Of late, I’ve been challenging myself as a reader.
“Naked Lunch” with its psychotropic excursions into the world of drug addiction. “Filth” written largely in Scot dialect with a visual apparition of a tapeworm infesting the main character’s body. And now Martin Amis’ novel which was short listed for the Booker Prize.
The main character, Tod T. Friendly, dies at the beginning of the novel and regresses throughout. The world is run backward. Patients, who are well, leave the doctor’s office sick. Conversation need to be read twice, in both directions. Tod goes to New York City, where his name changes, and then takes a ship to Europe, where his name changes again, and then becomes a Nazi doctor in a concentration camp.
Amis has an extreme fascination with words, structures of sentences, double meanings, and ambiguities. It is quite difficult to revert your way of thinking when you go into a novel such as this. However, as with my previous two examples, it was at an undetermined point in the reading when I understood the time sequences and the methodologies.
This is by no means “light reading” or something to be read for pure entertainment. After the previous two novels it will be quite important for me to read something light. Like a good piece of crime fiction.