Barren Fields

Oh, what disappointment! London Fields had me eagerly in its command until about two hundred pages in. Then, Amis’ brilliance scorched me and left me wanting a story. This is not to say that London Fields does not contain a story. It holds several, but stingily, it seems, and they aren’t allowed to progress due to the pages and pages of cleverness and dipsidoodicle writing. The writing, by itself, is staggeringly perfect and full, too full, of showy technique and allusion. With such a display in store for each reading session, I found myself more and more reluctant to open the novel, while at the same time becoming just as terribly curious about the resolution. It was exhausting.

On one hand, I felt small and insignificant in the face of such craft. On the other hand, I began to feel irritated at the circularity and repetition. A very unfriendly thought crossed my mind. Reading this novel is akin to making love and being held from climax by a passive-aggressive lover, someone who wants to show you all that he can do, while you suffer and wait. By the time things finally come to a close, the fun and warm fuzzies are gone and you are left thinking that you just may have wasted some serious time.

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