Years ago, I read Martin Amis for the first time. Time’s Arrow, an amazing novel that plays with time and slow reveal brilliantly. I’ve read this several times since, loving it to each time. Discussing it with a friend, she asked me if I’d read London Fields, another Amis book. This, I found a little less accessible, but I made it through and again was amazed by the writing, the plotting, the book in general. I made a promise to myself that I’d read every Amis book after this. And I haven’t touched one since.
Until now. The Information was released in Australia in 1995, so clearly I am a long way off the cutting edge reading it seventeen years later. I hated it. I hated pretty much every moment of it. The book is essentially about an unsuccessful author, Richard Tull, whose old friend, Gwyn Barry, is a highly successful author. Tull wants to hurt Barry, and is attempting this through a haze of booze, drugs and middle class house-husbanding. Then there are a whole heap of other characters, some of whom I could relate to the plot, and others whose existence I couldn’t understand. Plus the writing was hugely inaccessible for me – there were sentences and paragraphs that I had to read several times, even out loud, and couldn’t figure out what was being said.
I persevered, hoping that the last few pages would make the rest of the book worthwhile – perhaps a magnificent twist that pulls the whole thing together, like the final sequence in The Usual Suspects. Nope. I will look forward to re-reading Time’s Arrow and London Fields, but I will not be keeping my eyes open for other Amis work.