I finished my book for January, Martin Amis’s London Fields, on the last day of the month, sat in bed under the duvet, while the wind and rain lashed down. I’m still not sure what to make of it. For a start, it was a very slow read. Granted, this was not helped by my having read it in fits and starts since last July but it did seem to amble on rather aimlessly for some time. It picked up pace right at the end as the characters hurtled towards a somewhat abrupt and unsatisfactory conclusion. I didn’t warm to any of the characters but maybe I wasn’t meant to. Variously vile, violent, naive and limp, they were also stereotyped to the point of being offensive. While I appreciate the book’s postmodernist approach, enjoyed its competing narratives of uncertain accuracy, and some darkly humorous passages which made me laugh when I really shouldn’t have, it was all really no excuse. I might give Amis another go someday. Recommendations, cautiously received.
February’s book is Londoners by Craig Taylor. I made the move ‘down south’ in 1998 for university and lived in London ‘proper’ for seven years, first in Wimbledon, then in the heart of Bloomsbury, then Wood Green and finally Manor House. To paraphrase the book’s cover, I ‘lived it’, ‘loved it’, ‘hated it’, ‘left it’ and ‘don’t long for it’ (or, at least not much these days). Having only read the first few chapters (edit: now over half the book as it’s taken me so long to complete this post), I’m remembering so many of my London stories. Expect a lot of nostalgia in next month’s review.