These nine stories span a period from 1975 to 1997 and are a good reflection of the range of Martin Amis's writing, which is always skillful and consistently seductive--sometimes irritatingly so. Amis lures his reader into an intense interest in his characters, and then, in some unsettling way, encourages us to patronize or disparage them. It's an odd strategy, but it holds our attention. By making us uncomfortable about our own less admirable attitudes, he focuses us intently on his story line. |
In "Coincidence of the Arts," the targets are the feckless painter Sir Rodney Peel and his black doorman, aspiring novelist Pharsin Courier, who turns to him for artistic encouragement. When Peel embarks on a curious affair with a black waitress, it is sheer coincidence that she should happen to be Pharsin's wife. The consequences reflect well on neither man. In "State of England," we smirk knowingly at Big Mal, a bullshitting East Ender trying to sort out his life at his small son's sports day, but we are nevertheless compelled to find out what will become of him. Familiar stories about obsessive bad sex such as "Let Me Count the Times" have not stood the test of time, and Amis's tales of literary agents, aspiring novelists, and spoiled bestseller writers may only interest an inner coterie. Still, when he is on form, Amis's work is as deeply alluring as it is amusing.
Source: Lisa Jardine, Amazon.co.uk
In this wickedly delightful collection of stories, Martin Amis once again demonstrates why he is a modern master of the form. In "Career Move," screenwriters struggle for their art, while poets are the darlings of Hollywood. In "Straight Fiction," the love that dare not speak its name calls out to the hero when he encounters a forbidden object of desire--the opposite sex. And in "State of England," Mal, a former "minder to the superstars," discovers how to live in a country where "class and race and gender were supposedly gone."
In eavy Water and Other Stories, Amis astonishes us with the vast range of his talent, establishing that he is one of the most versatile and gifted writers of his generation.