Book Review: London Fields

London Fields by Martin Amis

The story is about a murder that is going to happen, the book is about 450 pages (21 hours) leading up to that event. You know who is going to die, so that is not a secret. Nikki Six knows she is going to die and accepts that. She convinces one main character she is a virgin, while in reality being quite the slut. She has a fetish that she lets the narrator in on and in her own mind goes on to compare it as Cygnus X1, a binary star system in which one of the stars is now a black hole. One gives life, the other death. She relates this to her fetish by comparing the binary system to her own anatomy. She does it in such a way that it makes perfect sense in a very warped way. 

The man who believes she is a virgin, is Guy. He has money, a wife, and a truly monstrous toddler. I mean, not just terrible twos. This kid has violence issues. Joining the mix is Keith (pronounced, Keef). He a drunk, criminal, and possibly even worse. He, too, has a wife and child and cheats on his wife regularly. From girlfriends to paying the mother pimping her under 16 year old daughter. Keith is scum, but apparently fairly good at darts. He mumbles half thoughts in a drunken, hungover, just woke up, incoherent way. 

The narrator is a writer visiting London and staying at an acquaintance’s house. His first exposure to London is Keith. He meets Nikki at the Black Cross Tavern and meets Guy also. He interacts with the characters, and knows a murder is going to happen. So much so that the book he is writing is about the future murder that he does nothing to stop. 

What I did like in the book were some of the phrases and images. Airplanes were called crucifixes in the sky. Niki’s lingerie was described as “candied vulgarity”. The tv weathermen were described as the new combat reporters — braving the elements to delivery the important story. The description and the getting into the mind of the characters is also done well. You will actually hate some of the characters, really hate them. What Stephen King does for horror, Martin Amis does for loathsome characters. All in all, a good read although the characters rose above the story for me. Three and a half stars, rounding up to four. 

I listened to this book over the course of two weeks walking to and from work. I walk six miles each way so I have plenty of time to burn. I chose this as something lighter than the more classical book I have from audible. 


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