Sunday, 28 March 2010

Martin Amis - Time's Arrow

Since I had been interested in Amis' work and this book, I picked it up at one of his talks.

The concept of a Nazi doctor book would surely have to delve into the psychological realms, question ethics, morals, and insanity. The book does none of those. It is the reader that makes this book. I would question the pretension of the book if not for the unique concept.

I found the book extremely inaccessible. This was not due to time flowing backwards in the novel, which I quite enjoyed, but due to Amis' writing style, and self-indulgent prose (he states he refrains from using any prose that sounds cliched which alienates the reader). I don't consider myself a Philistine or lacking in reading comprehension, of which I felt Amis tries to label readers who have the same gripe with his work.

He opposes what he dubs 'chummy, egalitarian prose' which I think a lot of people would appreciate but it really makes for a difficult read. Novels surely require fundamentals that attribute to an enjoyable read but the more challenging works like Joyce's Ulysses are also highly praised. Perhaps enjoying this book misses the point.

This book wasn't enjoyable, it wasn't shocking, it contained no emotion at all. Perhaps this is an experiment that I reacted badly to, but I know I am not alone.

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