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The Information [PDF / EPUB] The Information Fame envy lust violence intrigues literary and criminal they're all here in The Information How does one writer hurt another writer This is the uestion novelist Richard Tull mills over for his friend Fame envy lust violence intrigues literary and criminal they're all here in The Information How does one writer hurt another writer This is the uestion novelist Richard Tull mills over for his friend Gwyn Barry has become a darling of book buyers award committees and TV interviewers even as Tull himself sinks deeper into the sub basement of literary failure The only way out of this predicament Tull believes is to plot the demise of BarryWith The Information Amis delivers a portrait of middle age realignment with verbal felicity and unbridled reach than anyone since Tom Wolfe forged Bonfire of the Vanities— Houston Chronicle.

10 thoughts on “The Information

  1. says:

    I distinctly recall reading The Information when first published back in 1995 – it was like being dragged through the rough street of London forced to breathe secondhand tobacco smoke and smell the stale liuor breath of the novel’s main character forty year old book reviewer and greatest novelist in the world wannabe Richard Tull Also featured are a motley crew of other literary types and British lowlife at its lowest a police lineup of mates and thugs taking street names such as Scozzy Crash Belladonna 13 and Darko I was so emotionally drained after the book’s nearly four hundred pages I had to take a break from fiction for weeks One doesn’t read this Martin Amis novel so much as one lives it After my recent rereading along with listening to the audio book most assuredly this is literary writing at its finest Martin Amis renders memorable his blokes buggers dudes and dolts through searing description lively dialogue atmosphere mood setting dramatic tension coupled with reflections on solar systems and galaxies uasars and black holes upward evolution and downward spiraling especially midlife crisis all with the mastery of a virtuoso performing Paganini Mr Amis reports how the characters in a William Burroughs novel are “the ironist’s version of nature without nurture like Swift’s Yahoos – filthy treacherous dreamy vicious and lustful” Curiously and perhaps even ironically irony suared? such a portrayal is a near perfect fit for the men and women in The Information as if Martin Amis’ London has transformed itself into a late twentieth century Naked Lunch Interzone or one of Burroughs’ Cities of the Red Night Additionally Mr Amis' biting satirical steak reminds me of yet another finely crafted tale this one featuring a host of upper and lower class Brits along with one down on his luck Septimus Harding of course its that well known much loved classic The Warden uite the feat Martin pulled off here – the improbable combination of William Burroughs American style nihilism and Anthony Trollope British satire Back on our dastardly main character From all accounts Richard Tull could have been an absolutely first rate book reviewer and literary critic another James Wood or Michiko Kakutani or Eliot Fremont Smith but Richard would never ever come close to being satisfied with such low status – book reviewing the slum district of the literary world He might as well write dust jacket blurbs for a publisher’s marketing department Richard aspired to be nothing less than another James Joyce To this end he forged on with his latest unreadable tome entitled Untitled a novel with sixteen unreliable narrators sixteen and an entire chapter formulated as a burlesue of Alfred Tennyson’s The Idylls of the King Sound like fun reading? It’s anything but fun; in point of fact reading than ten pages of Richard’s turgid overwrought mess would make you physically ill or even worse inflict neurological damage Exactly the fate of those unlucky ones in Amis' book who submitted themselves to the torture of Untitled By the way nobody at Bold Agenda Richard’s New York publisher actually read Untitled; they simply wanted to balance out their list of dime store pulps with a bulky British novel that from all appearances could be deemed serious literature In addition to being a failed novelist Richard recognizes he could very easily be judged a failed man Richard peers into the bathroom mirror and concludes nobody in the history of the world deserves the face he has “His hair scattered over his crown in assorted folds and clumps looked as though it had just concluded a course of prolonged and futile chemotherapy Then the eyes each of them perched on its little blood rimmed beer gut” Debilitating and unflattering observations launched both by the narrator and Richard himself continue throughout the book regarding not only his face but also his tobacco liuor drug battered body his twisted cracked psyche his gulp sexual impotence Meanwhile his best friend a Welshman Richard met back in college by the name of Gwyn Barry writes to be read by the masses And he succeeds big time with his latest Amelior a novel about a group of well intentioned problem free young men and women who set off to establish their own rural community Now as Richard and many other readers with literary standards recognized Amelior is nothing than a watered down version of say Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist or Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull as per Richard's reflections upon reading his friend's second novel Summertown was Gwyn's firstIf Richard had chortled his way through Summertown he cackled and yodeled his way through Amelior its cuteness its blandness its naively pompous semicolons its freedom from humor and incident its hand me down imagery; the almost endearing transparency of its little color schemes its Tinkertoy symmetriesBut hey Richard; hey highbrows literary types Gwyn Barry's Amelior hit the best seller list at number nine And what was Richard's response when reading the latest news of his closest and stupidest friend's rousing success? He strode out of his den into the parlor where his little twin sons Marco and Marius were watching cartoons and gave Marco a good whack on the side of his head As Christopher Buckley wrote in his New York Times review probably the one and only instance of child abuse in all of literature that contains a tincture of humor And soon thereafter Richard began planing his revenge on Gwyn Barry Midway through the novel the narrator himself pops up bestowing a John Barth like metafictional spin to this sprawling urban tale a narrator bearing the name of Martin and possessing one particular physical trait worth emphasizing to readers – he stands not much over five feet This snippet including how he was humiliated whenever his older brother arranged a blind date for him with a young lady who turned out to be tall the bad luck of Cupid's draw is all we need to comprehend Mr Amis bears a deep seated seething resentment over the fact he didn’t shoot up like mum said he would back when he lived at home as a teenager; nope Martin recognized he would forever remain a pipsueak one of the Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz condemned at least in his own mind to bursting into song each and every time he entered a room or walked down the street “I represent the Lolly pop Guild The Lolly pop Guild The Lolly pop Guild”Thus I have figured out the major reason why I found The Information such an emotionally draining read It is a true double whammy – both the narrator and the main character spit their vitriol out on every single page More acrimoniousness toward other people and the world you will not encounter But still the writing is magnificent and gives the reader freuent occasion to shake one’s head and laugh out loud“Some junk novels were all about airports Some junk novels were even called things like Airport Why then you might ask was there no airport called Junk Novel? Junk novels have been around for at least as long as non junk novels and airports haven’t been around for very long at all But they both really took off at the same time Readers of junk novels and people in airports wanted the same thing escape and uick transfer from one junk novel to another junk novel and from one airport to another airport”― Martin Amis The Information

  2. says:

    I need to force myself to take a break from Martin Amis I'm pretty sure I've never felt so thoroughly repelled by yet drawn to a man I haven't slept with This creepily eroticized one way relationship with a writer especially one with such an uncomplicatedly obnoxious public persona is embarrassing and I shouldn't feed into it I also probably shouldn't broadcast it on the Internet but what can I do? Is this a common response to this particular author? Based on talks with a few people I think it might be Amis has some undeniable gifts but he's deeply flawed; there might be something uniuely addictive about his mix of talent and failure I find Amis's books wildly entertaining moronic poorly structured imaginative insightful glib pretentious annoying hilarious moving infuriating clever compelling and inevitably profoundly very disappointing And there is something about that disappointment that keeps me coming back for I can't explain why my confusion about Amis translates into a compulsive desire to read of him so I'll save that one for therapy Or likely for my next Amis review

  3. says:

    Martin Amis earned himself an advance of half a million uid for this novel There's probably a strong argument that this unprecedented windfall went to his head and ruined him as a novelist because it was the last decent novel he wrote I guess the thing about him is that in his prime he was a brilliant writer who never managed to uite write a brilliant novel And this is very much true here There's lots of fabulous writing Few writers are so diligent in polishing up every sentence into a shining nugget But as a novel it seems to me less than the sum of its parts Martin Amis made the dumbing down of culture his overriding theme And he was very prescient back in the day Except his novels haven't aged terribly well Perhaps in part because he was writing before the world was changed by the digital age Amis wants to be modern wants to be the prophet of what's to come But the world he creates seem a little old fashioned now as if everyone is wearing flares Amis is always interested in the big picture His characters are often cartoonish He doesn't have much to say about personal relationships His characters tend to interact with the world if not the universe rather than other individuals There's never much human warmth in Amis novels As usual there are contentious notions Not least the premise that the well educated middle class middle aged white male has suffered greater diminishment than any other demographic at the hands of tabloid culture feminism populism by what has come to pass as information As usual with him there are no credible women in this novel All the women are essentially appendages of their men They might glaringly be better human beings than his men but they still don't interest Amis much Instead all the focus is on Richard Tull a failed writer who is riddled with envy at the literary success of his mediocre best friend It's often hard to accept Richard is a middle aged man as most of the time he comes across as a hapless embittered adolescent Perhaps Amis is telling us men don't really grow up any? Richard decides to exact revenge on his best friend which involves entering London's criminal underworld has to be said Bellow and DeLillo are much better at bringing alive that world with credibility It's a madcap storyline verging on being plain daft at times My favourite section was a comical book tour of America Amis has always been great at social commentary

  4. says:

    The great thing about Goodreads is that it lets all us bibliophiles share our common love of books It's so wonderful to meet someone else who's appreciated the book the same way as you have You thought you were the only person in the world who'd seen it that way and now there are two of you And they even gave you a new angle on that character and recommended a similar book that you didn't know existedThe rest of this review is available elsewhere the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons

  5. says:

    As a species we are daily bombarded – assaulted really – by data An amorphous amalgamation of facts bon mots “things of interest” learnings these events are provided in an unending stream of noise provided to us regardless of whether we’ve invited this data or no Along this continuum of static our brains run a filter program to winnow nuggets of relevance to our beings and discard the rest This is The Information This is what Martin Amis shows us in lurid satire that try as we might we don’t control Information it controls usAmis’ protagonist is Richard Tull a real piece of work And by “piece of work” I mean piece of shit Not since A Confederacy of Dunces can I remember another character so loathsome It shows Amis’ enormous talent that he can create so many different ways to convince us that Tull is terrible – even though he starts the book with a wonderful paragraph showing us Tull’s humanity and frailty Tull is consumed by the green monster hating that his lifetime – but talentless literary friend Gwynn Barry is an international superstar while his own gifts to the written word go unappreciated Envy and schadenfreude and invidiousness they arise from poor character but also from a fear of desertion He will stop at nothing to ruin Barry He will harness Information to do his bidding Reading what happens to this ersatz Machiavelli is a fun rideThe novel is split into four parts and while sections of Part 2 and Part 3 began to sag at times for this particular reader Part 4 presented a fabulous final 50 pages crafted by the deft hand of one who knows how to harness and mold Information to a sharp edge And yes so very many wonderful one liners that were either spot on descriptions or draw dropping hilarious imagery Here’s Amis describing a flaccid Richard Tull unable to consummate the act of love Fucking her would be like trying to get a raw oyster into a parking meterNow I just need to go and listen to the entire album The ueen is Dead by The Smiths to get Morrissey’s We Hate it When our Friends Become Successful out of my brain

  6. says:

    Original ReviewThis scathing and outrageously elouent satire on literary envy is clearly Mr Amis’s magnum opus Amis probes with excruciating minutiae every nook and cranny of the writer’s psyche leaving no area of the literary life unflamed with his blowtorch of masterful prose hilarious wit and Nabokovian wordplay Even when Amis “does the proles” his writing is still at its mesmerising peak This is a book writers everywhere will adore hopefully blasting a few scribes from their ego clouds and patterns of lunacy in the process Amis was paid a whopping £500000 advance for this novel which he would spend on repairing his teeth In my opinion it was worth every penny In a canon of perpetual disappointments flops and follies this is the one true gem Additional FunkDid you know Martin originally intended to release a now suppressed novella Green Frog in 1994 as a taster for this book? Here’s the original cover art stolen from the Crusty Books website

  7. says:

    I know that this is one of the most polarizing books from a very polarizing author but it is one of my touchstones and I consider it severely underrated I first read it when it came out in '95 and it has stuck with me ever since Re reading it now it has lost none of its power on every single page there are at least five sentences that make me catch my breath If you dislike the trope of hyperbole Amis' chief weapon in his war on the cliches that our lives have turned into look elsewhere but for me this book is easily the eual of the much celebrated Money and London FieldsI think I will be coming back to scratch and re scribble this review until this book is finished with me I can't see that happening anytime soon and am already plotting another readingOne of its many pleasures is sharing failed writer Richard Tull's very real and yet laugh out loud comical pain His first book Aforethought seems typically tyro in an ambitious sort of way or vice versa If you homogenized all the reviews still kept somewhere in a withered envelope allowing for many grades of generosity and I then the verdict on Aforethought was as follows nobody understood it or even finished it but eually nobody was sure it was shit It got him off the dole and it was the high point the book ends up being read only by a low level criminal who finds it in a hospital library and who subseuently enters Richard's life and not in a good way of his career Richard published his second novel Dreams Don't Mean Anything in Britain but not in America His third novel wasn't published anywhere Neither was his fourth Neither was his fifth In those three brief sentences we adumbrate a Mahabharata of pain He had plenty of offers for his sixth because by that time during a period of cretinous urges and lurches he had started responding to the kind of advertisements that plainly came out with it and said WE WILL PUBLISH YOUR BOOK and AUTHORS WANTED or was it NEEDED? BY LONDON PUBLISHER Of course these publishers crying out for words on paper like pining dogs under a plangent moon weren't regular publishers You paid them for example And perhaps importantly no one ever read you But at least Richard gets a job out of it editing cajoling flattering and publishing the other poor sods who come to the Tantalus Press for the same reason that he did But what can a poor boy do? Well how about continue wrestling with his muse sacrificing his life for his his art Ahh his art For an hour it was the new system he worked on his latest novel deliberately but provisionally entitled Untitled Richard Tull wasn't much of a hero Yet there was something heroic about this early hour of flinching flickering labor the pencil sharpener the Wite Out the vines outside the open window sallowing not with autumn but with nicotine In the drawers of his desk or interleaved by now with the bills and summonses on the lower shelves on his bookcases and even on the floor of the car the terrible red Maestro swilling around among the Ribena cartons and the dead tennis balls lay other novels all of them firmly entitled Unpublished And stacked against him in the future he knew were yet further novels successively entitled Unfinished Unwritten Unattempted and eventually Unconcerned The Victorians who pretty much invented hysteria got it all wrong of course Hysteria has nothing really to do with women with its own etymology The patriarchs who coined it were in Freudian terms projecting Hysteria Martin Amis informs us is what happens when it finally occurs to men that—surprise—they are mortal That's when they go mad barmy bonkers men poor deluded creatures every last one of them Besides fretting over his non career as a writer Richard is burdened by something called yes The Information Platonic capitals mine which famously comes at night on a weep ship Cities at night I feel contain men who cry in their sleep and then say Nothing It's nothing Just sad dreams Or something like thatSwing low in your weep ship with your tear scans and sob probes and you would mark them Women—and they can be wives lovers gaunt muses fat nurses obsessions devourers exes nemeses—will wake and turn to these men and ask with female need to know What is it? And the men will say Nothing No it isn't anything really Just sad dreams For Richard both the manifest and latent content of those sad dreams concern Richard himself whose waking life has as with any other man also always been about Richard and whose message essentially is that Richard's self is dying Oh sure in the abstract we're all dying all the time and men are generally ace at keeping things abstract during daylight non weeping hours but The Information which is nothing which isn't anything at all a cipher a zero a null set is telling Richard that it is here to inhume him to bury him in the meaningless nothingness that he will one day physically return to But none of this is as abstract as it sounds cos Richard is really dying by which I mean he is just turning—gasp I know I know it is almost too horrible to relate—forty 40 FORT Y fcking hell it's no fcking joke and it means that he's past halfway that he's past it that life has passed him by and that he should stop saying hi and start saying bye to it all to his kids who will disown him he fears to his wife who will leave him he knows to the the universe which used to not give a toss about him but which now as he sees it actually conspires to fck him up In the bathroom mirror of course he would be reduced to two dimensions so the bathroom mirror was no place to go if what you wanted was depth And he didn't want depth By a certain age everyone has the face they deserve Like the eyes are the window to the soul Good fun to say good fun even to believe when you're eighteen when you're thirty twoLooking in the mirror now on the morning of his fortieth birthday Richard felt that no one deserved the face he had No one in the history of the planet There was nothing on the planet it was that bad to do What happened? What have you done man? His hair scattered over his crown in assorted folds and clumps looked as though it had just concluded a course of prolonged and futile chemotherapy Then the eyes each of them perched on its little blood rimmed beer gut If the eyes were the window to the soul then the window was a windscreen after a transcontinental drive; and his cough sounded like a wiper on the dry glass These days he smoked and drank largely to solace himself for what drinking and smoking had done to him—but smoking and drinking had done a lot to him so he drank and smoked a lot He experimented further with pretty well any other drug he could get his hands on His teeth were all chipped pottery and prewar jet glue At each given moment whatever he was doing at least two of his limbs were immovably numb Up and down his body there were whispered rumors of pain In fact physically at all times he felt epiphanically tragic His doctor had died four years ago Unfortunately I am terminally ill; and that in Richard's mature opinion was definitely that He had a large and lucent lump on the back of his neck This he treated himself by the following means he kept his hair long to keep it hidden If you went up to Richard Tull and told him he was in Denial he would deny it But not hotly And what does a man do when life conspires to fck him up? He does what any other man would do in such dire circumstances look for someone else to fck up Look to get evenTo Be Continued

  8. says:

    You really have to go back to Nabokov to find writing this exuberant Richard sat in Coach His seat was non aisle non window and above all non smoking It was also non wide and non comfortable Hundreds of yards and hundreds of passengers away Gywn Barry practically horizontal on his crimson barge shod in prestige stockings and celebrity slippers assenting with a smile to the coaxing refills of Alpine creekwater and saguinary burgundy with which his various hostesses strove to enhance his caviar tartlet his smoked salmon pinwheel and asparagus baruette his prime fillet tournedos served on a timbale of tomato and a tapenade of Castillian olives Gywn was in First

  9. says:

    What a let down Painful it's just painful to read I hugely liked his other book The Rachel Papers but this one The Information seems to have no plot none at all and Martin Amis seemed to be trying to amuse himself by writing such extraordinarily arranged and crafted passages of English vocabulary and words I must admit he writes beautifully But there needs to be a plot Otherwise it's just plain boring Books unlike movies take up a lot of your time and time is a commodity that people like me can't afford to lose Terrible books are just a great time waster The Information is not a terrible book but it seems like forever for a substantial action to take place It's than 370 pages and some readers are saying here that the third part is amazing and rewarding etc etc Most people would give it up even before they have reached second part or so There are far better books out there by Martin Amis himselflike The Rachel Papers for instead and by other authors as well You can skip this one

  10. says:

    I wanted to uote something here some line of particular wit or genius but once I started that I wouldn't know where I'd be able to uit One uote or uip would naturally lead to another and then another and before I could stop myself I'd be plagiarizing kidnapping seducing the entire novel not that it would fit in this cramped rectangle; every sentence laid down in different order Of course it would still be bloody genius

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