off--not really one to give a novelist father the sweats.'' [Review by Grace Glueck, 26 May 1974].
bullet Dead Babies
''Why does 'Dead Babies'--with all its elegant verbal play, its nightmarish scenes, and its sexual savagery--finally fail to stir much interest? Very simply for the good old reason that there's never any tension in the story. The babies are already dead at the beginning, and there's nothing for them to get but deader.'' [Review by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt,16 January 1976].
bullet Other People 
''I do not appreciate an obscure novel. The only clear signal such a book transmits to me is that a writer was either too lazy or too cowardly to reveal completely his mind or his heart. To me obscurity presumes the need for an academic middleman, an eager translator who will explain all to the sluggard reader and thereby become a collaborator in the act of creation.'' [Review by Evan Hunter, 26 July 1981].
bullet Money: A Suicide Note
''The plot of 'Money' is in a basic, grand tradition. A guy gets totaled. Maybe he survives - in comedy - but he's spectacularly brought down. What makes this book special and important is that it revitalizes its tradition. Its trans-Atlantic urban show-biz patter and smart literary patterns could have been just a jaded fast-lane bummer, a depleting ride in John Self's purple Fiasco -- 'a vintage-style coupe with oodles of dash and heft and twang.' But instead the book's dash and heft and twang serve a deeper energy, a reimagined naivete that urgently asks a basic, grand question: what on earth are the rest of us supposed to make of the spectacle of a fellow human getting totaled?'' [Review by Veronica Geng, 24 March 1985].
bullet Einstein's Monsters 
''A word about Mr. Amis's style: it's rough, new-seeming, laconic, lower-class,insolent, careless. You do not have to wear a three-piece suit to write about the nuclear world, Mr. Amis suggests, nor must you carry a sign to protest it. Just put your brain into gear and pay attention. By doing that, Mr. Amis has created stories that please at least as much as they horrify.'' [Review by Carolyn See, 17 May 17 1987].
bullet Success 
'' 'Success' is, finally, a distasteful book, full of loathing that the author seems not fully to have understood or drawn through the crucible of art.'' [Review by Jay Parini, 6 September 1987].
bullet London Fields 
''Is world in for a rosier future, or are we just kidding ourselves? Martin Amis, unregenerate, is determined to send us plummeting into darkness. With evangelical ardor, he sets his sixth novel, 'London Fields,' in the grimmest of times. The approach of a global catastrophe he simply calls 'the Crisis' provides the background for a bitter tragicomedy of life in a world going noisily to hell.'' [Review  by Bette Pesetsky, 4 March 1990].
bullet Time's Arrow Or, The Nature of the Offense
''With such shocking passages, Mr. Amis creates a devastatingly specific portrait of the Nazis' warped mentality: only in a completely upside-down, backward world, he suggests, are their actions comprehensible. Unfortunately, the bulk of the novel seems like an extended setup for this emotional payoff -- pages and pages of sophomoric humor laid as groundwork for one huge philosophical point.'' [Review by Michiko Kakutani, 22 October 1991].
bullet Visiting Mrs. Nabokov: And Other Excursions
''The articles in Martin Amis's latest collection of essays have the range and appealing ragbag variety of work done on assignment. Indeed, as he writes in the introduction, the only thing that unites these pieces is 'getting out of the house.''' [Review by Francine Prose, 27 February 1994].
bullet Koba the Dread
"Koba the Dread, the title of Martin Amis's latest book, refers to Joseph Stalin; "the Twenty Million," to that monster's many victims, who perished in his purges, in his gulag, in famines and in his campaign of forced collectivization. The "Laughter" Mr. Amis refers to is a literary construct — dealing with the absurdities perpetrated by Stalin, and the need to forget those surreal horrors — and therein lie many of the problems of this self-conscious and sometimes self-indulgent volume." [Review by Michiko Kakutani, 26 June 2002].

NOTE: For easy access to these and other pieces on Amis in the New York Times, go to the "More on Martin Amis" archive.

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Other Reviews: 

bullet "Gothic Guesswork." Review of The Rachel Papers by Karl Miller, The New York Review of Books (18 July 1974).
bullet "Death by Request." Christina Koning reviews London Fields for Books Unlimited, the Guardian/Observer web site (21 September1989).
bullet Review of Time's Arrow by Jan Marta by Jan Marta (February 1996). 

    Additional Reviews Resource:

bullet Click here to explore the Electric Library hyperlinks to reviews of Amis's works (30-day free access period).


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